Persons involved in the cultural industries here have been advised to form an association that will help them grow and develop as a sector.
President of the Barbados Film and Video Association Lynette Eastmond said an association would act as a central body for those in the industry to get information and to voice their concerns; and would help strengthen their hand when negotiating for assistance or support.
Speaking at a public forum on the cultural industries hosted by the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) Eastmond listed several professional groupings here and said it was time those involved in culture formed their own.
The function focused on the cultural industries under the theme International Business: New Paths Forward and was organized as part of activities for International Business Week 2015.
“The legal profession has an association and when I came into the legal procession it was made easier because there was an association. There was a place where you could go to find out anything that you needed to know at the Bar Association office,” said the practicing attorney-at-law.
“There is ICAB [the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados] and ICAB has a strong association for its membership. There is BIBA, the medical practitioners have an association, the engineers have one, the architects have one [and] the filmmakers have one. What often happens in the cultural industries is that there is not this collection of individuals working together and creating an environment where they can do what the engineers and the doctors do for their own people. I think that is lacking in cultural industries. You need to have an organization,” stressed Eastmond, a panellist at the event which was held at Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination.
She explained that a formal grouping would make it easier for those in the industry to lobby locally or internationally for what they wanted, stressing that local filmmakers would not have been able to access $800,000 from the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund (CBTF), the leading UK charity for people working behind the scenes in the film, cinema and television industries, if the Barbados Film and Video Association did not exist.
Eastmond warned that if cultural entrepreneurs were not prepared to “come together and work together” it would be difficult for “a musician fresh out of community college” to settle in and learn the ropes.
“Every lawyer that comes out of law school goes to the Bar Association and has a right to ask a question about how things are done.
“Everybody else in the world understands it that you need to form associations, whether you call them union or whatever else you call them, but most people in the world recognize it and we here in Barbados in the cultural services industries still don’t recognize this importance,” she lamented.
However, managing director of e-Vision Concepts Phil Phillips said there was a reason for the absence of a body to represent those in the industry.
“The reason we don’t have active associations is because there is no stakeholder interest among those in the industry on a day-to-day basis. You are not going to get entrepreneurs in the cultural sector coming together when they do understand the strength of an association in the first place,” said Phillips, explaining that they were often more focused on their trade and not necessarily the business aspect of what they were involved in.