Matt Clayson, director of the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, the organization we have been developing the Speakers Bureau content for, is currently spending time in Algiers, Algeria with the U.S. Department of State and the Aspen Institute as part of a delegation effort to help Algiers define and develop its creative sector. Clayson penned a post for the Detroit Regional News Hub that has some interesting observations in it, mostly because the issues they are trying to overcome in Algiers are things that we are working on here in Detroit.
From the post:
A discussion amongst leaders in Algiersâ€™ creative community consumed most of the day. Our role was to listen and to share limited feedback, when appropriate.
The discussion covered three core areas of need as identified by our Algerian hosts: the need for government support, the need for funding and the need for a unified advocacy organization.
Rings familiar, eh? Sounds like some of the kinds of efforts drummed up months ago during the arts summit as part of the Detroit Works Project. This summit asked many questions around how our local government can be a part of fostering development from the creative sector. Their were a multitude of proposed solutions– public officials embracing the arts as part of Detroit’s external image or opening up some of the 60,000+ publicly-owned buildings to artists and small businesses. Other solutions hovered around the third point in Clayson’s observation, that is, having a unified advocacy group that advised the mayor’s office on policy catering to the creative sector.
More from Clayson:
[In Algiers] the educational infrastructure for the creative sector is inadequate implicitly forcing many wanting to pursue careers and practices in the creative sector to study overseas. The result â€¦ a predictable brain drain.
Again, something familiar. What’s interesting though, in our case, is that we have the educational infrastructure, we have a ton of it in fact. This presents a great deal of light at the end of the tunnel in the sense that our infrastructure is sound, now we just need to a better job of creating enterprise and opportunity. In other words, we aren’t starting from scratch, we just need to learn how to bridge the gap from graduation to employment.
Anyway, it’s interesting as we delve further in to dialogue about Detroit and other places around the world going through similar growth struggles. We are obviously big fans of this trans-continental exchange, trying to contribute in this realm with our upcoming documentary release After the Factory. With so many cities confronting similar issues in the face of large-scale globalization and economic re-tooling, can’t we make the transition process easier by learning how to work together/share ideas more effectively?