The large-scale Creative Georgia Forum brought together leading European experts and official representatives from the Eastern Partnership countries on 8th and 9th December. During the Forum in Tbilisi, participants discussed, on the basis of cases of cultural initiatives and the EU’s experience, how cultural and creative industries can have a positive impact on innovation and development in Georgia and the region.
Three Steps Towards the Development of Creative Industries
Cristina Farinha (Portugal), Member of the EU Open Method of Coordination Expert Group on Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Cultural and Creative Sectors, believes that one of the most important steps is creating communication and collaboration platforms. “There is a big gap between creators, professionals and the state and there is not much in between, there is a lack of intermediaries, all this space needs to be filled by people to get their voices heard and represent this sector.”
Pier Luigi Sacco (Italy), Professor of Cultural Economics at IULM University in Milan, is certain that the participation of the civil society is vital for the development of cultural industries. “Whether they pay for it or not. That’s basically the backbone. If you are not able to foster participation, it is like catering in places where nobody eats. What you really need to do is to start from the grassroots.”
According to Marc Franco (Belgium), advisor at the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, special attention should be paid to cooperation among EaP countries, as they have a vast common heritage and are culturally close to each other. “The Eastern Partnership is, from our point of view, an important element, because it groups six countries that come out of the Soviet past. In one way or another, these countries go beyond the Soviet past and have done an enormous job in throwing off the totalitarian regime under which they had lived for decades.”
So why are creative industries so important?
Because they make regions attractive for investments and professional staff, according to Walter Zampieri, Head of the Unit for Culture and Creativity in the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission. “And another point of importance is innovation. Because cultural and creative industries are at the forefront of innovation, as they have developed a prototype for every product, its innovative potential becomes the decisive factor of the sector” , stated Barbara Gessler, Head of Culture Unit, EACEA.
“The cultural and creative industries make up between 4.2% and 4.4% of the EU’s GDP and approximately 2.3% of the EU’s workforce. It is the fastest-growing sector. The sector has shown sustainability in the face of a crisis. Not only in Europe but also elsewhere in the world. Employment is continuing to grow despite the acute economic crisis”, explained Walter Zampieri, Head of the Unit for Culture and Creativity of the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission.
Five Most Interesting Examples of Creative Projects from the Creative Georgia Forum
A regular dairy farm can become a place where creativity flourishes. Scientists found that if cows are exposed to classical music, they produce more milk. This was precisely what one EU farm decided to do. The result was musical milk, which actually turned out to be quite tasty. It was also given out during classical music concerts, which was good advertising for the company. This interesting example was recounted by Tim Williams, Head of EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Programme.
Tim Williams also stressed that it was culture and creativity that were the springboard for the UK’s success. “A creative economy is what we pride ourselves on and want to share with other countries,” he said.
An Art Space in Tallinn
Virtually every city faces the challenge of converting industrial landfills into attractive places. A successful example of one such building transformed into an art space was presented by Jaanus Juss, the CEO of Telliskivi Creative City in Estonia.
Juss and his team tried to introduce a model in Tallinn that would include both business and culture. Ten buildings from the Soviet era were transformed into a trendy place with bars, restaurants, art academies and theatres. According to Jaanus Juss, what matters is the cultural and social life that fills these transformed buildings. This project has been implemented for more than ten years, and this year more than 700,000 people visited this art space and more than 500 events were held there.
“I personally work as a gardener, although I’m a member of the Board of Directors. I do this because this was how it was decided at the very beginning when we were forming our team. It is important to perform you duties with integrity, it helps create a community where you can and should be creative,” said Jaanus Juss.
Museum of Broken Relationships
In Zagreb, Croatia, a very successful project came out of a sad event that happens practically with each one of us: a painful breakup. And so the idea arose to create the Museum of Broken Relationships. Each exhibit that is on display comes with a letter with the story of the relationship and the reason for the breakup. Visitors are immersed in the stories, which range in length from a couple of words to several pages. Each one of them evokes different feelings, from bitter and deep sadness to sardonic sarcasm, according to collection manager Ivana Druzetic.
“The goal of the Museum of Broken Relationships is to bring together people based on stories of love and disappointment,” said Druzetic. And this actually works and people are interested, as the museum is always busy.
Music and Wine
In ancient times, people in Georgia would sing folk songs to wine. Doing so, they believed that it would become better, more delicious and of better quality. That is why designers decided to combine music and wine to create a new brand called Vismino. The grapes for this wine will be cultivated to the sound of classical music. And in order to bring music into the design, JSC Marussia Georgia used paints.
“We’ve given each note its colour, which helped make creative labels for the new variety of Vismino wine,” said Tornike Akhobadze, JSC Marussia Georgia Brand Manager.
Composer Koka Nikoladze has constructed 15 different alternative instruments that can be used to create new music. At first, this was not a commercial project, rather simply an attempt to create something new and exciting, and that would be useful for society. The result was quite creative and unusual, and people really like it. Today, the musician receives lots of offers to sell these instruments.
Nikoladze stressed that it has really been very helpful to him that there are people who teach him new and interesting things; although he makes all his instruments himself, he relies on the advice of others. “It is very important to meet other people and enrich your experience for your own professional growth and development,” said the musician.