A new report by Rowland Lorimer, director of SFU's Master of Publishing Program, highlights challenges facing BC's creative economy and proposes ways of boosting the sector.
The report, entitled Dreamcatcher: Towards a Creativity/Innovation Strategic Plan for British Columbia, addresses issues raised at the BCreative Conference which took place at SFU's Vancouver Campus in May, 2012.
A PricewaterhouseCoopers study estimates 85,000 people are employed in the creative sector, making it the second largest of BC's six major industrial sectors, with generation of $4 billion in economic activity (the fifth-largest sector in the BC economy), yet, the report states, from an official perspective, BC had paid little attention to the creative economy as of 2012 and had undertaken few statistical analyses. Lorimer says that the province has invested in sectors such as film and video, video games, and new media - which appear to create jobs and benefit the economy - rather than in the cultural sector as a whole. "Its emphasis on "screens" is a high-risk strategy that does not consider the ecology of creative production where cross-fertilization among creatives can result in a vibrant dynamic," says Lorimer.
While discussing the relative lack of investment in the sector, the specific challenges of creating low-rent space for artists in Metro Vancouver, and the potential to strengthen BC’s tourism sector, the report proposes two initiatives.
The first would be to follow the example of other jurisdictions and recognize cultural subsidies to artistic activity as infrastructure investments that create jobs and drive economic growth. The report also recognizes the importance of providing investment for continued development of creative industries such as publishing, music, and filmmaking as they transition to the digital world.
The second set of actions proposed is the creation of a branded strategic plan to make creativity and innovation a central element of the social identity of BC in an effort to actively promote the province as a hub of creative production. “By creating a brand such as Creative Beautiful British Columbia and facilitating a very public campaign of recognition and support, creativity in BC could move to the centre of British Columbians’ consciousness and become a primary identity element of the province and its society,” the report reads. "Were that to happen, creativity itself would be enlivened, participation in artistic and creative events would increase, tourism would be enhanced, and growth of the creative sector over the next decades would be catalyzed."
The BCreative conference is designed to bring together government, business, researchers, and the creative sector to stimulate thinking, policy, and action to further build BC’s creative economy.
To download the full 65-page report in PDF format, click here.