UNESCO and Beaconhouse National University Partnership on Pakistan’s Creative Future

Beaconhouse National University (BNU) is set to commence its first-ever five-day Start-up and Accelerator creative business training programmes from October 27, 2019. The programmes are being offered under Pakistan’s Creative Future project in partnership with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with support from the Korea Funds-In-Trust (K-Fit). The programmes will be held at BNU’s Tarogil Campus, Raiwind Road, Lahore.

Within the framework of the “Strengthening regional and national capacities to develop cultural and creative industries in Asia and Pacific” project, UNESCO is seeking to empower creative entrepreneurs in Pakistan and to raise awareness of the importance of the cultural and creative industries for sustainable development. The motivation behind the programmes is to inspire and cultivate the entrepreneurial potential in the Cultural and Creative Industries including Cinema/Audiovisual arts, Design, Media art, Music, Performing arts, Publishing, Visual arts, Cultural management, and Digital cultural, and creative sectors.

The open call to apply for the programmes was made through an online application form floated over social media in the last week of August 2019. The deadline date was set for September 30, 2019. The call received a very encouraging response and was accessed about 2,000 times which resulted in 240 applications for 12 slots on the programmes. Of these, 135 made to the long list of applications from across all provinces of Pakistan and the Federal Capital, Islamabad. By gender, 34.1% of applicants were female versus 65.2% male and 0.7% transgender applicants.

The received applications for the programme not only featured applicants from the more urbanized cities but from far-flung districts including Kech, Nushki and Sherani in Balochistan, Bannu, Lower Dir, Upper Dir, Hangu, Lakki Marwat and Malakand in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Bahawalnagar, Bhakkar, Khushab, Layyah, Rajanpur and Toba Tek Singh in Punjab, Sanghar, Sukkur and Umerkot in Sindh besides Skardu, Gilgit and Hunza in Gilgit Baltistan

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In terms of sectors within the Cultural and Creative Industries, the applicants’ profiles on the longlist represented Cinema/Audio-Visual (14.8%), Cultural Management (14.8%), Design (31.1%), Digital Culture & Creative (14.8%), Media Arts (3.0%), Music (5.9%), Performing Arts (3.0%), Publishing (5.9%), and Visual Arts (6.7%).

The programme design is the outcome of close collaboration and intensive deliberation between BNU, UNESCO and K-Fit teams and experts spanning many months. It is a fully-sponsored, action-packed, in-residence training package tailored to the needs of Pakistani creative businesses. The training methodology employs an indigenous case-study based approach offered at both early-stage and intermediate-stage start-up levels, delivered by national and international experts.

The week-long program will conclude on November 2, 2019.

Saman Siddiqui

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