Does the Creative Industry Stay Creative?

Dr. Levan Khetaguri, Dr. Iuri Mgebrishvili

Does the Creative Industry Stay Creative?

Specially for the DC “Democracy through Culture”

Dr. Levan Khetaguri is a Director and Professor of Art Research Institute (Tbilisi), President of Stichting Caucasus Foundation, General Secretary of International Puppetry Association in Georgia, organizer and curator of numerous international programs, festivals, workshops, conferences and trainings, expert on cultural policy, cultural planning, management; author of above 80 publications. As for Dr. Iuri Mgebrishvili, see article “What should be the leader today” in this section:

Creative is linked with creativity, in other words with creating art. Industrialization is partially linked with the masses which directly opposes the main ambition of the arts – its elite character.

The new fashionable definition of the creative industries reminds the ideas of the Soviet ideology. In particular. “Art for every citizen”, literature as soul engineering, mass production of the arts and etc. The arts and its mass character, its industrialization at times of high creative identity seems to be almost incompatible.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s reproduction of the “Mona Lisa” printed on A2 format was extremely popular during the Soviet times. It used to be on sale at every store and every “proletarian” and Soviet civilian or in other words the soviet “Comrade” would decorate his/her flat, office or classroom with it (whether this was for the purpose of esthetic pleasure or just to cover up the torn down wallpaper I do not know for there was a shortage of a wallpaper in those times). In my childhood, I also had Picasso’s “Girl on the ball” hanging on my bedroom wall. I was particularly fond of Picasso – it was a creative industry of its kind too; Maintaining a function of esthetic quality and educational function by reproducing Leonardo and Picasso and the value of a smaller unit versus a massive state income generated by the sales of the discolored pages of “Aurora”. This was probably one of the clearer examples of understanding the Soviet creative industry. But presently the most vivid trait under this characteristic seems to be – the same for everyone! Is it possible for an industry to maintain artwork’s single, individual peculiarity?

According to Claude Levi-Strauss there are “cold” and “hot” cultures. In “cold” cultures changes are made slow by maintaining the existing order with rituals and traditions being observed strictly and unilaterally. The “hot” cultures are striving towards novelty and development. Art serves as the base of “hot” cultures. On the other hand, art has presently become not only a cultural but an economic factor. An ability to constantly create something new, in other words creative ability, creativeness remains a single competitive advantage under given conditions.

As a constant continuous process, arts secured the inflow of the capital, preoccupation of the masses and new sources of income. The so-called art or creative industries started to emerge.

Thus, when talking about creative industries we have to keep in mind, that it is solely built on individual artistry and talent whereas at the same time it creates a surplus-value and jobs at the expense of exploitation of intellectual property. Culture is becoming an inherent part of any economy. Cultural resources are absolutely essential for development of cities and countries.

Do art and culture lose their creative direction during this process? Creativity is a mental and social process, which consists of constant generation of new ideas and concepts or establishment of new links between the existing ideas and concepts. In other words, it is a specific form of art. Creative industries are linked to innovations. This offers an opportunity to be competitive in economic terms.

It is well understood that contemporary managerial thinking requires an element of profit to be present in the field of art – the process of industrialization at the expense of mass duplication. But how are we to distinguish between duplicated and unduplicated art? How are we to defend the authenticity of a specific art work?

In the age of globalization what can duplication or authenticity on a planetary scale offer to a consumer, art lover?

Art industrialization should defend authentic character of the arts or in this case its quality and not its “elite” character by limiting the consumer.

The main resource of the creative industry is human resources with its intellectual abilities, talent and creative potential. Thus, a concept of a creative individual – a mobile and creative personality is born with a creative ability to generate novelty. As a consequence, creative professions are born: designer, manager, image maker etc. Their representatives have learnt to generate novelty more often and more efficiently than others. Creativity lends imaginativeness to artistic characteristics. It provides an opportunity to rely more on intuition than on calculation. Idea of creativity in economic terms gives an opportunity to erase boundaries between the involuntary and freedom, labor and self-realization, means and the ends. Creativeness is being established in business, in enterprise, because creative attitude predetermines competitiveness in virtually any field.

The subject of discussion will always be: Art for whom? For what purpose? Why? Of course, art should be for every citizen, for every tax payer, tax money of which helps maintain the arts (in those countries where subsidizing is still effective), for further advancement of the society; its improvement, because for art oriented society it is better to spend its budget on culture, than on penitentiary system, because civil intellectualism directly opposes crime, inhumanity, intolerability etc.

Is the mass character of the art able to maintain uniqueness of the art form, its quality? It is a fact that high quality art woks constantly try to expand the number of spectator-consumers.

It becomes clear, that art will eventually become basis for economics. Even today, when creative industries are being actively established on the market it is essential to make changes in managerial style. The basis for these kinds of changes should be a new organizational culture where boundaries between work and rest will be eventually erased. Working styles generate inspiration and creative ideas whereas there is no system of successive fulfillment of tasks.

Globalization sometimes results in uniformity of souvenirs, exhibitions spaces, museums and alike in creative industries; especially then, when artistic leaders perceive the notion of creativity and originality in a different way. Industry stays or disappears creatively through culture, which implies culture as a sole means of manipulation in the era of globalization.

And here an important question for me arises – who should be an artistic leader?

Present market is changeable enough with yet to be determined tendencies. Consumer expectations are constantly on the rise. The sole means to stay on top is to be flexible in planning and be able to make decisions on the way. A flexible attitude is a must which is practically impossible without creative process. The reason behind it is the fact, that a creative process is characterized by dynamic nature, quick decision making, which offers maximum mobility and ability to stay ahead of time. Thus, flexible management is based on creativity and therefore managers should be creative as well.

Manager should also be an innovator. Innovation in other words creation of something new which did not exist before is also a form of art. As a result, new values are born. In contemporary world, a lot of things are evaluated in terms of their innovativeness. Value of many products and services are more and more determined on basis of their symbolic value (for instance on basis of quality or cultural aspects) and not on basis of their physical cost.

And the following questions:

Who should be in charge of cultural-creative industries, manager or entrepreneur?

At what extent is an executive manager able to be creative?

Is a top administrative program educated manager able to divert from canonical clichés?

Who profit more in culture, the ones who break the boundaries or the ones who strictly observe them?

What is more appealing innovation or a constant repetition?

All of the above seem like dilemmas to me.

These and many more issues makes us reflect upon the fact that presently governments have become one of the worst victims of creative industries and globalization; Governments who competed with each other through their creative industries and in reality assisted with establishment of clichés-standards and often with indecencies even.

One of the main problems for development of creative industries is lack of professional staff and lack of special educational systems. There is a need of specialists of a wider profile in the field of arts management and creative industries when culture becomes a product. New cultural forms in the media society, for instance fashion, TV, design, media arts, visual and performing arts become increasingly commercial and assist with emergence of creative professionals and creative managers in cultural sphere. Creative management and a creative manager become increasingly important. A manager should possess a strong personality and be an entrepreneur.

Creativity calls for information and communicativeness. A creative personality should always be in the state of readiness to be able to react quickly and generate an appropriate and successful solution. This requires a special kind of thinking – situational thinking and not thinking in terms of different categories. These results in change of principles that labor unions and manufacturing relations are founded on. Creative activity needs a team of professionals of various profiles. In other words, a group of professionals is being created. This assists with overcoming isolationism. Here, each and other one is irreplaceable and success depends upon work of separate individuals. Creative abilities become important means of production.

Thus, the managerial tasks become creative, artistic tasks and as a result more engaging. Many new markets, branches, even countries, multimedia, internet and others are based on creativity.

One young civil servant was boasting with development of creative industries by saying it was pragmatic. Pragmatism will ruin “creativity” within creative industries and transform them into mere industries, where there will be no room for arts and culture.

What is the role of an artist, of an independent creator in creative industries? According to artistic tradition, there was an independent author, a creative genius. There is an opinion that with emergence of creative industries an independent creator is gradually disappearing. This is not the case. If in the past an artist used to have a direct access to the market, now he/she has intermediaries: artistic salons, galleries, museums and art dealers. Artist should be in dialogue with society, community. This might serve as an additional issue for cultural dialogue not among cultures, but within the cultural society. An artist becomes a direct interactive participant of a dialogue between his/her work and the community. Art has already expanded to the streets, to the former factories (post-industrial heritage), new spaces (site specific), to nature (protecting the environment). Art is interdisciplinary. It gradually becomes more and more civil in terms of content and expression. This intermediacy has become more and more productive over time. It helps produce not only art work but bring profit (in direct material as well as in indirect sense – as means of changing society). Commercial success of an artistic product – this is the appraisal of the artist’s self-realization.

We come to believe more and more that entrepreneurs, people with original thinking should be in charge of not only creative industries but of culture in general.

How should we develop the sense of entrepreneurship among the young, means of breaking boundaries and overcoming obstacles…

These issues make it necessary for us to reflect on educational system, on the ways as how to prepare arts and culture managers so that they become entrepreneurs during their studies, stir artistic skills in them. What is the place we attribute to teaching history of arts and culture in the study process so that it becomes possible to root esthetic categories deep in future managers?


  1. Giep Hagoort, Art Management. Entrepreneurial Style
  2. Charbonnier G. Entretiens avec Claude Levi-Strauss. -Paris: Plon et Julliard,1961
  3. Creative Industries, Colorful Fabric in multiple dimensions, Giep Hagoort, Rene Kooyman (ED), Utrecht School of Arts, Yearbook 2009
  4. Iuri Mgebrishvili, Museum Today and Tomorrow //XXI century Georgian Culture in the world context, ILIAUNI press 2012
  5. Levan Khetaguri, Context of Georgian Theater // XXI century Georgian Culture in the world context, ILIAUNI press 2012