World Creativity and Innovation Day – A Chance to Support Creative Industries and Recognise Their Value in the Global Economy 
 
After a year of turmoil for music and music teaching, World Creativity and Innovation Day on April 21 offered a chance to celebrate the creative economy. And this year, despite the ongoing problems for live music, art, theatre and other creative industries, the day also marked the start of the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, 2021. 
 
Image: Dragos Gontariu, Unsplash 

A Positive Boost for Culture Worldwide? 

As Isabelle Durant, acting Secretary-General from the United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD) explains, after a year that has devastated cultural sectors across the world, this is not a “cosmetic” gesture. Rather, it’s an opportunity to support entrepreneurship and stimulate innovation, empowering people to preserve and promote cultural diversity. 

A Good Time to Focus on Creative Industries 

As the UN website states,  
 
“International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity.” 
 
Durant affirms that the celebration and resolution is timely, saying: 
 
“The creative industries are critical to the sustainable development agenda. They stimulate innovation and diversification, are an important factor in the burgeoning services sector, support entrepreneurship, and contribute to cultural diversity.” 

Defining Creativity 

“Creativity, in general, is the generation of novel, surprising, and valuable ideas. “Ideas”, here is a catch-all term covering not only concepts and theories but also (for example) music and literature, and artefacts such as architecture, sculpture and paintings.”  
 
So says Margaret Boden, research professor of cognitive science at the University of Sussex in her book, Creativity and Art. 
 
There may be no one way to understand creativity. It covers everything from problem-solving to artistic expression. And so, the United Nations connected the two concepts, creativity and innovation in a single celebration. The day therefore raises awareness of the importance of creativity for every facet of human development. 

The True Wealth of Nations 

The 2013 Creative Economy Report, Widening local development pathways, which was co-published by UNESCO and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), revealed that creativity and innovation — at individual and group levels — have become the true wealth of nations. The report underlined the importance of creative industries in sustainable development. 

Future Growth 

The report also suggests that cultural and creative industries should be part of economic growth strategies. This is an important reminder at a time when pandemic-driven lockdowns continue to affect these industries. 
 
Before the pandemic, creative and cultural industries were among the most dynamic in the world economy. On a global scale, they generated $2.25 billion and 29.5 million jobs. This could suggest that a focus on the creative industries, rather than being a luxury, might help reboot the economy. 

Bringing the Focus Back to Creative Sectors 

On World Culture and Innovation Day — and throughout 2021, we are invited to embrace the necessity of innovation for economic growth. These industries provide more opportunities for everyone, including women, minority groups and young people. 

How are You Innovating in 2021? 

We’ve shared many online resources from creative organisations who have risen to the challenges of the last 12 months. And, out of the spotlight, it’s important to acknowledge the continuing contribution of music and arts teachers, who have taken their lessons online, and adapted so they can still nurture creativity in their students. They are the true heroes — the true innovators. 
 
How has the last 12 months affected your teaching? Do you think it has made you more innovative, or less creative? Let us know in the comments. We’d love to know. 
 
If you want to read more about the importance of arts subjects for young people, check out our blog, Generation Interrupted — Why Children Need Arts Subjects More than Ever, And Why Teachers Need Support to Provide Them. 
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