“What if we could turn our cultural skills and business potential into a creative economy for Bangladesh?" That is precisely the question the British Council poised on the two-day policy dialogue, on 'Creative Bangladesh - Hard Skills and Soft Skills', held at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel on 12 March and 13 March, 2014.
The aim of the workshop was to identify key challenges in establishing a formal creative economy in Bangladesh.
The main objectives of the policy dialogue were to have a clear understanding of a creative economy, identify the challenges/obstacles of the creative economy in Bangladesh, how to develop cultural skills and soft skills in Bangladesh and how British Council could best contribute to developing a cultural economy in Bangladesh.
But what is a creative economy, you may first ask. Creative industries/creative economies comprise of those activities which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and utilisation of intellectual property.
A recent research by the British Council highlighted potential for rapid growth of the creative industries in Bangladesh, particularly in the areas of fashion and design, music and publishing. Most of these sectors are also areas of interests for the British Council.
However, to facilitate this growth Bangladesh needs improved international marketing, increased investment in business development and entrepreneurship in small and medium enterprises, increased government awareness of this potential area for growth, and increased quality in training and development in higher educational institutions.
The British Council's Creative Economy programme connects people who work in and inform the creative industries around the world. It focuses on identifying innovative leaders and entrepreneurs and developing their communities by linking them to international networks of support and investment. It also develops projects which stimulate policy dialogue around the creative economy and related skills development.
After the participants introduced themselves at an interactive session, the workshop started off with a couple of presentations, introducing the notion of creative economy, its condition in the UK and some other counties and its key factors, such as culture, education, government funding, etc that determine the fate of the creative industries.
Bibi Russell, the renowned fashion designer presented a case study on Bangladesh fashion industry. British Council sector specialists from the UK discussed about the growth of the cultural industries in the UK over the last 20 years. A soft skills specialist from the UK conducted a half-day workshop on essential business skills as part of this initiative.
Through this two-day policy dialogue and workshop the British Council had brought together representatives from relevant ministries, policy makers, entrepreneurs, educators, trade bodies and experts from the Bangladesh creative sector -- including areas where the British Council has major bilateral projects (fashion, music, film, performing arts, publishing).
Asaduzzaman Noor, Minister for Cultural Affairs, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, inaugurated the event as the Chief Guest.