Now is time for university for creative arts


HOW long should the Zambian creative learners wait for the country to establish a public university for the creative industry?
Why should the Zambian student be denied access to the kind of excellent art education that can develop their intelligence and produce the abilities that they will need in this visual age?
Apart from the Zambian Open University and a few private institutions which have taken initiative to start offering some degree art courses, there is nothing to write home about art education at this level.
The PF government has scored a first in establishing several new public universities, but none of these new public universities are being associated with anything to do with arts education, why?
On behalf of the Zambian creative minds, I’m making an earnest appeal to the policy-makers to seriously begin to think, plan and discuss the introduction of this arts university.
The Bachelor of Creative Industries is a breakthrough degree, which should be designed for those looking to make real cultural, political and social impact through innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to creative production.
These courses will provide a fantastic opportunity to update and develop knowledge and skills in music business, event management, live music promotion, film-making, TV, animation, computer games, screenwriting, the business of visual arts, advertising, digital media, marketing, copy writing, graphics, photography, fashion design, art gallery, curators, fine arts and many other areas.
Creative industries are those based on individual creativity, skill and talent, or which have the potential to create wealth and jobs through the development or production of intellectual property.
The cultural and creative industries refer to those parts of the modern economy where culture is produced and distributed through industrial means, applying the creativity of individuals and groups to the generation of original cultural products, which may have commercial value.
World over the creative industry has become an interesting strategic sector to boost competitiveness, productivity, employment and sustainable economic growth, especially for a developing nation like ours.
A creative economy is based on people’s use of their creative imagination to increase an idea’s value.
Some researchers say that creativity is the defining characteristic of developed 21st century economies, just as manufacturing typified 19th and early 20th centuries.
In 2016, in one European country, there were more than 3 million jobs created in the creative industries. The creative economy accounts for one in 11 jobs across the UK for instance, and employs 700,000 more people than the financial services.
The value of the creative industries in the UK was up from £94.8 billion in 2016 to £101.5 billion, and has grown at nearly twice the rate of the economy since 2010, according to figures published last year by the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS).
Art is a language that allows us to express and develop our ideas and emotions; artistic activities are full of processes that help us to grow and stimulate our creativity while nurturing the soul.
Arts teach creativity and innovation. They teach multiple answers to problems. Arts the essential skills that are necessary for students to be successful in this new visual age. So why are we wasting time in establishing the most important component of university education in our land?
Art in some form or another has existed as long as man. It is a part of our daily lives and is present in cultures across the world. Most people have an appreciation for art.
Arts education is one of the five essential areas in the overall aim of education set out by UNESCO: “To enable every person to attain all-round development in the domains of ethics, intellect, physique, social skills and aesthetics according to his/her own attributes so that he/she is capable of full life.”
So, with all this rich expectation, why should Zambia lag behind? Once more the Zambian artists are demanding for a public arts university education, that’s not asking for too much.
The author is art and design lecturer at Mufulira College of Education.

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