Blog Archives

The diversified heritage economy

IN my last article I revealed parameters for the creative and cultural sector masterplan synthesised by the Artists’ Coalition from stakeholder consultations. The plan identifies a series of interventions to grow the GDP contribution of the sector from $1.9 billion to $7 billion in four short years. One of the pillars of this growth is the “Heritage Economy”—which currently operates at a net loss to our economy. We anticipate we can grow this to a $1 billion earner annually. Here’s how…

Wikipedia defines heritage as “something inherited from the past: natural heritage—the inheritance of fauna and flora, landscape and landforms and other natural resources; cultural heritage—the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group; man-made heritage; food heritage; industrial heritage; and virtual heritage.” This heritage is economised through: museums, heritage sites; by merchandise like books, toys, and clothes; and by restaurants, events, etc.

This nation has been blessed with phenomenal heritage in each category. As the last piece of the Andean rainforest we’ve amazing natural diversity for a small island. We’re said to have: one of the most varied bird and butterfly populations in the world; the world’s hottest pepper; the richest cocoa; etc. We have the 7,000-year Banwari man fossil—the oldest human remains in this part of the world. We have the magic mixing of five ancient civilisations. We have legions of interesting heroes. We have incredible sites of global interest like the observatory where latitude and longitude were calculated for the western hemisphere, one of the first commercial oil wells in the hemisphere and the site where television was being invented…
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The holy grail of diversification

Recently people told me my articles haven’t explained the master plan for the creative and cultural sector. They’re right. I’ve explained sections to open up people’s understanding—but I haven’t ever shown the big vision. However there’s a master plan document available here on this site. For those who want more technical implementation data, click here.

The refined Cultural Sector Master Plan has existed for over five years—built on a mother-document first compiled in 1997. It’s been the subject of dozens of meetings with leaders of representative groups, artists and foreign experts—and fortified by generations of ancestral technical and vision documents from pioneers like Beryl McBernie, George Bailey and Terry Evelyn, Colin Laird and CLR James. This has been anchored by international best practice strategies which nations have used to grow these industries throughout the course of their civilisations.

It however especially refers to techniques used in three modern periods:

  1. the immediate post-World War II period of the 40s and 50s when the grand architecture of arts councils, heritage economies, and consolidation of performance economies happened;
  2. the late 60s-early 70s with the first wave of broadcast legislation and codes; and
  3. the 90s when many countries identified the creative sector as their growth industry and started re-tooling national economies around them, and the burgeoning computer/telecom industries.

Those three waves of enabling systems made the creative industry the second largest industry on Earth—worth over $1.5 trillion annually. The reason why T&T’s creative sector under-performs is because we’ve implemented none of these systems the world has had since the 1940s!
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