Kingston, Jamaica – Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick, National Programme Officer for Culture and Coordinator for the Creative Caribbean Project – UNESCO says, advocacy is needed to dispel the perception that “arts or culture, are mere luxuries or worse for the dunce people.” She was speaking at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Business Dialogue Forum held on June 26, 2023 under the theme, ‘Jamaica’s Orange Economy: So Rich, Yet So Poor?’ where industry experts weighed in on the value of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) to Jamaica’s economy.
Jacobs-Bonnick says, instead, advocacy is needed to dispel this perception, “We must continue to advocate for them as drivers of economic growth and social development.”
Speaking on the value of the CCIs, she pointed out, “It is clear that we do create value. All around us we see the evidence of that in our sector, value to community; to audiences; value to businesses; value to education; value that can include, for example: high attendance figures for all artistic and cultural events; the transference of non-profit cultural work into the commercial sector; cultural organisations going into partnerships with the public education system. All of these things demonstrate that we are creating value.”
Jacobs-Bonnick continued, “But we are having difficulty capturing as much value and revenue, fund raising and income as we would like to…creating, defining and communicating our value now is the single biggest problem for our sector and for the leaders of our cultural and creative institutions”.
Deputy CEO of JBDC, Harold Davis, moderating the Forum, asserted that, “The creative industries are the set of industries that will move Jamaica into sustained prosperity.”
He added, “As a matter of fact, it can be argued that we are the most creative country in the world by capita or by square mile…the creative and cultural industries continue to punch way above its weight class.”
The JBDC is committed to quantifying the economic value of the CCI and increasing opportunities for its development and financing. From the recently concluded CCI mapping exercise conducted by the JBDC in collaboration with the British Council (BC) and Nordicity, one of the biggest takeaways was that the true value of the Jamaican CCIs remained unknown due largely to inadequate data. The JBDC has subsequently partnered with UNESCO to conduct further research into the value of Jamaica’s CCIs under the Validating Jamaica’s Cultural & Creative Industry through Economic Impact Assessments and National Statistical System (JAM NSS-CCI)” project.
The project’s objectives include: 1) To develop a comprehensive profile of the Jamaican Cultural and Creative industries (CCIs) to guide cultural policy making, 2) Measure the economic contribution of the CCIs, and 3) Identify recommendations and strategies for the development of key sectors.
The Creative Voices Survey is currently underway to collect data from at least 500 businesses and creatives in the sector. This research is collaborative and supportive of initiatives from colleagues and partners at the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport (MCGES), JAMPRO, Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), Kingston Creative, Entertainment Advisory Board (EAB), and more. For details, visit www.jbdc.net.
The JBDC is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce (MIIC).