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Need to ‘package culture for export’

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Need to ‘package culture for export’

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Regional governments and cultural bodies, including Barbados’ National Cultural Foundation (NCF), have been accused of not doing enough to support the cultural industries and prepare artistes for the global market.
The charge came from chief executive officer of the Pinelands Creative Workshop, Rodney Grant, during a recent news conference where he said that exporting cultural products from across the region was proving to be challenging.
“We’ve been doing things in culture for a while but in terms of now packaging our cultural products . . . it’s a new area for us,” Grant said.
“We have dance groups, we have singers, we have performers but how do we now package what we have to meet certain standards?”  
Grant noted that the Economic Partnership Agreement had opened up the market and made it possible for artistes from the region to be able to do business in Europe.
“The opportunity is there. If we were to do the research and ask how many artists in the region have taken advantage of this . . . I believe none.
“The issue is how do we prepare ourselves, how do we prepare our artistes . . . for international markets,” he said.
Grant added that governments had a role to play, but the NCF was lacking as far as developmental work was concerned.
“You have a National Cultural Foundation that specifically focuses on festivals. Festival is important, yes, because it brings the finance that you need . . . but at the end of the day the development aspect of your cultural landscape is important,” he said.
The CEO said resources had to be invested in emerging industries like culture, especially since tourism was struggling. (NB)