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Creative and Cultural Ecosystems

This is the first of four reflections on the CIRCE x UNESCO World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development event, which took place on May 23rd at City, University of London. Paromita Saha takes an"ecological," perspective on what was discussed on the day.

Published onJun 08, 2023
Creative and Cultural Ecosystems
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Creative and Cultural Ecosystems
Creative and Cultural Ecosystems
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This is the first of four reflections on the CIRCE x UNESCO World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development event, which took place on May 23rd at City, University of London. Paromita Saha takes an"ecological," perspective on what was discussed on the day.

UNESCO World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development placed an emphasis on the promotion and protection of culture and the rights of artists across the world. Consequently, the day’s discussions touched on the issue of what kind of ecosystem can effectively better protect artists from various global crises as experienced in the past decade. Professor Andy Pratt spoke of how the accumulative effects of austerity, Brexit and COVID exposed the precarity of a system – one which does not afford necessary protections to artists in terms of income and security. In the ongoing aftermath of the pandemic and cutbacks to funding, he emphasized the importance of building a supportive cultural and creative ecosystem within which artists/cultural producers can pursue their work and innovate - suggesting that the guarantee of a basic universal income might be one way of doing so.

Professor Andy Pratt, UNESCO Chair of Global Creative Economy, City University of London opening remarks at CIRCE x UNESCO World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue & Development.

Copyright: Ikin Yum

Other panellists also provided their insights into what constitutes a thriving and resilient eco-system where artists can fully express themselves with minimal disruption to their work, well-being, and welfare. It is essential there is a community infrastructure rooted in the values of social justice and intersectionality. Jennifer Lim, who is an actor and artistic director (BEATS/Moongate), described the lack of spaces where minoritized communities feel that they belong. Hence, it is exceptionally important to cultivate an ecosystem based on an abundance of stories from diverse communities, which is essential to a thriving cultural democracy. There needs to be an awareness of how gatekeepers influence the creation of what panelist and CIRCE Research Fellow Merje Laiapea called “life affirming spaces,” as well as paying attention to how they determine the terms of access. Effective ecological leadership is rooted in “holding open conditions,” necessary for facilitating connections, experiences, interactions that are essential to culture making (Gross and Wilson, 2019, p4).   

An audience of artists, academics, students, cultural policy makers and producers attending the CIRCE x UNESCO Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development event at City, University of London.

Photo copyright: Ikin Yum

We were also joined by City Creatives in Residence - Joseph Bell, a musician, and Chloe Carter, a spoken word poet - who alongside artist Laura Yuile spoke of producing their work under precarious financial conditions. Bell pertained to the idea of creating an ecosystem where the money filters down to the artist as means of negating financial precarity, so artists are not working beyond their means or working simply to live. Overall, the event highlighted that a heterogenous, well connected network including academics, policy makers, and creatives is essential to a flourishing cultural and creative ecosystem (Gross and Wilson, 2019). 

References:

Gross, J., & Wilson, N. (2019). Creating the Environment: The Cultural Eco-systems of Creative People and Places.

http://www.creativepeopleplaces.org.uk/our-learning/creating

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Creative and Cultural Ecosystems
Creative and Cultural Ecosystems
Description

This is the first of four reflections on the CIRCE x UNESCO World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development event, which took place on May 23rd at City, University of London. Paromita Saha takes an"ecological," perspective on what was discussed on the day.

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