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After creative economy, here comes creative ecology

The meeting of the ASEF (Asia-Europe Foundation) in Hanoi on December  2013, 4th and 5th 2013 - where the Forum d'Avignon intervened - enabled Asian and European cultural actors to promote the creative economy dynamics and its limitations for people, bringing out the need of a 'creative ecology’ .

If measure is not acting , the figures have a virtue challenge. The recent avalanche of numbers on the creative economy * confirmed its positive impact on the global economy: in terms of exports ( 624 billion dollars worldwide in 2011 , with a doubling in 10 years) , weight in GDP ( between 3.5 and 13% depending on the country or region including China ), and finally in real jobs - and potential. Their number has increased in all countries represented at the ASEF meeting.

Define the perimeter of the creative economy. Rasmus Wiinstedt - Tscherning, President of the Alliance of European creative industries and Dorota Nigge, representative of the European Commission, but also the Japan Foundation and the Avignon Forum insisted on the positive effect of culture and creative industries across the economy - and its practical impact for the population. To the point that the synergy between culture and its industries, appears, to Peter Inkei , Director of Budapest Observatory ‘as a magic formula’. All ASEF participants however shared the need to define the concept of creative economy and its perimeter to facilitate international comparisons and measures : fashion, gastronomy, tourism and even sports are included.

The issue of cultural policies. The lively exchanges between Asian and European cultural actors helped make a quick tour of cultural policies, and creative industries and development paths for the creative economy, from Philippines, to Denmark, through Korea and Finland.  Anh Tuan HO, the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam has unveiled his 2030 strategy for the development of cultural industries. The willingness of the Socialist Republic is to move from a logic of manufacturing to a service economy based on the creative economy including tourism. This ambition is supported by Unesco and the British Council.

The whole creative economy raises legitimate questions. Public regulation issues – from the definition and enforcement of legal frameworks to the measure to support cultural diversity but also the role of education and Intellectual Property- appear crucial in a global market with blurred borders, due and thanks to Digital. The economic performances of the creative industries also question the recipients (States, regions, multinationals, consumers) of this creation of wealth and its real capabilities to become a sustainable economic reality for the people. A Vietnamese participant has expressed doubts about the ability of its country to effectively implement a strategy based on the creative economy, taking the example of the recent failure in the automotive sector.

All the more as the issue of funding for cultural projects, though central, had not been really discussed: between micro financing projects in India and the total funding by the government in Vietnam, the role of private companies and their customers seems far away...

The creative ecology : a response to criticism " beyond GDP ".

If creative economy is only reproducing the problems of the economy that is to say without incorporating a dimension of social cohesion and individual responsibility, it will be banalyzed as an economic sector like any other one. To reconcile culture and societal: such would be the near future of the cultural actors to develop a ‘creative ecology’, respecting cultural ecosystems’ diversity and plurality with the ambition to measure and enhance its ‘cultural footprint' for generations to come. This measurement tool nourished by qualitative and quantitative indicators (see works of the Forum d'Avignon since 2009) aims at defining the impact of culture "beyond GDP". Will this perspective start in Vietnam?


Laure Kaltenbach


3 minutes video presented during ASEF Forum by Forum d'Avignon : the parable of the Tuileries 

The IFACCA (International Federation of Arts Council and Culture Agencies) has developed a global database of cultural policies, with correspondents in each country :