Tribune Libre : How to stimulate creative industries ? SkefKef case
We live in a challenging region, and struggle a lot to take part of the development of the economy and the society. Damaged by corruption and money laundering, nothing works properly. Culture is challenged by dictatorship, censorship while sometimes the challenge comes from the mind-set itself.
All the circumstances do not help creative minds to flourish in a similar environment. A bright future is hard to be seen. Ambitious youth struggle to find an answer to questions similar to: what can we do? or what can we build? I live in Casablanca, the biggest city in Morocco and one of the biggest in Africa and the Middle-East with 6 to 10 millions of people with a majority of young population. Faced by unemployment or the lack of job opportunities, the youth are all the time frustrated, facing depression and only thinking about immigration as a solution with the lack of education and socio-cultural activities.
To face this issue, there was a need to create a manifesto with a magnet effect, to drive this young generation full of energy, help it flourish and unleash the positive energy, and to avoid the rise of extremism and flood of our greatest minds.
The Open Taqafa as a collective believes in the use of art and technology and knowledge sharing under free licensing, micro culture. The collective believes that the creative industries can make a change in a world driven by the knowledge economy and information sharing as we live in an inspiring environment where socio-cultural and economic problems could inspire us to innovate. This is how it all started, how we saw the dark situation in the beginning and this is one of the reasons we have created the Skefkef comics fanzine.
Let’s go back to comics and back to the brief history of blockbusters such as Spiderman, Batman, Catwoman. These award-winning movies started as comic books and made it as blockbusters. If you go outside of America, in Asia for example, Japan and South Korea have similar big productions. Naruto, is one of the most important examples that can come to anyones’mind. The European industry also has a list of examples, from which an industry has started with big franchises and flourishing business based on comic books.
The skefkef experience :
So know we know that big productions are based on comics, how we can copy or still this experience and reproducing it in our contries, we were obsessed a little bit about making a fanzine, a comics one and we were about to do it we didn’t had the money and we didn’t had the expertise, the first try was Kosmos a Sci Fi Moroccan fanzine, the experience went great in terms of the artsky stuffs but it didn’t work out, it finished started by one of the founders of skefkef and members of the team rebel spirit, they had the obsession to make a something new and something that could work better, the whole project is still an idea and some of the members of Open Taqafa went to Egypt, and then they meet TokTok magazine it was excactly what we wanted to do and the prototype we want to build to start something that will be huge in 10 or 20 years, and could drive the solution for stimulating a creative industy here based on comics.
So we organize an event called open taqafa days and during one of this open taqafa days we chose as a thema : autoedition, digital edition, self edition … we have decided to do an artist residency because we had a little budget so we invited Shennawy from TokTok because they have expertise, so we made the first issue and we were some how conscient that we have to sell the experience to other youth then they can do the same of what we did.
So we made the first issues it got a lot of promotion in the media we were featured in several medias platform, now we have to think of building the example with the best way to do so .. so for the next issue we made also a music, the third one we did music and we started the production of posters stickers and stuffs like this, until now nothing really so fancy and so magic but for the upcoming editions we will start production more content, and we are very sure that this experience influence a lot of people so they are starting to do almost similar experiences, because they know we have done it with almost nothing, with really small budgets now we are fighting to extend our network and we have some projects for the region.
We also advocate for the open source, the creative commons, and we are building networks and groups of discussions and works for the creative economy, and several event to consolidate this vision.
The need for education :
One of the problems we are facing is the lake of education in this fields, for example we always struggle for the scenarios writings, we have a very talented people but we do not have a huge experience in comics for examles, this is why we want to design some education programs to avoid this kind of problems, and we hope to find programs specialized in comics.
Because this field have to be structured and the structure need real knowledge, from countries and people who do have big experience in the field.
We have also to aware our youth about what they can do, for example here in morocco we have only two school that teach comics as a field or specialty for a country as big as morocco with 33 millions of people this is really insufficient.
The future :
We believe the future is going to be better because people will be more aware about, communities collaboration, open source, creative commons …etc and the future is in gather our force and exchanging our experience.