KINGSTON — Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, has called for more dialogue among stakeholders on enhancing and promoting the country’s creative industry internationally.
“I want to recommend that we promote a dialogue that not only looks at ways to replicate and multiply our efforts at creation, but more so, the need for distribution, for export, for marketing and for penetration of the mainstream marketplaces of the world,” she stated.
The Minister was speaking on Thursday (October 13) at the inaugural staging of an arts conference by theEdna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts held at the institution’s Arthur Wint Drive grounds. The two-day event, held under the theme: ‘The Arts: Catalyst for Caribbean Development,’ also pays tribute to late Professor the Hon. Rex Nettleford.
Mrs. Grange noted that the dialogue on promoting culture must be about how to ensure that the prowess of the Caribbean dance, fashion, film, music etcetera, is expressed in Africa, Europe, Australia and other parts of the world.
“It is about new definitions of ourselves as exporters or manufacturers…it is about the business of the arts and culture, and places like the Edna Manley College or the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) playing a role,” she stated.
She further suggested that the new thinking could perhaps be about working more closely with her Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade “to ensure that when we sign bilateral agreements and promote multilateral engagements, we will provide new and real opportunities to our artistes and to our producers."
Minister Grange commended the Edna Manley College for staging the conference, which she was timely, and is in recognition of the need to find solutions and identify strategies “for us to engage the economic landscape in an appreciation of the value of the creative sector."
She further praised the tribute to Professor Nettleford for his outstanding contribution to the development of the arts and culture of Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.
The opening event, which began with a fashion show, featured performances in dance, music and drama by students of the college.
Among the dignitaries in attendance were: Former Prime Minister and Chancellor at the University of Technology (UTech), Most Hon. Edward Seaga, who was the keynote speaker; Custos of St. Andrew, Marigold Harding; and Their Excellences, former Governor-General, the Most Hon. Sir Kenneth Hall and Lady Hall.
The event, put on by the college in collaboration with the National Gallery of Jamaica and the Jamaica Arts Development Foundation (JADF), brings together 200 international and local participants.
It will feature workshops, lectures, demonstrations, performances, exhibitions, and oral presentations. Among the beneficiaries are artists, writers, critics, administrators, media specialists, musicians, and students and lecturers of the Edna Manley College.
It is expected that the conference will not only invoke awareness of the significance of the arts within the context of development, festivals, expositions and productions, but also its impact on economic progress.
By Alecia Smith, JIS Reporter