The cultural and creative industries have started drawing the attention of a wide array of stakeholders from the 90s onwards: CCIs are now a growing sector with the ability to foster employment rates and find innovative solutions to the challenges characterizing today’s society
Using the term industries highlights two relevant features: the economic value of this sector and its resourcefulness. In fact, this field has demonstrated great resilience and flexibility, allowing it to remain competitive even during the 2008 crisis.
A first institutional recognition was granted to this sector in 2010, with the publication of the Green Paper – Unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries.
The report is a statement: the European Commissions commits to supporting this domain which can be an instrument to foster territorial development and strengthen the European identity.
This has led to growing investments in culture and creativity both by the public and private sectors, both at a national and international level.
The Emilia-Romagna region represents a tangible example of how CCIs can conquer relevant roles within economic systems, also thanks to policies enabling synergies with other productive activities and research.
Local units and professionals
Defining and quantifying Cultural and Creative Industries has always been a complex task for policy-makers and researchers. Being CCIs a strategic sector for our societies, there have been a wide variety of papers, publications and studies on this matter, carried out by the most renowned international organizations (UNESCO, UNCTAD, European Commission, OECD)
However, the literature available still presents numerous approaches that could be adopted to define the phenomenon. Indeed, there is not just one single criterion that could be used for CCIs: traditional classifications do not always work due to the very own peculiar characteristics of this sector. After all, creativity is an input that can be found in many human activities.
The following mapping of the sector was built using the main European analytical model: the ESS (European Statistical System) net-culture framework (2011-12).
It takes into consideration different groups: at the heart of it there are cultural activities (performing arts and shows, leisure activities, preservation and promotion of cultural heritage), followed by the media industry (film industry, publishing, radio broadcasting, music). The framework also considers creative services (design, photography, architecture, ICT), artisan businesses and the distribution of cultural products. The overall perimeter of CCIs in Emilia-Romagna consists of 36.000 local units and 88.500 professionals, corresponding to 7,2% and 5,3% of the regional productive system.
In 2019, cultural activities employed 15.600 people in 3.800 local units. These figures are similar to those of the media industry, whose professionals were 16.000 for a total amount of 4.000 local units. The highest numbers were registered by creative services, with 22.400 local units and 48.500 people employed. The lowest were observed within the artisan business and distribution of cultural goods: in 2019 they counted, respectively, 3.100 and 2.500 local units and 5.600 and 3800 professionals.
The numbers registered in 2021 are considerably different compared to the previous years. Covid-19 led to a decrease in the number of people employed, amounting to 2.000 professionals, which is in line with the reduction that the whole productive system experienced (-2,7%). These changes vary among CCIs subsectors: cultural activities and media have been hardly hit, while ICT and software houses have grown (+5,6% of people employed).
These figures need to be looked at by also taking into account the measures adopted by the national government to face the crisis: namely, a ban to terminate contracts for economic reasons and the adoption of social security cushions.
Added value and turnover
The economic values of cultural and creative activities are proof of the substantial contribution of this sector to the overall economy of the Emilia-Romagna region. In 2019, CCIs generated a turnover of € 11,9 billion, while the added value amounted to € 5,6 billion, corresponding to 4% of the overall economy in both cases. The most relevant share came from ICT, architecture and engineering.
Nevertheless, interesting figures were registered in other value chains: the turnover and added value of cultural and artistic activities amounted, respectively, to 13,8% and 10,9% of regional CCIs.
Also in this case, Covid19 left a mark. A general contraction was observed both in turnover and added value: -7/8% in 2020 compared to the previous year. Again, this data vary from one subsector to the other. Indeed, the ICT field has experienced an increase corresponding to +2,5% for both variables while there is a stark reduction for cultural and artistic activities (-27,7%). The last data is strictly connected to the emergency measures put in place at a national level.
Professionals in the performing arts field
As revealed by the aforementioned analysis, the pandemic took a toll, in particular, on the performing arts sector: venues and theatres were forced to close down, leading to negative impacts on employment. In 2020, the professionals operating in this field in Emilia-Romagna amounted to 8.741 while in 2019 there were 11.829 employees. Those that were hardly hit were namely artists, followed by technicians and the administrative staff.