Spark Policy Dialogue programme, Uzbekistan

We had a very important and inspiring Creative Spark Policy Dialogue programme in Uzbekistan. It brought together 95 programme stakeholders and partners from Uzbekistan and UK - Creative Spark programme champions and wider teams, government senior officials, creative and cultural enterprise and civil society leaders, mass media representatives. We discussed about what we can do to give young people the skills they need to succeed and contribute to the national and global economy.

On Day One we looked at ecosystems and identified barriers and ecosystem support the HEIs need wider than their own circles of influence in embedding creative entrepreneurship and on Day Two project teams developed and presented their visions to be "entrepreneurial universities", their unique strengths and the communities they serve.

We spoke about:

  • The scale of change: new ecosystems, new relationships, new set of skills, new mindset and need to re-think, find common a language, embed creative education in public school curriculum and make linkages
  • New HEI priorities: academic and financial autonomy, graduate outcomes and focus on employability and need for new T&L strategies and sustainable plans; capacity to enable it all
  • Diversity: ‘same’ or ‘unique graduates’, different focus depending on needs and contexts, gender parity, networks
  • Leadership and change management to inspire, enable and make it happen; we will also continue developing teams of project changemakers

We have a project policy working group to take the agreed action forward. Press Release

Leicester’s Cultural Quarter – The Cinderella Principle

This project investigated the creation of a cultural quarter in the City of Leicester. Taking an old derelict part of the city centre the council led on a series of ambitious building and infrastructure projects to establish a new theatre, cinema and arts centre, arts venues and crucially workspaces for creative and tech start up businesses to transform the city centre and reputation of the city in the eyes of the arts community.

Mapping the Cultural and Creative Industries in Vietnam

Summary report

Vietnam at the London Design Biennale 2018

We shone a light on the work of Vietnamese designers at the 2018 London Design Biennale from 4 - 23 September 2018. The Design Biennale was devoted to the theme, Emotional States. Taking over the entirety of Somerset House, it explored big questions and ideas about sustainability, migration, pollution, energy, cities, and social equality.

A highlight on the global cultural calendar, the Biennale saw some of the world’s most exciting and ambitious designers, innovators and cultural bodies gather in the capital to celebrate the universal power of design and explore the role of design in our collective futures. A unique exhibition presenting the best design in the world from established and emerging designers, architects, scientists, writers and artists.

Visitors enjoyed engaging and interactive installations, innovations, artworks and proposed design solutions - all in an immersive, inspiring and entertaining tour of the world. Over 40 countries, cities and territories revealed how design influences our emotions.

We have been working to connect designers and social and creative enterprises with female artisans and craft makers’ communities in Vietnam, promoting social innovation, fair and ethical collaborations, and an appreciation of cultural heritage.

Crafting Futures (1)

Crafting Futures is a British Council global programme supporting the development of sustainable craft industries.  In Southeast Asia, the programme aims to foster economic empowerment through the development of creative social enterprise and design-led skills for female artisans and designers, with a specific focus on promoting social innovation, fair and ethical collaborations, and an appreciation of cultural heritage.

Craft practices are increasingly endangered in the face of globalisation and rapid economic development. Women artisans, a majority working in the sector, are particularly vulnerable due to lack of knowledge and skills necessary for sustaining their practices or businesses. The combination of traditional craft and contemporary design will generate a renewed interest in crafts through creative processes, informed research and storytelling. Furthermore, developing business and marketing skills is key to improving viable livelihoods.

We have been working to connect creative practitioners (designers) and social and creative enterprises with women artisans and craft makers’ communities to create more inclusive opportunities for sustainable and ethical craft-based production. Activities of the programme were designed with a strong focus on skills, capacity building, professional network and connection building across the areas of design, social innovation, and cultural heritage management.

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Crafting Futures (2)

This project aims to continue the “Crafting Futures Project” and collect evidence for future grant application in this area of work.

With the focus on sustainable development, we will construct a base-line that will help considering and addressing structural inequalities within the proposed research, in particular those based on gender and ethnicity. By using a collaborative approach, we intend to give the various stakeholders voice to their problems and how it could be sensible to address them for ensuring their long term sustainability. The project is designed to positively contribute to the protection of craft making as a form of cultural heritage, how it can be translated into a contemporary work, and in the future initiate a policy dialogue to support especially women and girls from marginalised ethnic minorities.
There is growing awareness some groups in society are being excluded from opportunities, in particular due to gender and ethnic background.

Failure to include all social groups in development has led to most people from minority ethnic and religious groups being more likely to have low paid work, to live in slums with risky conditions and to have poorer access to healthcare, education, finance and public transport. People from these populations are also excluded from systems for justice and government and from decision-making about things that affect their lives.

The project will collect data from the state-of art of designers’ engagement with the ethnic minorities, what are the instruments that they need in future projects and at the same time investigate what is needed also by the ethnic communities, what they think in being involved and what kind of training they should/would like to receive.

Creative Spark

We believe that the advancement of entrepreneurship and enterprise related education provides a useful contribution to longer term social and economic development, and the related national policies provide an important supporting framework for this development, especially for the creative economy sector. The importance of the role of universities and other educational institutions is recognised in this progression, including the role of the English language, and we encourage and support their efforts, especially through international partnerships with the UK, and the Creative Spark programme.

Uzbekistan Workshops

Recent Presidential Decrees in Uzbekistan state that introducing and managing innovation is the key driver of economic growth and national development; every public administration unit/major’s office and every university from now on has a dedicated senior post in charge of innovation. The project will develop and pilot a new National Innovation Management programme for senior public administration and education leaders to respond to big national development agendas. The project will address good governance agendas and will share UK experience and expertise in this area to contribute to national reforms.

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