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Culture can earn as much as the automotive industry

08 July 2014 / 17:07:33  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

Culture creates gross domestic product but it is not a sector of the economy. This must change, because dozens of people find jobs related to it and its potential to create new jobs is high as well. This was the conclusion of the European conference on cultural entrepreneurship that took place in Athens.

A proof of this is the financial results, which in some cases are highly surprising. According to director of the European Research and Innovation Agency for Cultural Clusters Euricca Georges Perot, in 2009 culture contributed 2% more to Germany’s GDP compared to the automotive industry, not including the film industry and architecture. "Think how many people are involved in culture without this being considered a separate business, from your child's private guitar teacher to the different bands that play in bars the music they have composed themselves," he said. According to him, culture can create jobs not only for the young but also for the elderly, offering them the pleasure to engage in what they love.

Museums are some of the best places for the realization of the idea, is the opinion of Lila De Chavez, head of the non-profit organization "Heritage and Museums" and a board member of the European Museum Forum, Council of Europe.

"The audience wants different things and not just to see old collections. Many museums already organize programmes and training seminars that subsequently provide job opportunities for many people. In this way many things can be achieved with little money and a lot of experience." In her words, 1,500 people who attended such seminars at the Benaki Museum in Athens have become designers, and others, especially women, are now able to work and devote sufficient time to raising their children.

According to De Chavez audience interest already turns to periods that are not so distant from the present. "An example of this is the Museum of Innocence founded in Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk, who was awarded for it this year. The museum is created on the basis of the novel by the writer and is dedicated to it, and the interest in it is great. Culture can become an important economic sector precisely through such interactions," she added.

Dr. Katia Arfara from the Onassis Cultural Centre proposed several ideas for investments in the field of culture. "The first is partnerships between cultural institutions at the national and European level. This will also involve a lot of production houses and all of their artists. The second idea is the creation of projects in order to involve the public in them. The presentation of theatre and other performances at the local level can achieve interaction with the audience to dissipate the polarization in society which has been very strong in the crisis years. The third idea is the use of digital technologies that will create jobs for the professionals in the sector and will connect theatre with the modern era and the boom of technology."

The representatives of the offices of the European Commission and the European Parliament in Athens drew attention to the high youth unemployment in the European Union and underlined the call of its bodies to all member states to entirely change their educational programmes so that they meet the requirements of the market. According to them, culture could contribute towards this whereas the increased funding of the underlying instrument, Erasmus + programme, provides the opportunity for this.

"New times call for new qualities but the bottom line is people's dreams. They need to think and define their reality, to innovate and collaborate," added Dimitris Raftopoulos from Knowl company.

The conference took place at Gazarte space for cultural and artistic events.

Tags: EconomyCompaniesCultureEntrepreneurshipConferenceAthensGazarte
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