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CARIB | Jun 10, 2021

PJ Patterson cites cultural and creative industries as key drivers for regional economic growth

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Book prompts former Jamaican PM’s take on contemporary decolonisation as an approach to developing cultural economies in the Global South

Former Prime Minister of Jamaica PJ Patterson (right) takes a look at Dr. Deborah Hickling Gordon’s book, ‘Cultural Economy and Television in Jamaica and Ghana: #decolonization2point0’ at the official handover ceremony held on May 19, 2021. Patterson emphasised the timeliness of Dr. Hickling Gordon’s book as he believes the cultural and creative industries are key drivers for economic growth in the Caribbean. The book will be included in the archives of Patterson’s Africa-Caribbean Centre for Advocacy. (Photo contributed)

Cultural Economy and Television in Jamaica and Ghana was added to the research archives of former Prime Minister of Jamaica,  Percival James Patterson’s Africa-Caribbean Centre for Advocacy on Wednesday, May 19 during a formal handover at its University of the West Indies’ Mona Campus offices.

The book, written by communication and culture-in-development strategist turned author, Dr Deborah Hickling Gordon, examines the factors influencing the transformation of the television industries in Jamaica and Ghana as a sector of broader cultural economies.

The Centre for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy, launched in June 2020, is the brainchild of former PM PJ Patterson—known for his commitment to regionalism and improving Caribbean’s ties with Africa.

Patterson lauded the book as “timely” and expressed his delight in including the body of work in the Africa-Caribbean Centre for Advocacy named in his honour.

He said; “This book could not have been more timely and relevant to our situation today. It addresses the perennial issue of the Cultural Economy which has never been as significant and dominant globally as it is today.” 

The book, released in November 2020, is Dr Hickling Gordon’s first published work.

It presents the philosophical, ideological, economic, changes and their impact on governance and the operational transformation of the television sectors of Jamaica and Ghana. She also proposes and demonstrates the application of a mode crafted specifically for the development of cultural economy policy for countries of the Global South. 

Hickling Gordon advocates for the development of clear and deliberate geostrategy for increased cultural and creative trade between Jamaica and Ghana as well as the Caribbean and Africa. 

Dr Hickling Gordon describes her book as representing “the first critical examination and comparison of cultural and creative industries (CCI) and economic concepts in the Caribbean and Africa…an original contribution to the development of strategies that influence processes, structures, and policies related to the cultural economy concept and those required to improve audiovisual industries” in the Global South.

FILE PHOTO: State of Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) in the Bahamas on October 1-5, 2018. (Photo: YouTube.com)

Hickling Gordon uses the colonial histories of the two countries to draw parallels between the development of their respective broadcast industries and their transformation from propaganda tools for the colonial and post-colonial states to a potential force for the promotion of cultural empowerment and the development and growth of a viable creative economy.

In 2015, The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimated that the global cultural and creative industry was valued at over US$509 billion; accounting for five per cent of GDP and three per cent employment in the Caribbean and Latin America, and contributing 1.1 per cent to GDP in Africa and the Middle East. 

The University of the West Indies, Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) Lecturer is one of forty-two international and three Caribbean members of UNESCO’s global Expert Facility on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions 2019-2022.  She is also a member of the UNESCO Transcultura Advisory Committee of Experts.

Transcultura is the programme hosted by UNESCO which is aimed at deepening integration within the Caribbean region through culture by identifying training areas most needed by culture professionals, young artists and entrepreneurs in the Caribbean. 

Dr Hickling Gordon is also the coordinator of the UWI Mona’s Bachelor of Arts in Cultural and Creative Industries and the Bachelor of Arts in Entertainment Media and Cultural Enterprise Programme offered by the ICS, within the Faculty of Humanities and Education.

As Convener of Jamaica’s National Cultural and Creative Industries Commission (NCCIC) between 2014 and 2016, Dr Hickling Gordon was architect of the Jamaican Creative Industries Policy Framework – Creative Jamaica.

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