Culture and Economy

The strengthening of cultural industries as development assets: The production of cultural goods and services and the use of creativity as a source for development is gaining in recognition. The figures provided by different studies on wealth generation through the provision of cultural goods and services of small and medium industries are strong. Youth have the added potential of being prone to exercise their creativity and this is an important asset for, on the one hand, strengthening cultural industry itself and, on the other hand, increasing the chances of youth’s development.

Generating jobs through cultural employment: The lack of employment opportunities for young people requires creative solutions. The cultural goods and services, arts and crafts and cultural industries are increasingly opening opportunities for employment creation based on creativity. The high creative component of these fields is joining a community of professionals, particularly young people, to create ventures that in many cases have become true business niches. The innovative feature allows for the creation of self-employment from entrepreneurship that is based on cultural assets and the potential of new technologies applied to cultural consumption and leisure. There are currently several examples of ventures of this nature that have achieved considerable success. In the South African context there are examples and best practices that are posing interesting new models of wealth generation and increased quality of goods via culture. Worldwide there is growing number of small companies dedicated to providing such services. They are also achieving a high level of competitiveness in varying contexts, which is important to remember, as it demonstrates that young people can become entrepreneurs using their creative skills.

Increased revenue through cultural and artistic activities: Cultural expressions, crafts, and artistic languages are assets that often spontaneously engage youth. They have the potential to become tradable, allowing the use of creativity as a source of income generation. Many young people have creative abilities that, combined with instruments, tools and management, can mean access to income.

Strengthening self-esteem in the context of social disintegration: The youth, along with women and children, is one of the groups most vulnerable to social disintegration. A lack of confidence among young people in their own environment combined with a lack of choices offered in a society can make young people doubt themselves and their ability to change their environment. Artistic language and cultural practices offer options for expression, openness and dialogue that can form the basis and the restructuring of one's self, both individually and collectively.

Mutual respect and intercultural dialogue: The expression of one's culture to other cultures via artistic language can be a first step of intercultural dialogue and an approach to conflict resolution. A more significant participation of young people can be an advantage for societies, as it facilitates interaction between different groups.

Strengthening governance, participation and sharing for non-violence and peace: Access to the free expression of culture invites and contributes to the creation of spaces for collective participation. These processes demonstrate the ability of people to coordinate and achieve goals together, affecting their surroundings and directing their own development. The awareness that it is possible to transform one's environment is critical for young people. The youth of any society need to feel that they can organize to affect social functioning and make the changes that are necessary to construct their future. Participation in cultural life and teamwork within the organization, promotion, etc. of artistic and cultural activities strengthens the capacity for participation and offers the ability to exercise greater governance. In the exercise of cultural life there are many possible encounters between individuals of the same and different cultures. The exercise of a cultural life in and of itself involves the practice of living together. Interaction is a fundamental condition for peace. Young people are constantly creating new forms of communication which are common spaces among diverse communities. This potential is a great asset to the construction of peace. Artistic languages contain many possibilities for communication and coexistence in the hands of young groups can be helpful in building peaceful societies.

Increased accessibility to the educational field: We know that in certain contexts, education processes fail to develop enough to retain children and youth. Different actions and projects have demonstrated that the incorporation of cultural and artistic languages implies an interface that enables the integration of knowledge. Many young people may be less inclined to incorporate knowledge from the classical education system, but instead access knowledge easily via the exercise of artistic activities. This combination involves increasing instruments and tools that help in the fight against school failure and a lack of interest in learning.

The spread of healthier living practices: Body care has historically permeated cultural practices and concepts. Many cultures have developed to truly worship the body, which has been accompanied by ritual practices of care and health maintenance. Cultural practices and the exercise of a healthy life are closely linked. Understanding certain values of health maintenance also involves the need to understand, in parallel, the cultural values of each person. In this sense, culture has two aspects to consider in relation to health. The first consideration is when changing practices lead to the deterioration of the health and integrity of a person. Secondly, artistic languages have the potential to transmit messages related to health, as demonstrated by many projects in sexual and reproductive health. It is possible that certain health messages to youth have a greater impact and better results when they are related to a young person’s own culture and when they are offered through artistic expressions that are contemporary and innovative.

Respect for the environment: As in the case of health and the cult of the body, the environment has always been associated with practices containing a cultural dimension. Ancestrally the fragile division between human life and the life of the environment (land, elements, etc.) contributed to the development of concepts, principles and values related to the treatment of the environment. Caring for the environment is therefore also a cultural issue. Cultural and artistic expressions are a gateway that offers interesting possibilities in building respect for the environment. Youth groups can access related values through the arts. Artistic expressions also involve youth in the task of raising awareness about the need for greater respect and care for the environment by offering creative and participatory formats in the development and dissemination of messages.



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