National Digital Media Day Thursday September 25, 2008

Today is National Digital Media Day. This day has been organized to provide awareness of Canada’s growing Digital Media Industry (Web Designers, Animators, Programmers etc.,). In conjunction with this day, numerous events have been organized in various cities to help promote the Industry.

Of course I will be attending events in Calgary under the Armadillo Moniker. It should be a great evening. I look forward to meeting with Calgary’s growing creative industry and also just seeing what this city has to offer.

But underlining the day’s events is an increased sense of urgency and outrage in the industry, which is also becoming a conversational topic in this year’s election. Yes, what I am talking about is the recent cuts to National Arts Funding by the Government.

While, most of the controversy about the recent cuts have been aimed at the preconceived notion of the arts industry. But what is completely ignored in this funding cut are the actual programs being affected.

As Digital Alberta (A provincial group dedicated to the promotion of our creative Industry) has pointed out.

Chief among these programs is Trade Routes, which provides assistance for producers of cultural products to travel to foreign markets and showcase their content. Also affected is the National Training Schools Program, which has provided funding for important institutions such as the Canadian Film Centre, Institut National d’Image et du Son (INIS) and the Banff Centre for the Arts.

So on the surface it may seem like a cut to snotty artists, the reality is that these cuts will affect the creative industries ability to gather and promote itself on the global stage. As pointed out by the CIAC:

Of these program cuts, the CIAIC is most concerned by the dismantling of Trade Routes, since it was one of the few export development tools available to Interactive Media producers and trade bodies … ‘Trade Routes is a vital component of many of the activities the CIAIC participates in,’ says CIAIC president Ian Kelso. ‘Without it, the ability to get Canadian talent and expertise in front of foreign buyers is in jeopardy.’

So essentially these round of cuts will remove a key tool for the Canadian creative industries to sell itself on the International stage. In addition, it will probably drastically impair the Banff Centre for the Arts’ ability to host future conferences like nextMEDIA.

As much as I understand that Canada is a resource based economy, it puzzles me that we would decide to remove funding from the Creative Industry (Web Designers, Programmers, Media Experts, Entrepreneurs). I don’t know about you, but the Internets and Technology is sort of a an up and coming industry. Maybe one that is chalk full with entrepreneurs and potential for ROI. If you want to defend the cuts on the basis that these cuts were against elitist and a noncritical industry fine, but that sort of positioning doesn’t add up.

And don’t know about you, but I find this rather confusing … I’m just saying. And maybe just throwing out something to think about.

Categories: The-Calgary-Vibe, The-Blogosphere, The Corporation, The Personnal, The Pop-Culture, The Soapbox, The World

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