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No lip service: Cultural policy experts defend work on creative industry

Published:Monday | May 9, 2016 | 5:00 AMAndre Poyser
Deborah Hickling

Dr Deborah Hickling, former chair of the Interministerial Technical Working Group on Cultural and Creative Industries in the Office of the Prime Minister, has come out in defence of the work that has been done in the area of cultural and creative industries.

"I don't think that there has been lip service. I have been doing a study entitled 'Nutten Nah Gwaan Fi Creatives', which looks at this phenomenon in which creatives are seeking to determine if anything is really happening in regards to policy development for the creative industries," Hickling said in response to a question from The Gleaner.

Pointing to the establishment of the National Creative and Cultural Industries Commission (NCCIC), Hickling contended that there has been extensive work across ministries on cultural and creative industries development but agreed that the pace of the work has been slow.

"There are some people who will agree that lip service has been given to the creative industry and some who have been impatient about the rate at which the work has been going, and there are other people who have been impatient about policy work. They have what I call study fatigue, so there are all these studies that have been done and all these consultations that have taken place," she added.

According to Hickling, the policy work has been important because of the information that it provides for planning purposes.

She further spoke to the development of a creative economy policy, a business plan and framework for the creative industry, which she led while at the Office of the Prime Minister.

There needs to be a converged policy, which speaks to the monetisation of cultural and creative industries and speaks to the creation of an enabling environment for creatives in which they can pursue wealth creation. We identified 10 different areas that need to be addressed across cultural and creative industries to make that happen, so there has been a lot of technical work that has taken place. We have met with bankers and with the stakeholders, she said.

Hickling has called for the work of the NCCIC to continue and for the new Government to build on the work that has been done.

"We still are to hear what the new Government intends to do in terms of whether they are going to be changing those plans or whether there are going to be new activities in the future. Once they are for development, we welcome them because many creatives will tell you that a lot of these discussions have been going on for over 40 years and there are many people who are really impatient of the process of policy development, which is not necessarily boots on the ground," she said.

andre.poyser@gleanerjm.com