An assessment of the monetary contribution the cultural industries make to the local economy should soon get under way.
Word of this from senior business development officer with the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), Alison Sealy-Smith, who suggests such a study is long overdue, the last one being conducted by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) of the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, back in 2007.
“COSCAP [the Copyright Society of Composers Authors and Publishers Incorporated] is currently trying to get another study done. I also know that there has been an application for some international funds and it looks like the cultural sector is going to get them, and one of the things that we want to do is a mapping of the sector.
“. . . That will include Crop Over but it will go beyond [that festival] to try to figure out what is happening within our creative sector. Who’s doing what? What are the challenges? Who is profiting? Who is making the money? Who is using the technology? Who is exporting, who is not? And Crop Over will be a part of that,” she told Barbados TODAY.
Estimates of the contribution of culture to the Barbados economy have ranged from $60 million to as high as $100 million. Sealy-Smith, in underscoring the importance of getting Barbadians to gain a greater appreciation for the sector, explained why grant funding was sought for the study.
“To be able to convince people that this is something that you need to invest in, you have to be able to show them what the value is on the other end and there are people making money, quietly making their living in the cultural industries, and we have to find a way to map them,” she said.
“We have to be able to take it and go, ‘This is a good investment’; there is this much to be made, people are doing this. So it is not that we don’t know that it needs to be done.”
The NCF official said the serious investment needed will not be forthcoming until there are numbers to show people the bottom line – the potential profit margin.