Background

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and magnified the creative industries’ pre-existing volatility. Measures of confinement or restriction of mobility undertaken by many countries to contain the pandemic have drastically constrained access to culture and weakened the cultural ecosystem as a whole. Notably through the closure of cultural activities and cultural infrastructure; the cancellation or postponement of events and the interruption of cultural production. This has had a direct impact on the entire creative value chain – creation, production, distribution and access. Freelancers, part-timers and gig workers, most of whom are young people who make up a large segment of the sector’s labour force, are left with limited to no access to conventional social protection mechanisms.

Within the framework of the UNESCO-Sida II project “Reshaping cultural policies for the promotion of fundamental freedoms and the diversity of cultural expressions” and the expressed need to respond to the current cultural emergency, the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa joins the ResiliArt global movement – a global UNESCO-led initiative to give voice to artists and cultural professionals in the face of the health crisis. By giving a voice to young artists and challenges that they face, and enhancing the visibility of their work as well as their resilience in the face of the health crisis, this initiative contributes strengthening the capacities of civil society and fostering freedom of artistic expression, two of the core components of the UNESCO-Sida II project. The illustration contest which directly targets young people responds additionally to UNESCO Global Priority for Youth.

As part of the ResiliArt movement, UNESCO ROSA proposes to launch an illustration contest to support emerging young creatives to show the world that creativity cannot be stopped, and that art is resilient. Empowering young people in this global crisis through social and economic opportunities which cultural and creative industries offer is at the heart of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.