Understanding Creative Industries

Creative industries are becoming increasingly important components of modern post-industrial knowledge-based economies. Not only are they thought to account for higher than average growth and job creation, they are also vehicles of cultural identity that play an important role in fostering cultural diversity.

During the last decade a number of governments around the world have recognised this fact and started to develop specific policies to promote them. This mainstreaming of what was once considered a sector of marginal interest, which received limited attention from researchers, has led to a growing body of analysis, statistics and mapping exercises on the relationship between culture, creative industries and economic development to give officials in these countries the raw data they need to make policy. However, the sector is still poorly understood and many governments remain to be convinced of its potential, while trying to accurately measure economic activity in the sector poses considerable obstacles.

As momentum builds to prioritise this field of activity within economic development policies, the demand for more precise and sophisticated cultural statistics at international, regional and national level is set to grow and governments should support and encourage initiatives in this field. The Global Alliance, dedicated to promoting the cultural industries , such as cinema, music, publishing and crafts, fully supports the progress of recent years to map and study this sector more closely and actively works to advocate further research, disseminate best practices and collect published studies in this field on its website.

Creative Industries,
between creativity and commerce

Cultural and Creative Industries

The term cultural industries refers to industries which combine the creation, production and commercialization of creative contents which are intangible and cultural in nature. The contents are typically protected by copyright and they can take the form of a good or a service. Cultural industries generally include printing, publishing and multimedia, audiovisual, phonographic and cinematographic productions as well as crafts and design.

The term creative industries encompasses a broader range of activities which include the cultural industries plus all cultural or artistic production, whether live or produced as an individual unit. The creative industries are those in which the product or service contains a substantial element of artistic or creative endeavour and include activities such as architecture and advertising.

Cultural Times – The First Global Map of Cultural and Creative Industries

Dec 2015 – Published by CISAC, the Cultural and Creative Industries study for the first time quantifies the global economic and social contribution of this sector.

The world has a shared history and a rich, diverse cultural heritage. This heritage is cherished globally as an asset that belongs to us all, yet gives our societies their identity and binds them together, nurturing a rich cultural and creative present and future. That is why stakeholders of the creative and cultural world must do everything in their power to preserve this heritage and the diversity of actual cultural content, amid a political and economic climate that is subject to major upheavals.
The idea behind this report is that the economic weight of cultural and creative industries (CCI) in mature and emerging economies is partially described, misunderstood and undervalued. This is why the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC — the body representing authors’ societies worldwide) — decided to commission a global study of the economic and social impact of CCI, focusing especially upon revenues and employment.

Download PDF:
Cultural Times – The First Global Map of Cultural and Creative Industries

Cultural Times – the First Global Map of Cultural and Creative Industries

UNESCO and Creative Industries

The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) defines cultural and creative industries as:
“sectors of organised activity whose principal purpose is the production or reproduction, promotion, distribution and/or commercialisation of goods, services and activities of a cultural, artistic or heritage-related nature.”
This approach emphasises more than just the industrially made products of human creativity, it makes relevant the entire productive chain, as well as the specific functions of each sector involved in bringing these creations to the public. Thus, the definition also encompasses related activities, such as publicity and graphic design, which are decisive factors in this process. (UNESCO Santiago)

UNESCO | Diversity of Cultural Expressions: unesco.org/creativity/
UNESCO | Creative Industries: unesco.org/creative-industries/

Third UNESCO World Forum on Culture and Cultural Industries
© UNESCO / Antonio Viscido, Third UNESCO World Forum on Culture and Cultural Industries, Florence, 2014

UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN)

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The 180 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

The UCCN is one of UNESCO’s key partners in implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

FOCUS ON SDG 11 — Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

  • Develop hubs of creativity and innovation and broaden opportunities for creators and professionals in the cultural sector
  • Strengthen international cooperation between cities that have recognized creativity as a strategic factor of their sustainable development
  • Improve access to and participation in cultural life, notably for marginalized or vulnerable groups and individuals
  • Stimulate and enhance initiatives led by member cities to make creativity an essential component of urban development
  • Fully integrate culture and creativity into local development strategies and plans
  • Strengthen the creation, production, distribution and dissemination of cultural activities, goods and services
    > en.unesco.org/creative-cities/

UN Creative Economy Report

Read the first ever comprehensive study about the creative economy contributed by UNCTAD, UNDP, UNESCO, WIPO and the International Trade Centre (ITC), in a joint endeavour to enhance policy coherence and international action in this area.

Third UNESCO World Forum on Culture and Cultural Industries 2014
© UNESCO / Emiliano Cribari


Enabling Crossovers – Good Practices in the Creative Industries

This compilation of 36 good practices in the creative industries across Asia and Europe showcase examples of policy and practice that may serve as inspiration for networking, collaboration and policy making. The mapping covers the four areas being addressed at the 6th Culture Ministers’ Meeting of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), namely creative skills, creative entrepreneurs, creative cities: sustainability, and creative cities: quality of life.


ECIA experts set agenda for future of creative industries

27 Nov 2014 – Experts from 12 European countries have joined forces to strengthen the future of the creative industries. Today they present a 10 step action plan to enable cross-sectoral collaboration and access to finance. The European Creative Industries Alliance (ECIA) is the platform on which these experts in the field of creative industries collaborate to set an agenda for innovation and growth. According to the experts, the creative industries also need to measure and raise awareness of their value as key driver of innovation and growth.

Dutch Creative Council – Brand identity animation from SILO AGENCY on Vimeo.