The global Creative and Cultural industry was worth about US$ 1.3 trillion annually in 2005 with projected annual growth of over 7% according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasted the growth at 10% annually. In 2003 Creative Industries were estimated to account for more than 7% of the world’s gross domestic product according to the World Bank. In the developed world- and increasingly in the developing world- Creative Industries are ‘the’ growth industry- even in recession- outstripping traditional industries like manufacturing. Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Sweden are using it to leverage their shift into information-based economies. According to the Financial Times, “a report from the (UK) Government’s Strategy Unit has concluded that the Creative Industries in London are now more important than financial services to the economy!” These astounding figures are achieved by creative businesses, most of which are small or medium sized enterprises!This growth of the creative industries is contradicted by one country- Trinidad and Tobago.
In the last decade T&T’s cultural sector collapsed almost completely- this during a $300 billion boom. Nearly every creative sector in T&T experienced brain drain and decline- in audience, brand cache, earnings, skill-level, and retention of indigenous modes… Theatre, dance, visual arts, music, festivals, etc… The variety and quality of offerings in each sector declined with an emergence of a handful of profitable players- not necessarily based on merit… Dozens of theatre companies and forms of theatre disappeared, festivals like Paramin which needed graceful re-engineering collapsed, dozens of traditions disappeared with the last dying breath of Elders, and major institutional spaces like Amar Studios and CCA 7 (a global visual-arts gallery based here) were allowed to collapse. Meanwhile, globally, Trinidad lost proprietary of nearly every single of the 300 carnivals we originated- because of our failure to engineer our carnival and NCC properly… Read the rest of this entry