Diversity of cultural expressions: State of play

UNESCO Courier | 08 25, 2023

Although the cultural and creative sphere is one of the fastest-growing economic sectors in the world, it suffers from a severe lack of investment, according to a UNESCO report, entitled, Re|Shaping Policies for Creativity: addressing culture as a global public good, published in February, 2022.


Mila IbrahimovaUNESCO


Ten million jobs in cultural and creative industries worldwide were lost in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And while the accelerated shift of cultural content and performances towards digital platforms is a clear trend that has emerged from the crisis, there is an urgent need to design fairer remuneration systems for artists whose content is consumed online.




The global Gross Value Added in the cultural and creative industries contracted by US$750 billion in 2020.


A lack of funding is the number one barrier to creative collaboration


10 million jobs were lost in culture and creativity in 2020 globally



Artists, especially from developing countries, face challenges in accessing funding, visa, information, training and cultural infrastructure.


The number of Mobility Information Points has increased, especially in Europe and North America.



79% of international artist residencies are in Europe and North America.


South-South mobility remains difficult, in part due to poor regional connectivity.


What is next?


Re-imagine mobility in more digitally accessible and sustainable ways


Provide administrative support to artists, in addition to funding


Ensure equal representation in mobility opportunities


Improve support for intra-regional mobility among developing countries





What is next?


Limit concentration of media ownership, ensure transparency and support local media outlets


Set targets for diverse representation on and off screen


Financially support local creation to enable media outlets to comply with content quotas


Invest in data collection and monitoring and evaluation of media systems



Online activity exploded between 2016 and 2021:



What is next?


Design business models that fairly remunerate creators online 


Invest in local content and enhance its discoverability on digital platforms




More women are heading up National Arts or Cultural Councils globally, but women still remain underrepresented.




Representation of women remains low in:


32% - National art prizes, 33% - Film awards, 8% - Conductor performances, 25% - DJ performances, 30% - Gaming workforce.


What is next?


Apply affirmative action measures in recruitment, promotion, funding and awards


Eliminate precarious labor practices in the cultural sector such as short-term contracts, long working hours and pay gaps


Make continuous efforts to measure and monitor progress towards gender equality and gender diversity


Adopt and strengthen policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality


Source: Re|Shaping Policies for Creativity, UNESCO, 2022


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