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Kingston, 27 April 2022: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and The University of the West Indies (UWI) have launched the ‘Creative Caribbean – An Ecosystem of “Play” for Growth and Development’ project in the amount of Euros 3 million.
The project will be implemented over forty months and is financed by the European Union with support from the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States under the ACP-EU 11th EDF Culture Programme. Creative Caribbean aims to provide grants and improve the economic conditions of creatives to stimulate sustainable growth of the Caribbean’s Creative and Culture Industry (CCI) while positioning the CCI as a catalyst for social and economic growth. The grant schemes are divided into three categories: industry grants enabling environment grants, and training grants.
The Industry grant category includes: Festival Development and Marketplace, Work Placement & Knowledge Transfer; Artist Mobility – Artist Residencies; Product Development and Content Production; Small Grants for Professional Associations; Small Grants for Emerging Creative Content Originator; Scaling Grants for Export-Ready Creatives; CCI Festival Business Exchange Networks and Fora.
Falling under the Enabling Environment grant category are the following: Visual Literacy and Performing Arts; National Artist Registries; Data Intelligence; Cultural Policy; National Implementation Plans; Draft Legislation; Institutional Strengthening; Creative City Sub-Sector Accelerators. The Training grant scheme includes: Visual Literacy and Performing Arts; Transversal Capacity Building Workshops.
There will be two rounds of grant calls in 2022. The first round, live now, includes two grant categories, Industry and Enabling Environment. The second round of grant calls, slated to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2022, will include all three categories, Industry, Enabling Environment and Training grants. Eligible entities/categories of persons include: CCI actors, artists, entrepreneurs with emphasis on young to mid-career practitioners Registered CCI professional organizations, associations, collectives, guilds, civil society organizations & groups. Secondary and tertiary academic faculty, students and researchers.
During his keynote address at the launch event, Dr Armstrong Alexis, Deputy Secretary-General, CARICOM Secretariat, noted, “Culture provides a unique contemporary context to advance us towards sustainable outcomes.” He further explained that “the development and advancement of the creative industry must be treated as a central pillar to national development and should serve as a critical component of addressing youth participation in the Caribbean. ”
Dr Saadia Sanchez-Vegas, Director and Representative, UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean, highlighted that this project and its ethos aim toward nurturing what is believed to be two of humanity’s most valuable resources: culture and creativity, by empowering these communities to meaningfully partake in sustainable development. “It is hard to overstate the importance of culture in facilitating economic growth and dialogue,” noted Fredrik Ekfeldt, Deputy Head of Mission, Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica, Belize, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and The Cayman Islands. “We are moving the needle forward: allowing cultural actors to make the way for themselves. Culture is not just entertainment: it is at the centre of our societies.”
Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) are sectors which provide millions in revenue and in which thousands of people find full time and part-time work. Referred by names such as the Orange Economy and Gig Economy, CCIs include areas such as music, fashion, costume, design, festivals, film, animation, new media, visual and performing arts, emerging industries such as circus arts, acrobatics, synchronized swimming, operatic performance, and all subsets of entertainment. The University of the West Indies, represented by Ms Debbie Emandie on behalf of Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, emphasized that culture is a language that everyone understands. Indeed, “our commonalities intertwine into a tapestry of one people bringing together our differing cultures…into a system to advance our developmental agenda.”
The project aims to generate the research and data needed to improve regional policies and laws around the creative and culture industry while facilitating capacity-building activities to expand the various sub-sectors of the CCIs across the Caribbean. 15 Caribbean countries identified for implementation will benefit from this injection of support into the CCI ecosystem: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, The Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago.