Participants in the conference
Participants in the conference

NCC sensitises artists, cultural experts to industry laws

The National Commission on Culture (NCC) has held a conference for artists and cultural professionals in Cape Coast.

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The event funded by the UNESCO-Aschberg Programme was attended by 75 individuals from the Central, Western North and Western Regions. It was on the theme: "Empowering artists through policy formulation and robust legal framework: An engagement with artists on inputs into cultural policy, copyright and other relevant laws.”

The acting Deputy Executive Director for the NCC, Dr Richardson Commey Fio, explained that the conference aimed to empower emerging artists and cultural professionals in Ghana, by aligning their practices with Ghana's cultural policy.

He noted that similar conferences had already been held in Tamale for participants from the Upper East, Upper West, Savannah, North East and Northern regions, and in Kumasi for those from the Bono, Bono East, Ahafo and Ashanti regions.

He said the conference in Cape Coast was the third in the series, targeting coastal regions, with the final one planned for Accra to include participants from the Greater Accra, Eastern, Volta and Oti regions.

Dr Fio observed that many artists in Ghana were not well versed in the legal frameworks and policies governing the culture and creative sector in Ghana. He emphasised the importance of educating creatives on policies such as copyright laws, intellectual property rights, and the Ghana Cultural Policy.

Culture

During the conference, a national expert for the UNESCO Aschberg Programme, Benjamin Oduro Arhin, urged participants to respect every culture, stating that "each culture has unique cultural features and traditions that give identity, self-respect and pride to the people."

He also highlighted the importance of appreciating indigenous knowledge, which he said helped to give meaning to life and provided a sense of identity. Mr Arhin encouraged participants to respect and appreciate Ghanaian names, music, clothing, food and traditions.

Intelligence

Furthermore, Mr Arhin addressed the issue of measuring intelligence, arguing that it was high time people stopped equating intelligence solely with the ability to speak English, asserting that English was merely a medium of communication like any other language.

He said intelligence should be measured through creativity, talent, skills, and hard work, emphasising the importance of knowing and valuing one's cultural roots and heritage. "I think if you are smart you should be able to know who you are and the history of your people," he stated. 

Intellectual property

Mr Arhin also stressed the importance of protecting intellectual property by registering one's artistic works. He explained that that would enable artists to defend their rights when their works were used without permission. 

He advised artists to ensure that they received proper compensation when their songs were used in advertisements or when their movies and music videos were synchronised without authorisation.

Mr Arhin advised artists to establish a pension scheme to ensure financial stability in their old age, urging them to plan for the future to avoid financial hardship later in life.

A visual arts creator from the Central Region, Otuko Adjaottor, said she had learnt valuable knowledge which would promote her business and significantly impact her professional growth, while enabling her to navigate the legal aspects of her practice more effectively.

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