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Public debate on "Cultural Business Forum: Current Situation and Prospects" organized
Public debate on "Cultural Business Forum: Current Situation and Prospects" was organized on February 27 at YARAT Contemporary Art Space. The event organized by the Ministry of Culture and the Public Council under the Small and Medium Business Development Agency (SMBDA) discussed the development of business in the field of culture and art.
Farhad Garashov, Chairman of the Public Council under SMBDA, opened the forum attended by the representatives of ministries, non-governmental organizations, entrepreneurs, representatives of culture and art and greeted the participants. He noted that the 8th forum organized for entrepreneurs has already started and is dedicated to culture for the first time.
Speaking at the event, Minister of Culture Abulfas Garayev shared his views on the creative and cultural industry. Speaking about the work done in this area, the Minister praised the holding of a forum on the creative industry, the creation of a website and foundation of various associations: “It is very gratifying that today we are able to hold such a forum with representatives of small and medium businesses. The formation of the creative industry, which is one of the new strategic directions in Azerbaijan, is a priority, and in this regard, the Ministry of Culture is implementing various projects with other ministries. Today, it is very important to determine the market of the creative industry, the formation of unified statistics, the definition of areas of interaction between business and government agencies. Today's forum, held jointly with SMBDA, will provide an opportunity to answer the question of what are the goals of the creative industry.
The Minister said that the concept of creative industry was abstract in our society until recent years: “No one was going to take a deep step in this area. Few people thought about the role of the creative industry and its development. People continued their activities in retail. I recently met with the head of Creative England. During our discussions, we explained the situation in Azerbaijan in this area and said that the Azerbaijani people have been accepted as a creative nation throughout its history. The best example of this is Gobustan, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Today, Gobustan is considered an example of the cultural heritage of mankind because the people living here were creative. By reflecting their way of life on ancient rocks, they were able to pass it on to future generations through creativity. Today, this fact has become a valuable heritage that serves to introduce the ancient history and rich culture of Azerbaijan to the world. It is no coincidence that the number of files included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List from Azerbaijan is higher than in other countries. In this success, we must emphasize the activity of the state, especially the activity of the First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva. We must underline the great work she has done to strengthen Azerbaijan's position in the organization as a goodwill ambassador of UNESCO.”
Abulfas Garayev noted that the skills of the Azerbaijani people in various areas of folk art, from carpet weaving to national holidays, have survived to the present day. Relations with UNESCO and propaganda work are based on this creative heritage. Today, our cities of Baku and Sheki are represented in the UNESCO Network of Creative Cities. This is the result of Azerbaijan's successful foreign cultural policy: “Therefore, in the field of creative industry, it is important to unite people in a single strategic center. We were able to create a portal in this area a year ago and have made great steps in the past. I invite all creative people to enter this portal and register there. This portal is a source that shapes the idea of the cultural industry. Access to this portal allows every creative person to exchange with other creative people, whether they like it or not. I am glad that the number of users of this portal is growing day by day. For the first time, we organized a presentation of the Creative Azerbaijan portal (www.creative.az) and a panel of ministers on "Creative Industries: New Opportunities for Sustainable Development and Employment" at the Baku Congress Center in December last year. We discussed serious issues to determine the position of each institution in this case. Several competitions have already been announced in this area, and several associations have been established. Design award, Baku logo competition, etc. We have started to carry out the work. "
The Minister noted that the next meeting in this direction is planned in March: “Today we all face a question: in what forms should the creative industry develop and which creative person can enter this industry? At every step we encounter creativity. From the creation of computer games, applied arts, tourism to the restaurant business, each includes a creative industry. The creative environment is defined as a direction that ensures the economic development of all business and the state. Without a creative approach, there can be no successful business. As the Ministry of Culture, we are ready to support all areas of culture related to this area. SMBDA can help create a legal framework for the creative industry business. Creating the necessary conditions for the formation of this environment is not only the task of the state, but also the work of business structures as a whole. Creating a creative environment is one of the key issues. For this, the concept of suitable places, creative clusters must be formed. Business should stimulate the development of creative youth. We need to instill creative thinking in children. This work must become a social movement. We must expand the "Creative Youth" movement in connection with the "Year of Volunteers" announced by the President this year. Work with these creative young people will begin soon. "
Abulfas Garayev said that there will be more questions than answers at today's forum: “Because today we are thinking about the initial forms of search for the development of the creative industry. We need to determine how we view this area. Today, we must try to equate the income of our thinking potential with the income of oil. As a ministry, we have set this goal and we are moving towards it, and we invite all creative people to join this path. The interest here is that cinema, theater, painting, handicrafts and others must lead in this job, and our main goal is to form this market. I hope that with the joint cooperation of SMBDA and other organizations, we will soon be able to fully achieve the formation of a creative environment in Azerbaijan, and the share of the creative industry in GDP will be expressed in larger numbers.
Speaking at the event, Chairman of the Board of SMBDA Orkhan Mammadov said that the forum has a great potential to create value in the Azerbaijani economy as a favorable platform for public-private dialogue. He noted that the share of creative and cultural industries in GDP in the leading countries of the world is more than 5%, and the share of employment is sufficient. In Azerbaijan, it is too early to talk about such indicators. SMBDA supporting entrepreneurs and advocating for their interests, proposes the establishment of a Public and Private Sector Working Group on SME development in the creative and cultural industries, educating SMEs working in the creative and cultural industries to benefit from state support mechanisms, the creation and promotion of new organizational models, including Startup Business Centers for Creative and Cultural Industries, clusters.
Vasif Eyvazzadeh, Deputy Chief of Administration of the Ministry of Culture - Head of the International Cooperation and Innovative Development Department, made a presentation on the website www.creative.az developed by the ministry. It was noted that the portal was created by the Ministry of Culture to conduct active propaganda and awareness-raising activities on sectoral development processes. The project has been developed for two years and the experience of 15 countries has been studied. The portal provides various types of news, events, profile information of companies operating in this field, etc. It also considers at the nuances that will support the networking of creative industry participants.
The head of the department said that the purpose of creating the portal is also to promote Azerbaijani creative products under the brand "Creative Azerbaijan". Giving detailed information about the sections of the portal, Vasif Eyvazzadeh said that it covers various networks of the creative industry, direct contacts with private and public institutions.
Then Abulfas Garayev once again wished success to all participants and noted that every proposal in this area was evaluated by the ministry. The Minister also stressed that the YARAT Contemporary Art Space, where the forum was organized, is an example as a creative object.
The event continued with a hearing of the participants' appeals and proposals and discussions.