UNESCO, The Cultural & Creative Industries and the Language of Business  

UNESCO, The Cultural & Creative Industries and the Language of Business

By José Francisco Ávila
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On May 18, 2001,UNESCO proclaimed the Garifuna Language, Music and Dance Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The Action Plan focuses mainly in the preservation of the Garifuna language. However the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was ratified on October 20, 2005. According to the convention, production and dissemination of cultural expressions increasingly conform to an industrial and economic logic.

The term “Cultural Expressions” refers to the various ways in which the creativity of individuals and social groups takes shape and manifests itself. These manifestations include expressions transmitted by words (literature, tales…), sound (music), images (photos, films) by activities (dance, theatre) or objects (sculptures, paintings).

UNESCO defines cultural and creative industries as activities “whose principal purpose is production or reproduction, promotion, distribution or commercialization of goods, services and activities of a cultural, artistic or heritage-related nature.”

Cultural and creative industries generate US$2,250b and nearly
30 million jobs worldwide; the cultural and creative industries are major drivers of the economies of developed as well as developing countries. Indeed, they are among the most rapidly growing sectors worldwide.[1]

Individuals increasingly expect to access cultural content on every available distribution channel in an “any time anywhere any device” mode, feeding their appetite for smarter devices and higher bandwidth. Electronics sales and telecoms spending rely heavily upon demand for cultural goods and content. New forms of cultural content, developed for digital platforms, have emerged to boost creativity and online innovation. A key component of the cultural and creative industriesindustries is intellectual property that has a cultural component.

As a college freshman, I sought the advice of my career counselor, who asked me “What do you want to be?” and I responded, “A business man”, to which he responded, “then I suggest you major in Accounting because it’ the true language of business is accounting.[2]” It was in my Principles of Accounting class that I learned about  “An intangible asset”, which is an asset that lacks physical substance. It includes patents, copyrights, franchises, goodwill, trademarks, trade names,etc.[3] Aspart of my research to form GALENT, I read a book which stated:”Film is intellectual property protected by copyright laws. The value of a movie lies in the right to exploit it, and the asset value of film companies lies not in bricks and mortar but in the copyright ownership of its films.”[4] Further research led me to conclude that it is true for the entire cultural and creative industries! Being proficient in the language of Business, I saw a great opportunity!

Over my thirty years of activism and advocacy, I was in the midst of the Garifuna movement and foresaw the evolution toan industrial and economic logic. The vast archive of intellectual property I had created, led me to create a business model based on the acquisition and exploitation of Intellectual Property, for the production and distribution of world-class content that is differentiated, powerfully compelling and delivers large audiences. The value proposition lies in the ownership and management of Intellectual Property.

The successful exploitation of Intellectual Property requires a knowledge and understanding of markets, both primary and secondary. It also requires an understanding of consumer tastes and behavior, and precise timing in releasing and licensing it in multiple markets and media throughout the world. It was here that my 30 years of corporate experience proved beneficial. To break through and build an audience content must be clearly differentiated, powerfully compelling and ripe for social media.   Thereby our emphasis on branding!

The cultural industry is an economic driver in communities throughout the United States, a growth industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is the cornerstone of tourism. New York City shines as the cultural capital of the world, spending on arts, entertainment and recreation rose to$5.06 billion, it is the highest it has been since 2010.The arts are central to economic growth and community development. The arts are infusing new life into downtowns, boosting tourism, and helping communities to develop appealing and distinctive identities. [5]

According to the Center for an Urban Future’s 2015 Creative New York Report:  “Many immigrant artists sustain and promote unique and deeply rooted cultural traditions. Leading practitioners of Garifuna music and dance reside in the Bronx.”   New York City is home to the largest Garifuna population outside of Central America.  Yet despite being one of the first Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, the Garifuna Arts and Culture has not participated in the biggest Creative Economy of the world!

New York City has long been recognized as a capital of arts and culture,a place where artists come to create and the world comes to be inspired. In every way the arts are a critical part of the New York City’s economy, identity and quality of life. Arts and culture are what make New York New York. New York City’s relationship to the arts and culture is unique. Culture gives New York World-Class stature. It always has.We aim to make New York the Epicenter of Garifuna Arts and Culture!

Garifuna arts and culture represents fertile ground for partnerships and projects that will help the community shape its own future in ways that are more holistic and intentional. The interfaces between a community’s arts and cultural interests and its economic development interests are particularlyfertile ground for shaping a community’s future because of the unique combination of complimentary talents, strengths and assets that can be assembled when you partner the two. Furthermore, our vast catalog of Intellectual Property, will allow us to participate in all manifestations of Cultural Expressions, in the biggest Creative Economy of the world!

The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions advocates for the contribution of the cultural and creative industries to sustainable development.Production and dissemination of cultural expressions increasingly conform to an industrial and economic logic. Proficiency in the language of business and  a vast catalog of Intellectual Property in the Cultural and Creative industries, will allow us to capitalize on the US$2,250b generated worldwide!

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