2020 was a year that saw an influx of digital content consumption and the thriving of the internet era. However, despite the increase in digital content consumption, the creative economy was not spared by the COVID-19 pandemic as it was negatively impacted. With an aim of reviving the Creative Economy, the 74th United Nations General Assembly declared 2021 as the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development.
On 21st April 2021, UN-Habitat held a virtual concert at Mathare slums in recognition of the World Creativity and Innovation Day. Under the Sisterhood neighbors and Regent Park programmes, the virtual concert brought together young artists from Mathare community who showcased their talent and creativity in music, art and fashion. The music and art resonated the challenges and changes that the local youth would like to see in their community such as ending police brutality which has greatly increased in Mathare since the insertion of curfew and movement restrictions measures due to the pandemic. The virtual concert attracted over 500 viewers in both UN-Habitat youth’s Face Book and YouTube accounts.
Following up the successful Sister cities concert held in Mathare and Regent Park commemorating the World Creativity and Innovative Day, a follow up workshop was held with 15 young artists on how to engage in the creative economy. On 14th June 2021, Lisa Russell, an Emmy Award winning film maker facilitated a workshop on creative economy at the Mathare One Stop Youth Centre in Mathare informal settlement, Nairobi, Kenya. In partnership with UN-Habitat and Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group (MECYG), 15 young artists from Mathare community were taken through on how the creative economy is growing, how conscious artists can tie their work to the SDGs and, how to promote their work to an international audience and find revenue streams. In addition, the youth were also taken through some basic digital storytelling skills to improve the quality of their phone photos and videos.
“The power of the growing creative economy to improve livelihoods, promote sustainability and help find solutions to our world’s greatest challenges is undeniable. For young people around the world, arts are more than an outlet to express their concerns, dreams and act as a voice against systems of oppression. It’s an industry that can create economic growth. Dying this year’s UN declared International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, let’s create an inclusive and sustainable environment for artists and creatives that includes artist representation at the leadership levels of the UN, a commitment to industry standards, and respect for intellectual property rights. Let’s “create” a better world together!” Lisa Russell, Emmy winning filmmaker, curator and Founder of Create2030.
“Today’s workshop on creative economy has been enlightening and very informative. As a young artist, I now have the skills and knowledge on how to edit my videos and attract not only local but international audience. A big thank you to Lisa and UN-Habitat for organizing this workshop and we look forward to having more workshops such as this”, Gerrison Lumumba, Young Upcoming Artist, Mathare Empire.