Discussion table during the opening of "Saber Creativo" workshops in the rooftop of Laboratorio para la Ciudad. From left to right: Karla Paniagua, Renata Becerril, María García Holley, Edgardo Bermejo y Ernesto Piedras.

According to different studies, the interest for the creative industries in Mexico City has been increasing between the new generations. Last year, 12% of bachelor students in the city were enrolled in programmes related to the arts and the humanities. Nevertheless, contrary to popular belief, creative industries not only generate cultural richness, but they also contribute actively to the nation’s economy, accounting for nearly 7% of the annual GDP. That’s the reason why it is fundamental to train and build the capabilities of creative agents regarding practical skills and tools required to contribute to this growth.

As María García Holley –who is part of the creative projects department at Laboratorio para la Ciudad– tells us, this project, that we could also call an experiment, emerges from the realisation of the huge gap between the moment when students of creative disciplines finish their academic education and the moment when they try to join the creative labour market. After finishing university, students aren’t really prepared for facing the challenges that come with being a creative agent in Mexico today, in addition to the fact that the city does not offer enough tools or support to address these needs.

“Saber Creativo” aims to be a bridge that allows this transition between the student life and the moment of the insertion in the work field. It is a free training programme that consists of 12 seminaries that will be taught during the months of June, July and August of 2016 in the rooftop of Laboratorio para la Ciudad by experts on the fields of accounting, projects development, finance, economy and copyright, amongst others. It isn’t an academic programme, but rather a space where good practices and methodologies will be shared, advice will be offered and encounters generated.

The origins of the project go back to 2015, when the collaboration between Laboratorio para la Ciudad, Abierto Mexicano de Diseño and the British Council started through the Maker Library project. The Maker Library, which has been installed at the Laboratorio’s rooftop, is a space to make, show and read that connects designers and makers to exchange abilities, share resources and participate in mentorship sessions. Saber Creativo takes this concept a step further.

This programme has only been made possible thanks not only the allies mentioned above, but also thanks to CENTRO –higher education institution on the fields of design, communications, film, digital media and architecture, that aims to catalyze the potential energy towards a professional creative force– to the economist Ernesto Piedras, who has been studying themes related to economy and creativity for over 20 years and who leads the consultancy agency Nomismae Consulting, that specializes in the analysis and measurement of the economic contribution of creative activities and culture and finally, thanks to 15 professors that donated their time to the creative agents of the city.

Since the call was launched, the project has generated a great interest between the creative community of Mexico City –528 applications were received in only 5 days– which confirms the hypothesis that the creative community needs this sort of initiatives.

As Edgardo Bermejo –Arts director of British Council Mexico– mentioned, the United Kingdom has been a pioneer in identifying the creative industry as an industry that creates wealth. Through this sort of initiatives, we aim to continue fostering the development of creative agents and of successful creative projects that enrich the cultural and working life as well as the economy of our country.

María García Holley, from the creative projects unit of Laboratorio para la Ciudad, explained the relevance of this programme, whilst Edgardo Bermejo, Arts Director for the British Council Mexico talked about the important role of the United Kingdom in the promotion of creative economies.
Maker Library, a common project of Abierto Mexicano de Diseño, Laboratorio para la Ciudad and British Council Mexico through the Maker Library Network, allows to look up a wide range of books about creative economies.