Creative industries can boost economies
Arts and culture exchanges between India and the UK contribute to economic growth and foster understanding between cultures.
The arts, music, film, theatre, festivals, literature, crafts and the stories they hold aren’t just forms of entertainment; they represent our identities and lived experiences, drive employment and build understanding and empathy between people. Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi in his opening address to the G20 Culture Ministers’ summit in Varanasi spoke of the value artists and craft workers contribute to the economic success of creative industries. And the G20 Leaders Declaration emphasises how culture is a key driver of the SDGs
Arts and culture make tangible the “living bridge” between India and the United Kingdom (UK) with a constant stream of cultural exchange in both directions. India’s Symphony Orchestra is touring concert halls across the UK later this year, the renowned Aditi Mangaldas dance company is premiering her new dance show at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London in October and Aakash Odedra from Leicester, UK will be performing in Delhi as part of a new series of events led by the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art.
International collaborations like this deepen connections and understanding between cultures and audiences. But the economic benefits for the individual artists and those who support them, and the wider economy should not be underestimated – in the pre-Covid period, India’s creative industries contributed 2.5% to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the UK’s creative industries contributed 6% to the UK’s GDP.
The UK minister of arts and heritage, Lord Parkinson, had met cultural policymakers, artists, and arts sector leaders in Delhi before heading to the G20 Culture Ministers meeting in Varanasi in August. Through our discussions, a few things became evident.
First, the UK can learn from the sustainable practices of the Indian arts sector and from the cultural practices in Indian cities; second, the India-UK collaboration in the creative sectors has great potential to inform cultural policy development for the future; and third, the British Council is enabling enduring connections between both countries catalysing this exchange.
UK’s creative industries have grown 1.5 times faster than other industry sectors in the past decade. In Bengaluru and Hyderabad, the growth in tech, arts, gaming and Artificial Intelligence coupled with India’s rapid digital transformation over the last five years has led start-ups to scale up. This is echoed in the UK government’s vision for creative industries which aims to add one million jobs in MSMEs and creative start-ups by 2030, an increase of 43%.
Recent partnerships with the UK’s science museum group and the National Council for Science Museums for an exhibition on vaccines and their evolution, a first-of-its-kind creative fellowship for skills exchange to develop young art talent in Scotland and India between Edinburgh Printmakers and Flow India, and the Natural History Museum and the Bihar Museum, where the “Econario” sculpture graces the G20 Together We Art exhibition, show how the mutual exchange of skills, talent and creativity can enrich lives in India and the UK.
With the culture ministry’s G20 vision for One Family working together to deepen opportunities for all through the cultural industries and the UK’s longstanding commitment to India, we’re confident the creative economy is set to get a huge boost.
Alison Barrett MBE, is director, British Council, India. The views expressed are personal