2019 approaches. Globally, a new 10 year cycle for the Cultural and creative Industries (CCI) has begun.
In the last 30 years a lot of work has been done. The natural momentum can now be felt. The global movement has solidified. The creative individuals are producing and activities are happening by natural selection. More culture, more creativity than ever before… more events, more products and services, more creative professionals, more training. The regional institutions that were planned for have been formed and their work will be implemented next year.
In many Caribbean territories and certainly in Jamaica there are few industrial structures… no sector plans…. no overarching models. Locally there is no plan of action…private sector; public sector; individual businesses….liberalisation without preparation without leadership or structure…and all stand too blame.
Although policy would be welcome at any time, as, if you ask me, we have now moved now beyond policy formulation for Jamaica. Its value will lie in providing an indication of the thinking of the government and their priorities for CCI. If the local policy comes out in 2019 it will really be two years late and given the approval trajectory it probably include ideas that are three years old for sectors that are changing as fast as lightening. The market has moved beyond waiting for government structures. Policy direction would have been of optimal value 2 years ago to work in tandem with the regional roll out as originally planned. The two pieces were planned with each other in mind. However, there are some things that only a government can do particularly when it comes to trade, bilateral and multilateral agreements. Although, as a policy advocate, with interest in CCI policy globally, I will concede that when it does come out, it will be a matter of better late than never. I am interested to see what form it takes.
What is required right away though is a sustainable, implementable, inter sectoral master plan. We still need to know whether that is that part of the policy effort. Even when the market directs the flow there are structures and models, and processes which are either private sector or public sector; sector or sub sector led. Or, where it emerges (like Nigeria) it is shaped, honed and solidified. What we have now is a recipe for further anarchy, disorder and inequity. The same thing happened with television (audiovisual) 30 years ago and still no sustainable model. When will we learn?
Is 2019 the year we can bring the pieces together? I hope so. This is the last year I lament. All be belly aching and moaning will be curated and contextualised for release in a new form. But the year is not quite done yet.
Dr. Deborah Hickling Gordon is a Cultural and Creative Economy Specialist and lecturer at the University of the West Indies Mona, where she coordinates the Bachelors in Cultural and Creative Industries Programme.