by Anna Ochmann

The assumption that “the creative sector is the basis of today’s economy” is becoming more and more popular. The growing role of creative thinking, specific social competences (including the network of personal and professional connections), and technological competences (also IT) make it worth thinking about systems of support dedicated especially to young people who want to develop professionally in the CCI sector. It is even more important as the challenges connected with globalisation (but also the possibilities of work internationalisation), copyright, or intellectual property rights pose completely new challenge for young people.

The dynamic development of Polish creative sector is confirmed by e.g. UNCTAD („Creative economy report”). In the same time Polish creative sector (just like anywhere in the world) is a branch for individuals and freelancers, often self-employed, or in two-party companies (98% of Polish companies in the creative sector are micro-enterprises)…

According to Polish classification of professions artistic professions constitute the smallest group of professions, which can be chosen at a level of high school. There are only 13 professions divided into three thematic groups: professions connected with sound (e.g. piano tuner, musician, sound engineer), professions connected with artistic activities (e.g. visual artist, dancer, jeweller-goldsmith), and professions connected with cultural activities (e.g. librarian, cultural activities organizer, associate producer). In some cases the education in those professions can only happen on the basis of music school or ballet school, and sometime, like in the case of professions connected with culture, only at the tertiary level.

In Poland there exists a system of vocational counselling, for which two ministries are currently responsible: Ministry of Education (counselling for children and teenagers) and Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy (counselling for adults, mainly through public employment services). And although the system and scope of the counselling is quite well described and defined, the practical side is, sadly, far from the laudable assumptions. In recent years, mostly thanks to projects co-funded from ESF, there has been more and more emphasis on the development of specialist counselling, which enables creating dedicated and more effective support programmes. Unfortunately the system is still lacking more universal tool that would enable support for people from the creative sector – this role, indirectly and not too often, is played by EU founded projects, non-governmental organizations or art schools themselves, as well as commercial counsellors. However, due to the marginal knowledge of the specificity of the creative sector, and the lack of wide interconnections within the sector these actions are not able to answer the real problems of young artists.

Products and services typical of the cultural and creative sectors are perceived as carriers of specific symbolic and intellectual values, and therefore require slightly different methods of reaching a potential purchaser. The cooperation with the client should be different in comparison to the treatment of customers from other sectors. Besides, due to the specificity of CCI, and the diversity of its entities and artistic or creative activities, it is difficult to define universal methods or strategies to support artists and creators in gaining and developing their skills or traits determining the achievement of professional and financial success. Typical methods such as seminars or training do not really work for this group. Instead, as all available reports and researches indicate, the most effective transfer of knowledge and skills takes place in informal situations — especially during mentoring (also short-term job shadowing) and meetings in the co-working space. In this respect, some forms of cooperation are also efficient, for instance workshops carried out in response to a specific need or networking combined with the exchange of knowledge (it is also possible within creative clusters, but on condition that they are not run by public institutions). The only exception are issues related to legal or accounting aspects. Interestingly enough, it does not apply to marketing. Artists and creators seem to prefer the possibility to have access to quick consultation in order to solve a ‘burning’ problem to attending post-graduate studies or workshops lasting several weeks. These methods are in line with the so-called ‘collaboration model’ which is characteristic of them.