RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2019

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401 Creative Economies in Africa: new research and policy perspectives (3): Creative work, mobilities and education in the development of Africa's creative industries
Convenor(s) Roberta Comunian (King's College London, UK)
Brian Hracs (University of Southampton, UK)
Chair(s) Ayeta Anne Wangusa (University of Leicester, UK)
Timetable Friday 30 August 2019, Session 4 (16:50 - 18:30)
Room Sherfield/SALC Building, Read Lecture Theatre
Session abstract In recent years there has been a growing interest in the role that cultural and creative industries (CCIs) play in the Global South- in terms of their economic contribution and connections to social change and cultural engagement (UNESCO, 2013). To contribute to this field and to support related policy agendas, these three special sessions aim to bring together international researchers and policy makers engaged with understanding or developing creative economies in Africa. They engage with the following research questions: what role can CCIs play in the development of African countries? What challenges and opportunities emerge with the development of CCIs in Africa? What role can policy (national and international) play in this context? The three sessions will also feature a discussant to enable critical reflection on current research and policy initiatives. To explore these questions in greater detail, the sessions are organised around three themes:

1) The role of co-working and business development in the creative economy in Africa
2) Geographies of creativity in Africa: urban, rural and beyond
3) Creative work, mobilities and education in the development of Africa's creative industries

The special session builds on the work of an AHRC funded research network http://www.creative-economy-africa.org.uk . The sessions aim to contribute to a better understanding of the creative economies in African countries and to explore strategies to encourage and enable sustainable context-specific cultural, social and economic development. The papers and authors will be invited to share findings via the project blog and website or contribute to an edited book and policy report.
Linked Sessions Creative Economies in Africa: new research and policy perspectives (1): The role of co-working and business development in the creative economy in Africa
Creative Economies in Africa: new research and policy perspectives (2): Geographies of creativity in Africa: urban, rural and beyond
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: ac2019@rgs.org
Do the South African Creative Industries offer viable opportunities for youth employment? Evidence from the Labour Market Dynamics Survey
Jen Snowball (Rhodes University, South Africa)
Serge Hadisi (Political Economy Southern Africa, South Africa)
Statistics South Africa’s (StatsSA) Quarterly Labour Force Survey (2018) showed that unemployment rate amongst young people (15 – 34 years old) has reached 39.3%. The creative economy in South Africa provides nearly a million jobs and can grow faster than the rest of the economy (Hadisi and Snowball, 2018). However, international research has found that, while the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) have the potential to provide entry into the labour market for young people, the kinds of jobs created may be informal, or short-term contract work, characterised by long and erratic working hours, periods of no, or low, pay, lack of job security, and higher stress. Such working conditions may not be attractive, especially to women, who often carry family care responsibilities. Others argue that the CCIs can lead the way in providing flexible working conditions for the “precariat” – a group of highly educated professionals who work at skilled jobs on a contract, freelance basis.
The present study analyses the StatsSA Labour Market Dynamics Survey (LMDS), using the UNESCO Framework for Cultural Statistics (2009) to identify cultural occupations. The LMDS sample is representative at national and provincial levels with approximately 132 000 observations per year. Results showed that the CCIs in South Africa provide employment for nearly 7% of the working population, about 35% of whom are youth. While not yet representative of the population demographics, the majority of those in cultural occupations are black African (73.2%). Youth who work in the cultural sector are, however, more likely to be employed informally than young people in non-cultural jobs, and a far lower percentage of female cultural workers fall into the youth category (29.2%) than male cultural workers (38.4%). Some cultural domains provide more employment for young people (43% of youth in cultural occupations are found in the “Visual arts and crafts” sector), and provincial location quotients are used to show that there are also interesting locational aspects to youth employment in the CCIs. The findings suggest that the CCIs in South Africa have a significant role to play in providing jobs for young people, even in more rural areas, but that there are some challenges, such as the under-representation of young women, and the high levels of informality. Implications of the findings for policy are discussed.
The role of universities in the creative economy in Africa: informal and formal creative education in Nigeria
Roberta Comunian (King's College London, UK)
It is widely acknowledged that Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) has always played key cultural roles in cities and communities. In the context of Africa education has been widely accepted as a leading instrument for promoting economic growth. However, the connection between education and the development of local creative economy is underexplored. In the paper, we take the case study of Nigeria and in particular Lagos to explore the provision of courses (in public and private education) connecting to creative careers and we reflect on the role that such courses play in opening opportunities for creative producers. Using qualitative interviews with key players and intermediaries organisations in creative education and the creative economy in Lagos we consider the challenges that emerge in raising the profile of creative courses in university settings in Nigeria.
The mobility of South Africa visual artists
Brian Hracs (University of Southampton, UK)
Irma Booyens (Human Sciences Research Council / University of Johannesburg, South Africa)
Taylor Brydges (Stockholm University, Sweden)
Roberta Comunian (King's College London, UK)
The paper investigates the mobility (and immobilities) of South African visual artists. The conceptualization of mobility here is informed by the ‘new mobilities paradigm’ (Sheller & Urry, 2006) and encompasses the physical and virtual movement of humans, ideas, knowledge and objects across space and at different scales (Cresswell, 2011). It draws on the work and framework of Brydges and Hracs (2018), trying to test this with a different set of actors in a different geographical context. Using data from qualitative interviews contacted with 24 visual artists in South Africa we aim to answer the following research questions: How do South African artists use forms of physical and virtual mobility to facilitate and enhance their presence, artistic work and livelihood? What kind of immobilities (challenges and barriers) are experienced by South African visual artists in relation to establishing their career locally, nationally and internationally?
Hustling in an informal film industry: The case of Nairobi-based female filmmakers
Robin Steedman (University of Sheffield, UK)
Nairobi-based female filmmakers are ‘hustlers.’ They work in a precarious situation where, for instance, they receive little state support or social respect for their work, and a profitable infrastructure for the distribution of their films has yet to emerge. Yet, in Nairobi, the most critically acclaimed filmmakers – both directors and producers – are women, a remarkable fact considering the dramatic underrepresentation of female filmmakers in film industries globally. This paper will explore how this has come to pass, focusing on their practices of entrepreneurship and relationships to the Kenyan state. This paper is based on eight months of fieldwork in Nairobi (October 2014 to June 2015), which included 30 semi-structured interviews with 27 different filmmakers. I will argue that filmmakers have been successful in their precarious environment because they hustle. They cannot rely on support mechanisms from the government such as loans or grants, and filmmakers widely consider their industry to be neglected by the state. But the lack of formal structures and support mechanisms in Nairobi also creates space for innovation. Nairobi-based female filmmakers have responded to their environment by becoming radically flexible in their work. Diversifying into different screen media formats, mediums, and genres is one approach they take, as is taking on multiple roles within their projects including as director, producer, and distributor. The informal nature of Nairobi’s film industry can mean ‘it is easier to climb up the ladder’ than in more developed industries, which has important policy implications. Women have been successful in this space because they have been able to hustle and seize the opportunities of an informal industry. More formal structuring in the industry may not be to their advantage, and this must be accounted for in policy interventions aimed at supporting the Kenyan film industry and the women working within it.
Discussant
Irma Booyens (Human Sciences Research Council / University of Johannesburg, South Africa)
Discussant