Creating Sustainable Jobs In Arts And Craft Sector | IAD

Press Statement on International Artist’s Day (IAD) on Tuesday 25th October 2022 at the University Of Education, Winneba

Creating Sustainable Jobs In Arts And Craft Sector

Greetings to you all. Today, October 25 2022 marks an important day in the lives of all peoples of the world who use the arts in one way or the other. It is, International Artist’s Day, a day set aside to celebrate the contributions of artists to the peoples of the world.

The Centre for Research in Culture and Creative Arts (CeRCCA), School of Creative Arts, University of Education, Winneba congratulate, salute and celebrate all Ghanaian visual and performing artists, including those in the craft field both academic and non-academic for their enormous contributions to the creative basket of the artworld. We appreciate your hard work! Even with limited resources, you turn junks into artistic objects of praise; create functional and decorative needs; compose exciting and lifechanging music, dance, plays, films to inform, educate and entertain people. On this special occasion of International Artist’s Day (IAD), we celebrate your musical compositions, theatrical performances and plays, eyepopping artworks that spice the lives of people irrespective of class, race and identity. Per your creative artistic works and designs, you put Ghana on the map for attention. We celebrate you for your artworks that promote national collective memory, identity and development. We celebrate artists whose ingenuity gave birth to artworks of national significance such as Theodosia Okoh who designed the national flag, Kofi Antubam, the artist behind the national state sword, presidential seat, mural at Children’s Library in Accra, and El Anatsui, the prolific contemporary artist, just to mention but a few. We are grateful to the creators of Ghana’s kente fabrics, adinkra symbols and composers of patriotic songs, Dr. Ephraim Amu, Professor Emeritus J.H. Kwabena Nketia, N.Z. Nayo, amongst others, who used the indigenous knowledge systems. We say Ayekoo to all Ghanaian art creators and designers both past and present, dead and alive.

On this special day, it is important that the nation takes a critical look at policy issues regarding education, training and career development and welfare of all category of artists in the creative arts sector, especially, in the training of artists and craftpersons in the non- formal sector. As a nation, it is time for us to show keen interest in developing a national policy for creative artists and craftpersons whose implementation will create sustainable jobs. This has become necessary because the sector has received little attention to create sustainable jobs to help solve the unemployment situation in the country. The youth with interest in the field struggle in developing their careers as musicians, actors, designers, hairstylists, cosmetologists, painters, furniture artists, ceramists, sculptors, fashion designers, just to mention a few. In the process of struggling to pursue a career in the Creative Arts and craft field, many of the youth fall off due to lack of financial support. For over decades, the little governmental attention for Creative arts career development, has been given to the few who train in the formal school settings leaving the huge numbers who are trained in non-formal sector. However, learners in government-assisted Colleges of Education (CoE), Nursing and Midwifery training institutions amongst other are paid allowances from the taxpayers’ money for a period of three to four years. This preferential financial support to those who attend formal school education should be extended to Vocational-based training institutions, both

public and private. On the average, rigorous training period for learners in many Vocational- based training in the private sector span from 3 to 12 months. Financial support to cover the period of training, and start-up capital after the training must be prioritized in creating jobs for the people. Many of the youths across Ghana have financial predicament in starting their business after their successful self-employable vocational training. This cut short their ability to monetize acquired skills and careers. This challenge needs intervention from government, non-governmental organizations, agencies and philanthropists.

Supporting the youth who have opted for self-employable vocational training in private institutions through subsidizing cost of training, supporting them with start-up capitals and or providing them with the needed start-up tools and equipment is one of the practical ways through which unemployment and crime rate could be reduced. There is the need for (a)a national database on the youth with interest in vocational-based careers, but need financial support; (b) a register of arts-based private vocational institutions and training centres across Ghana. The private sector constitutes over 85% of arts-based vocational training in Ghana. Learners who show interest may have to select training centres in their respective communities to minimize accommodation fee, transportation challenges, and other cost of training where necessary. Economic backgrounds could be one of the criteria to determine who to support. This has the tendency of increasing employability and livelihood through skills training.

There is a need for empirical studies to quantify the contribution of the Creative arts and craft sector to the economy and employment in the country. This would help in ascertaining the labour market for creative arts and craft professionals, and the nature of the employment and livelihood the sector provides for the people of Ghana. Studies of this nature would help in categorizing permanent jobs, full-time jobs, short-term contracts, part-time jobs, self-employment and other employment in both formal and non-formal sectors in Creative arts and craft. Prioritizing research on Creative Arts and craft sector would help government to make economic and employment decisions since the number of creative arts and craft professionals remains unknown, while empirical data on their employment conditions are non- existent.

As a nation, we need to pay critical attention to the social security and often unstable employment situation of Creative arts and craft professionals and create a rigorous national Creative Arts and Craft policy that will provide social protection for artists and craftpersons. Many of these professionals serve the nation and end-up in poor economic conditions in their retirement from active service.

Ghana has young and active creative population with low economic background who have not been formally educated. This category of the population is left out even in the little governmental support in career training. Education in the 21st century is not limited to ability to read and write, but developing one’s creative ability to produce and monetize his/her creations. As a nation, we need to take practical steps to promote Creative arts and craft entrepreneurship among the youth by creating favourable conditions.

As we underscore the urgent need for a national Creative Arts and Craft policy that will provide social protection for creative artists and craftpersons, prioritize financial support for arts-based career training for the youth and active creative population with low economic backgrounds, we reiterate our resolve to partner with governmental institutions and agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations, civil society organisations in the development of the sector.

Long Live Ghana
Long Live the Creative Arts and Craft sector!

PROF. OSUANYI QUAICOO ESSEL
(Acting Director, CeRCCA)