Creativity for social innovation, what a long story!
How many times have you seen the word creativity associated to the realm of economic growth or social innovation? For how long have you employed the cross-cutting potentials of culture and creativity to justify your job?
The process of recognition of the role of cultural and creative sector as driver for economic growth and social changes is fairly recent and indeed became real when the European Commission brought the discussion to a political level. From the Green Paper on the potential of cultural and creative industries (2010) to the most recent KIC on the Cultural and Creative Sectors, Knowledge and Innovation Community (2021), the CCS has eventually became a strategic pillar in the construction of the European working plan, escalating fast during the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 from which we inherited a fundamental new approach to the sector. Explained in the document “New European Agenda for Culture”, the new holistic approach to culture exit the economic sphere and enter that of innovation and societal benefits: a vision that has been kept and reinforced with the launch of the New European Bauhaus, which recognizes creative economy as a fundamental tool for building a sustainable, inclusive and equitable future.
Thanks to this new understanding of the potentials of culture and creativity to impact different aspects of our lives, in the post-pandemic reconstruction age, the European Commission asked for help in order to respond more effectively to the circumstances created by the COVID-19. Within the Erasmus+ programme, two new formats were added to the Strategic Partnerships Scheme: one dedicated to digital education and another to engage organisations in the fields of formal and informal education with those operating in the creative and cultural sectors in order to stimulate European awareness and empower people to be successful innovators. The Erasmus+ for Creativity is indeed an unprecedented formal recognition for the sector, but more importantly is a concrete instrument to equip young people and adults with the necessary creative tools to come up with innovative solutions for contemporary challenges in order to face unprecedented societal and ecological risks as well as to unveil opportunities that can be sought in a critical context.
For example, the loss of jobs was undoubtedly one of the most problematic issue emerged during the lockdown and it will be indeed one of the most crucial topic government will have to face in the next few years. The project Master the Act, funded under the Erasmus+ programme, aims to use creativity to support employability. Through the training of a new profile – the creative mentor for employability – the project aims to transfer the theatre performing skills to help those unemployed and those who lost their job to find a new one! Exclusion is another urging issue that must be faced and again there are plenty of examples which proves that creativity can help to overcome it, not only in terms of cultural participations but also in shaping a better environment. The project Bigtime Takeover | Creative Empowerment For Europe’s Disadvantaged Youth, funded under the Erasmus, aims at empowering young people to use their creativity and technology in positive ways, giving voice to issues that affect their lives creatively and try to make a positive change and to benefit the wider community.