Connecti:City, an international conference on creative economy organised by KREASI Jawa Barat (West Java Creative Economy and Innovation Committee) and hosted by West Java Province, was first held in 2019. This conference was created to provide a platform for discussions, exchanges and showcases about creative hubs, creative cities and creative economy, not only for cities and regencies in West Java, but also throughout Indonesia and the world.
Connecti:City took a pause in 2020 due to the pandemic, and resumed in 2021 in a hybrid form: online and onsite at the newly-built Cirebon Creative Hub. As intended, the conference contained updates and news from creative hubs, especially from the new creative centres that are being built in West Java cities/regencies.
The momentum of Indonesia G20 Presidency in 2022 with the theme “Recover Together, Recover Stronger” provides an opportunity for Connecti:City to amplify its messages about post-pandemic resilience of cities that implement the creative economy sector in its development strategies, next to the aspects of inclusivity and sustainability. To cut the story short, our plans for Connecti:City 2022 escalated so fast when West Java was appointed to co-chair U20. The main Connecti:City event, scheduled for 14-15 March 2022, has suddenly become a side event for U20 that focuses on creative economy and creative city. All things considered, we held a Connecti:City Preparatory Meeting/Workshop prior to the conference, on 22 February 2022, online and onsite at the newly-launched Purwakarta Creative Center. And here’s a bit of a note from that event.
- This Connecti:City pre-event aims mainly to gather aspirations and insights from local governments and stakeholders about the development of creative economy in their respective regions, also examples or best practices of how creative economy has contributed to the local economy recovery, and elements that are required to enhance the impacts (policies, programs, etc.).
- West Java Province inaugurated the West Java Creative Economy & Innovation Committee (KREASI) in 2019, whose main task is to assist the West Java Government in creative economy development. There are seven priority programs for creative economy in West Java: (1) increasing access to digital literacy, (2) developing a creative industry platform, (3) developing database and research on creative economy, (4) increasing access to sales, (5) activating creative centres, (6) increasing access to payment methods, (7) activating creative economy institutions.
- Since its establishment, KREASI has conducted several programs, among others are: (1) UDUNAN that aims to facilitate creative entrepreneurs with access to financing, both banking and non-banking resources, (2) Teras Indonesia, a space provided by IKEA in Kota Baru Parahyangan for local products/brands, collaborating with West Java Craft Council, (3) Borongdong, a closed-loop (exclusive for West Java government employees) digital e-commerce platform for creative industries with supports in marketing, logistics and distribution, (4) Capacity Building programs through online classes, and so on.
- West Java Province proposes a number of recommendations at the international, national, and regional levels. At the international level, the government wishes to establish Connecti:City as a continuous collaboration platform between West Java and the international creative economy communities; to strengthen cooperation among global south countries in accordance with the spirit of Asia Africa Conference; and to push forward the creative economy sector to answer to the SDG challenges in the post-pandemic era.
- At the national level, West Java Government proposes to expand cooperation among provinces; to encourage benchmarking and exchange best practices/experiences of creative economy; to promote creative economy as a driving force for post-pandemic recovery.
- At the regional level, the provincial government urges all cities/regencies in West Java region to enact regulations on creative economy; to create a multi sector action plan that creates a synergy for creative economy development; to establish a city/regency-level creative economy institution/committee.
- The Indonesia Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy brought up the issues around the digital creative economy ecosystem and development program.
- Grisana Punpeng, Ph.D., from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, did a research on several UNESCO Creative Cities in order to learn about the framework of a “cultural/creative city” as a reference for Buriram development as a liveable – rather than a tourist – city. Three points of recommendations that came out of this research are: (1) integrating creative economy and cultural-/creative industries policies to the development plan; (2) providing space to create, collaborate and grow; (3) creating a creative coalition (local government, private sectors, city inhabitants, educational institutions, CSOs).
- My material mainly covers the usual points: how community initiatives can lead to formulations of frameworks and models of impactful programs that can be implemented and improved for relevance. A solid network of communities would be able to achieve further: act as a pressure group to influence the passing of a bill on creative economy. The examples presented were from Bandung Creative City Forum (BCCF), then Indonesia Creative Cities Network (ICCN) whose city/regency members have been active for a similar fight in their respective areas.
Speakers also came from East Java and East Nusa Tenggara, two provinces that are collaborating with West Java within the Creative Economy sector. The workshop, that was held simultaneously online and on site, joined by an ample amount of participants composed of governments and other stakeholders from different cities/regencies, went quite lively. The three main questions that attempted to dig out the participants’ aspirations and ideas have, in a playful manner, shaped a number of recommendations that can be wrapped and submitted to the main event, Connecti:City, as a supplement for the Bandung Communique.
This Preparatory Meeting/Workshop concluded with a keynote from Tom Fleming, whose TFCC recently completed a research on Cultural Cities Profile in Asia, among which were 14 Indonesian cities. Tom shared the learning points from the research, encouraging us to embrace our heritage, diversity, hubs, and connections. Closing the talk, he prompted us with questions/statements such as, “Can creativity build a better post-covid city?”, and, “Re-imagining the city is a team sport”. Appropriately intriguing, to pursue the next events!