Panellists at a roundtable on “the role of artistes in the process of transformation” have called on the Government to streamline policies and ensure that culture and creative arts become more functional and relevant.
“We need to take a second look at our cultural policies and consider ways and how it will directly affect the local arts and artistes”, they stressed.
According to them, culture and creative arts had a functional role in the Ghanaian society and therefore should not be reduced to just entertainment.
The panellists included Jason Otoo, Dance Practitioner and a Chronographer, Elikplim Ayikoe, Musician, Dorothea Lubbe, a German Theatre Director, Christoph Mataener, a German Musician and Akosua Abdallah, a Ghanaian theatre Practitioner.
They believed that the Culture and Performing Arts Industry, would be better if it was separated from the Tourism Ministry.
The roundtable formed part of activities of the 5th biannual Sustainable Development Goals (SGD) Graduate School ‘Performing Sustainability’, Culture and Development in West Africa 14-day Workshop, underway at the University of Cape Coast (UCC).
The SDG Graduate School is a collaborative German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)-funded project being carried out jointly by the Universities of Hildesheim (Germany), Maiduguri (Nigeria) and Cape Coast (Ghana) with focus on the overlapping areas of culture, performance and sustainable development.
The panellist further called for support for artistes in the country and said they must be given greater platform to come into the society to reflect their own positions for them to become positive agents of change through their works.
Professor Wolfgang Schneider, the UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy for the Arts in Development at University of Hildesheim, Germany called for more capacity building and developing of cultural infrastructure in the country.
He said Ghana has ratified the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) conventions on Cultural Diversity and it was imperative to put in place adequate structures, which would make it possible for the work of arts to be well known in schools and in communities.
Government, therefore, must build more theatres to create performance spaces for local up- and- coming artistes to perform to build their confidence and capacities, adding that, this could be achieved if policies were formulated to take care of the country’s cultural framework.
Elikplim Ayikoe, a Ghanaian Musician called on the Government to involve artistes in the formulation of policies that affected them because they better understand the arts.
Akosua Abdallah, a Ghanaian Theatre practitioner, underscored the role of the creative art industry in awareness creation and education particularly on issues of national importance and peaceful co-existence and development.
However, she bemoaned the little attention paid to the sector over the years stressing that ‘arts is life’.
Mr Eyram Fiagbedzi, the Local Coordinator of the SDG Graduate School explained that the interdisciplinary Graduate School was a collaborative training network for graduate students of the three universities.
He said scholarship beneficiaries were tasked to undertake researches to facilitate arts and culture as a vehicle to achieve some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Some research areas included cultural policy and performing art, Livelihood strategies for teenage mothers and the link between creative economy and academia.