Through this article Young European Ambassadors from Georgia Mariam and Luka emphasize the importance of culture and creative industries and identify their role as one of the important components of local self-government activities.
Culture, in its modern sense, has always played an important role in the development of Georgia and has constantly determined the state of spiritual development of society. Over the centuries, the country, which has been conquered many times, has constantly tried to maintain its identity through language and culture and to this day tries to overcome the global culture challenges. In the modern world, while Western countries have been thinking about culture as an important part of state development policy since the second half of the 20th century, it is necessary for our country not only at the central but also at the local level to understand culture and provide its status of priority. In order to eliminate this problem, we consider it necessary to take effective institutional steps based on research and, at the same time, to initiate inclusive discussions on this topic.
Cultural and creative industries as a driving force of the economy
Since the second half of the 20th century, it has been widely believed that the cultural and creative sectors can have both direct and indirect impacts on the country’s economy – creating jobs, encouraging innovation, ensuring social sustainability and increasing the happiness index. In Georgia, as well as in European countries, the development process of this sector should be accelerated and the integration of the cultural and creative industries development component into local economic plans should begin.
A survey conducted in the framework of the EU initiative “Mayors for Economic Growth”
The study, in which 14 municipalities in Georgia participated, showed that, on the one hand, with the general discussion on the development of cultural and creative industries at the state level, concrete institutional changes have begun, which is reflected in the national document adopted by the Ministry of Culture – “Culture Strategy 2025”. By founding the organization “Creative Georgia”. However, on the other hand, there is no decentralization of CCIs development policies and in many cases, the development of the culture and creative sector at the local level is not inclusive but scattered. To address this problem, it is important and necessary to decentralize policies, which will help municipalities to develop a separate strategy for the development of culture and creative industries at the local level. The development and further implementation of a specific action plan will contribute to the synchronous development of the sector in the country. Developed creative industries, in turn, provide a variety of processes and contribute to the formation of a creative community.
Our views are supported by the strong arguments of the representatives of various actors working in this sector, who believe that the Georgian municipalities face many challenges in terms of the development of cultural and creative industries and are deeply convinced that it is first and foremost necessary to develop a policy at the local level only after counting all the resources that will subsequently become an important source of economic growth. Mr. Zviad Mchedlishvili describes the development of this process with the following scenario:
“In order to get some results in certain municipalities or in a specific area, it is necessary to first make a primary description of cultural mapping of local resources that can be further developed. It is on the basis of this analysis that a strategy for the development of the culture and creative industries sector will be prepared, followed by a specific action plan. These are the three main stages, after the documentation of which it can start functioning”.
As for the role of the state in this process – “Local government should determine the tools through which we will develop this process. It is very important that the readiness of the municipality itself in this process – the local government itself should become the initiator and partner of the development of the cultural and creative industries sector”.
We strongly believe that in order for systemic problems to be resolved in parallel, it is necessary to take into account the position of several stakeholders in different fields and make decisions that are beneficial to all parties. Our opinion is further supported by the director of the Royal District Theater, Mr. Data Tavadze, who says: – “Along with the action plan, there should be a discussion platform with local government representatives to discuss how we can jointly manage the sector. We need to move from defining utopian goals to developing a concrete plan, and we need to have a result-oriented dialogue on this issue with representatives of the theater industry, as well as artists of absolutely all ranks – these are, in my opinion, the first steps we can take to develop the arts”.
We face similar challenges in any field of the art sector. According to Mr. George Gvarjaladze, the founder of Leno Records, there are many problems in the separate music industry that cannot be eliminated without the interest and involvement of the state: “Unfortunately, we do not realize that art – music, cinema, theater – is worth the money, it is necessary to have a cognitive process in society and consumers must be responsible to the people who produce this product.
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