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FYR of Macedonia/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.3 Cultural/creative industries: policies and programmes

One of the burning public dilemmas in the field of culture during the last 15 years has been whether there is a cultural market in the country, and whether culture could exist under market conditions.

One of the arguments on the deficit of a private market for culture is the small size of the territory and the modest population, as well as the small language market, for example, in the field of publishing. Together they limit the conditions required to develop a fully functioning cultural industry.

The Ministry of Culture, in coordination with the British Council  in 2012, invited 11 national stakeholders (Ministries for Economy, Information Society and Public Administration, Universities, the City of Skopje, Agency for Intellectual Property, and Union of Chambers of Commerce, among others) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support the development of this sector in the coming years (more at The Ministry of Culture looked up the models of mapping and developing the creative economy in the UK and works with the British Council to strategically advance the sector in Macedonia. It has established a National Commission for the Creative Industries, secured and is distributing annual grants for Creative Industry projects to cultural institutions and creative practitioners, is revisiting the mapping of the sector and plans to support the development of creative hubs in Macedonia. Initial mapping of the creative industries in Macedonia was done between 2006 and 2009 (the document can be found at

However, these initiatives were far from the reality of practice in this field. For example, the British Council and the Ministry of Culture "... expected 180 000 creative businesses to be opened in 2013, generating new 150 000 jobs". This was completely unrealistic because it would mean employing almost half of the unemployed people in Macedonia. On the other hand, the 2013 and 2014 open competitions for cultural industries projects showed that there was still a lack of understanding about the real meaning of the cultural industries: a lot of the projects came from the national and local institutions, while most of the others had nothing to do with culture or industry, etc. Some of the financed projects as cultural creative industry projects ("Creative catering", "Food Festivals", "Music instruments made of everyday rubbish", "Producing almond milk and cheese products", educational workshops, etc.) showed complete lack of understanding of the essence and the role of the cultural industries.

Although insufficient, the development of cultural / creative industries is also mentioned in the National Strategy for Culture 2012-2017. It is said that modern technology and creative industries stimulate the development of contemporary culture, especially in the domain of the applied arts and creative practices. It is also said that in order to establish higher standards in visual aesthetics, design in all its forms should be stimulated in the future.  

Chapter published: 06-10-2015

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