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British Council to harness power of creativity with ‘Creative Economy for Sustainable Development’

Local and international creative industry leaders, policy drivers and academics gather via SLDF 2021, virtual edition, organised by the Academy of Design, AOD, to focus Sri Lanka’s creative industries evolution towards adopting sustainable development goals to drive post-pandemic economic revival; This forum will foreground actionable insights from the UK, Indonesia and local creative industry advocates as it explores Sri Lanka’s potential to position itself as a sustainable and ethical creative hub during UN’s ‘International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development’ in 2021

Sri Lanka’s creative industries’ significant economic footprint and employment potential became evident last year when a nationwide research commissioned by the British Council uncovered that Sri Lanka’s creative economy has shown steady growth of 95%, rising its GDP contribution from $ 433.62 million to $ 845.41 million within four years. The study was conducted by the Institute of Policy Studies in Sri Lanka, and commissioned by the British Council.

The mapping exercise demonstrated that 2.9% of the economically active workforce was involved in the creative industries, including both the highly educated and least educated sectors of Sri Lanka’s labour force. Building on the recommendations of the report Creative and cultural Industries of Sri Lanka, the British Council and stakeholders have formed a ‘Creative Economy Steering Group’ to take forward the development of the program. The British Council is now facilitating the next steps for growing the network and for enabling the local creative sector to advocate for policy interventions to realise the power and potential of the creative industries to transform local economies islandwide.

Sri Lanka Design Festival 2021 edition conceptualised and presented by AOD opens this Friday 15 January and will host the ‘Creative Economy for Sustainable Development forum presented by the British Council. This forum will bring into focus how the local creative industries can contribute towards more sustainable forms of economic development in the aftermath of COVID-19. The discussions are part of a major design and innovation driven economic agenda that SLDF is pushing forward with AOD, working parallel to the national measures being taken by the Government to revive the economy.

‘Creative Economy for Sustainable Development’ session will be chaired and moderated by John Newbigin OBE– ambassador for creative industries at the Mayor of London, the former chair of Creative England and the current chair of the British Council’s Arts and Creative Advisory Panel. Following the welcome by AOD Chairperson and Sri Lanka Design Festival Founder Dr. Linda Speldewinde, British Council in Sri Lanka Country Director Maarya Rehman, will give a brief introduction to the British Council’s creative economy program and an overview of the rest of the program.

The forum will also give an insight to the work done by British Council’s Architecture, Design and Fashion department in the UK as Parvinder Marwaha Design Program Manager at the Architecture Design Fashion team gives us a brief look at the work they do.

The Creative Economy for Sustainable Development forum will draw on the UK’s success as the world creative capital as well as focus on another global creative industry success –Indonesia – as a regional example of inspirational best practice and one that could provide actionable insights for Sri Lanka. Dr. Tita Larasati, an eminent contributor to Indonesia’s creative economy in its journey to become one of the most developed in Asia will present on Indonesia’s creative economy development.

Dr. Larasati co-founded Bandung Creative City Forum (BCCF) in 2008, and is the current chairperson of Indonesia Creative Cities Network (ICCN). Her work has become the Bandung focal point for UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN). She is also a member of the International Advisory Council for Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) UK. Dr. Larasati’s views on bridging the creative industries and digital economies will be particularly interesting to Sri Lanka with the new shifts that are becoming pertinent within the post-pandemic market landscapes.

A panel discussion bringing together diverse perspectives from Sri Lanka’s creative industry, academic world, economic policy making and exports development will be moderated by the conference chair John Newbigin OBE. This discussion will draw on the recommendations from the report mapping of Sri Lanka’s creative industries, and make important parallels between them and the sustainable development goals that address Sri Lanka’s current challenges. The panel includes Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) Director General Chitranjali Dissanayake responsible for strategic promotion of export products; University of Moratuwa Faculty of Architecture Department of Integrated Design (DID) Senior Lecturer Ruwandika Senanayake; economist, policy advisor and international consultant Anushka Wijesinha; and Kantala Ltd. Co-Founder and Managing Director Vikum Rajapaksa.

There is no better time for the discussion on Creative Economy for Sustainable Development than now as the UN declares 2021 the UN’s ‘International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development’,

The panel discussion will lead the conversation to what Sri Lanka must do in order to support its position in global value chains—a measure that would directly impact the creative industries as the conference will discuss benefits and potential for aligning with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and establishing Sri Lanka as an ethical and sustainable creative hub in the South Asian region.

The forum is open to the general public, and SLDF organisers have extended a special invitation to the brands, professionals and businesses in the creative sectors, as well as the students and academics of creative disciplines to join the event. The conference will be held on Friday, 15 January 2021 at 2:30 p.m. (IST). The Creative Economy for Sustainable Development forum will be freely accessible worldwide. To pre-register: https://www.srilankadesignfestival.lk/creativeeconomyforsustainabledev.

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