The forum aimed to outline the roadmap for the development of the creative sector in Armenia, bringing together policy implementers, cultural figures, representatives of local self-governments, business development specialists, education experts and representatives of the creative sector.
Cristina Farinha, author of the EU-EaP Culture and Creativity Programme's report on developing creative industries in Eastern Partnership region:
To ensure the development of the creative industry, it is necessary to have an integrated and systematized idea on how it should be done. First of all, it is necessary to involve policy makers. In this case the Ministries of Culture, Foreign Affairs, Education and Economy, as well as the Ministry of the Diaspora should jointly ensure this development. Each of them has its own functions and responsibilities, which, however, are very closely interrelated.
Cooperation Instead of Competition
Creative communities must understand that only uniting and interacting will they be able to influence other relevant bodies responsible for the development of the creative sector. There is no competition here; value is only generated as a result of cooperation. Creative organizations are small, and they need one another. Besides, by self-organization and assistance to one another they will be able to create platforms where they will be able to involve young people, too.
The focus should not only be on the development of only one or a few creative sectors. This would be senseless. It we decide to develop the computer games sector, very soon it will become clear that we also need scriptwriters, i.e. people who will create a narrative, as well as musicians, designers and others to create them.
By making equal investments in all possible directions and enabling creative people to find areas in potential combinations where they can apply their skills, one may hope that the development will proceed normally. This is part of the ecosystem that needs to be complete and feed from different sources.
Anamaria Wills, cultural and creative consultant, Partner at The Cordy Wills Partnership, former CEO of Creative Industries Development Agency:
It is necessary to start with mapping. You can be in all towns, in fact, the majority of countries start with towns. It is necessary to have a clear understanding of what is going on in Armenia, what talents there are, where they can be found, what they are engaged in, and make investments in the strong sectors. Those may be design, music, and information technologies. It is important for these talented people to realize that in order to position themselves on the global market, they will need support.
What is necessary for the sustainable development of any sector within creative industry? At least two sets of skills. If you need stage directors, they need to be educated. The sector also needs business people who have a special set of skills. By the way, it is much more promising to focus on the enhancement of competences, rather than on university education. Equal investments should be made in the development of two types of skills, to help creative people ride two tigers, because when they realize that it is possible to earn money by creativity and stop expecting the support of the state or investors, they will prioritize the significance of earning money. They will continue to create, at the same time, earning money, they will prioritize the cost of their independence. This will encourage them to develop and expand their own businesses.
The economy has a slogan that reads: “Growth is what matters, if you are an entrepreneur, strive to expand your enterprise.” In fact, Europe has 60.000 large machine building enterprises and 1.3 million organizations operating in creative industry.
Considering this difference, it should be inferred that the growth is not measured vertically, but horizontally. It is much better to have many small enterprises than a few large organizations. This is the ecology of the creative sector.
Yrjö Ojasaar, Managing Partner of Solon Partners, mentor at Startup Wise Guys and GameFounders, expert in creative business development, venture capital and angel investments:
Modernization of the Internal Resource
People in Armenia are very creative, independent and have an innovative mind. In this regard, Armenia is in a very beneficial position: there is no need for importing specialists and ideas. The problem consists in the fact that the sector has just started to develop and is not well-understood by many. It is necessary for people familiarize themselves with the international practices, tools and processes. For example, when we consider tennis, if you are very skillful in this sport, but your experience is confined to your country only, you will not grow. It is necessary to participate in international competitions, to compare your skills with those of others. Specialists of the creative sector in Armenia must acquire global experience and network at the international level; this will help to generate ideas.