South Baltic Creative Cluster declaration on current crisis

South Baltic Creative Cluster declaration on current crisis

Learning from Corona-pandemic-crisis:  

(i)South Baltic Creative Cluster Network´s Recommendations.

(ii) Creative and cultural activities are among the oldest forms of human activity. From poetry and sculpture in ancient Greece to today’s online entertainment, they have always been inseparable from human activity. This is why today’s creative industry is one of the most vibrant economic sectors. 

(iii) The cultural and creative sectors create a community that is very important to people. It is an expression of the celebration of life, unity. It makes the individual become a part of a community. The creative sector influences the attractiveness of regions, causes the revival of neglected spaces, shapes, attitudes. Music, films, books unite and help people overcome difficult periods.

 (iv) The recent Coronavirus pandemic and the illness it causes, COVID19, has put us all in a new, extraordinary and disturbing situation. This situation requires the support of the community of creatives and the creative sector, while at the same time requiring isolation, preventing us from being together. 

(v) The 21st century and the development of the virtual world have allowed the growth of online distribution platforms for creative content. Platforms distributing films, music, games, online courses or books celebrate success after success.  Some of them have provided free access to content during the period of isolation. 

(vi) However, many creatives and companies in the creative sector rely on direct contact and participatory experience, which is impossible in the current situation.

Concerts, performances, festivals are cancelled, galleries or cinemas are closed, depriving tens of thousands of artists of work. One cannot forget that the creative sector is characterized by the so-called Motley Band Rule: In order to create a creative product, a number of unique, disparate competences are required. The limitation of creative production has a negative impact not only on creatives, but also on a great number of people who are part of the creative sector value chain. Hotels, restaurants, drivers, maintenance services, and a myriad of others are affected. 

(vii) As a support network for the creative sector operating in the South Baltic, we are observing the current global situation. We welcome the actions of EU Union, governments, both national and regional, that support creatives and the tourism/leisure sector with non-refundable support and a system of interest-free loans. 

(viii) The crisis has focused the problems faced by the creative sector on a daily basis. It has also shown, in an almost exaggerated way, how important this sector is in our lives, and at the same time how delicate the sector can be, while also resistant to change.  Therefore, the South Baltic Creative Cluster, based on the recommendations of the European Commission, calls for:

a) Stepping up efforts to create a European area of creativity by promoting a European regulatory framework based on fair market access, free competition, combating abuse of dominant positions, supporting and developing SMEs and crafts, promoting cultural diversity, protecting intellectual property rights and combating piracy, with particular attention to the digital potential of the sector.

Economic stimulus program for the cultural and creative industries seems to be the most efficient tool. 

E.g.: The federal government in Germany and the German states prepare harmonized economic stimulus and stabilization programs, among other things, also for the cultural and creative industries. Now the EU programs under negotiation and implementation nation – and region wise. We ask for giving the cultural and creative business an appropriated role in future EU programs of Baltic Sea Region. Especially these programs can include visual arts purchase budgets, construction art budgets, and communication budgets for all cultural operators to drive demand while improving suppliers’ order books. Digitization projects are to be brought forward and expanded, internationalization (trade fair funding, delegation trips, international presentations for all branches of the cultural and creative industries) are to be massively promoted and the volume of orders from the public sector for all sub-markets of the cultural and creative industries is to rise significantly. [1]

(b) The adoption of favorable tax rules and new models and instruments to support the financing of projects in this sector and the creation of public-private partnerships with the possibility of citizen participation (PPPPs). In other words, the aim here is to complement the traditional model of public-private partnerships (PPPs) with direct participation by citizens.

c) We draw attention to the need to secure appropriate measures to address the difficult situation of businesses in this sector, especially for SMEs and creative professionals (single entrepreneurs in poor economic situation). We also emphasize the need to support drives to achieve a critical mass of investment in the sector by utilizing economies of scale.

The South Baltic Creative Cluster is prepared to take on a greater role in both developing and implementing support measures for the creative industries during this time of crisis and beyond. We already announce our next joint cross border conference “Creatiopia 2020” in end of 2020 in Rostock to formulate joint demands for a better – tailor made – economic environment for actors from creative industries.  

Further contacts:  

on behalf of South Baltic Creative Cluster

Dr Monika Tomczyk