Elene Toidze, head of the creative industries division at Creative Georgiais involved in two of our programmes: Supporting Creative Industries Mapping in Georgia and Supporting and Promoting Inclusivity in Arts and Culture in Georgia
From the very beginning of my career path at Creative Georgia, we emphasised the importance of collecting more information about the needs of creative industries (CIs) and their economic and spill-over effects. Unlike the UK, we don’t have a lot of this data at our fingertips.
Our amazing colleagues from the British Council, who had lots of experience working on inclusivity in arts, have helped us a great deal. Through the series of meetings, workshops and other awareness-raising activities, we realized the importance of having a platform for dialogue on inclusivity in the arts and across culture.
Even though I have been actively working on creative industries research and feel well-acquainted with different models and methods, I have learnt a lot from the UK experts involved in the project. Through their help, I identified additional areas and specific needs that will help me and my team at Creative Georgia to further streamline and strengthen the research and mapping direction.
As for the “Unlimited” programme component, it was life changing for me and gave lots of extremely useful information about engaging different societal groups in arts and cultural activities. It helped me to realise that you do not always need lots of resources to make your everyday life and work more inclusive; so, we have to start from ourselves and our communities, change our practices and with this, show examples on how we can ensure accessibility to cultural life to everyone.
Knowledge gained through the British Council CCI programme will help me as well as the Creative Georgia team to advance our research and mapping initiatives. As for the “Unlimited“ programme, it has already changed our mindset, our everyday activities and I can say that we have already started to implement the practical skills gained through the programme.
‘Supporting Creative Industries Mapping in Georgia’, was the first practical step, taken towards filling the gap that lies within the creative industries research in our country. Even though it was a 3-month project, it helped us in different directions, in particular – in strengthening mapping capacities of cultural and creative actors, gaining necessary data about different aspects of the local creative ecosystem and receiving experience and knowledge from one of the best professionals in terms of mapping creative and cultural sectors. The positive effects of this project will reverberate around the creative community and stay as a project that was a stepping stone towards implementing evidence-based policies and practices.
Along with different positive outcomes of the “Supporting Inclusivity in Arts and Culture” project and creating the first-ever cultural accessibility guidelines for cultural managers/event managers in Georgia, it clearly showed us a real need for the platform that would encourage dialogue and experience sharing on inclusivity topics, between various organisations. So, now we are trying to address this need and create a platform that could support discussions and know-how sharing on inclusivity in arts and culture.