Creative Economy in the World and in Estonia: Dilemmas and Possibilities *
Creative industries and their development have interested the policy shapers for more than twenty years. In spite of the fast international spreading of the concept of creative economy and creative economy policies, it cannot be said that the discussions, especially among the theoreticians, about the definition and contents of creative economy have grown lesser.
Debates are still going on about the outer and inner boundaries of creative economy. Or on the one side, about which spheres of activity can be regarded as creative industries, and on the other side, about how to draw a line (at the level of policy shaping) between the creation of culture and creative activities, and promoting the economic realisation of creative economy as the result of the creation of culture.
Although there are many different points of view and the discussions are still going on, there has been a shift in creative economy from narrow policy that focuses on individual issues towards more and more wider and diverse policy. States and cities have faced several obstacles in developing creative economy. The main reason for these obstacles is that the existing political levers and governing structures are not suitable for supporting the creative economy sector. It is being said more and more often that changes in policy shaping and governance as a whole are necessary for the development of creative economy. The article discusses the development stages of the formation of creative economy policies and the requirements to the choices in developing creative economy.
The history of the development of creative economy in Estonia is about ten years long. It started from the initiative of the British Council to introduce their approach to and policy of creative economy in Estonia, and this gives a reason to treat the developing of creative economy as an example of policy transfer, and a policy reform that is implemented from top to bottom. Today the developing of creative economy is included in the documents guiding the developments in entrepreneurship, innovation and culture, it is supported from the resources of the European Union Structural Funds, and specific measures have been elaborated for developing of creative economy. In Estonia, the developments at national and local level have followed different tracks; there are also significant differences at the level of different cities. The article sets out the important milestones in the development of creative economy policy, and discusses the peculiarities of developing of creative economy in cities and the reasons for them in making creative economy policy choices.
To sum up the article, the authors make conclusions about the perspective of developing of creative economy. The diversity of treatments of creative economy, and the great number of variables and actors influencing creative economy do not allow giving a simple answer. The authors highlight five issues that have an impact on the formation of the perspectives and which should be used as a basis for making the choices in developing Estonia’s creative economy policy.
* Peer reviewed research paper.