Canadian Latin
America Trade Mission

We were invited to join the Canadian Heritage in the Creative Industries Trade Mission to Latin America this February. The mission included a delegation of government officials and over 30 companies across Canada, focusing on fostering government-to-government and business-to-business (B2B) relations in the creative industries to build partnerships with our peers in Mexico, Colombia and Argentina.

Cynthia Roberts, Interpretation & Design Manager, and Carolina Garcia, Business Development & Strategy, joined the delegation in Mexico City and Bogota, representing hsd and participating in numerous events and meetings. They connected with multiple museum professionals, media companies, universities, architects and designers to identify opportunities for collaboration. The mission highlighted the importance of building reciprocal relationships and partnerships to enrich and diversify offers in the creative industries as well as to amplify the economic and social impact of culture.

Measuring the economic and social impact of culture is complex because some of the returns are imperceptible and the typical systems of economic measurement can be inadequate to gauge something as expansive as creativity and culture. As a result, the economic contribution of the industry has remained historically underrepresented and underestimated. However, new research in past decades has started to close this gap in knowledge.

For example, in 2015 UNESCO published an unprecedented report mapping the global economics of the cultural and creative industries, entitled “Cultural times: the first global map of cultural and creative industries.” The document provided clear data about the economic contribution and overall impact of culture to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a given country and region, also contributing to the legitimation of the creative industries as a motor for economic growth. The report also identified intangible social benefits ranging from well-being and community development to other key indicators of social progress.

Mexico and Colombia have a diverse and rich cultural heritage. In Mexico City alone, there are approximately 140 museums and a long-established cultural infrastructure at national level. In Colombia, the government is invested in growing the “Orange Economy,” a concept referring to the economics of the creative and cultural industries and the positive impact on the national GDP. Evidently, the cultural and creative industries offer a sustainable economic development model by recognizing the importance of safeguarding heritage, empowering communities and promoting learning and the diversity of cultural expressions by championing inclusive models of action.

Acknowledging the economic impact of creativity and culture is essential for the development of place-making infrastructure, government initiatives and financial support. It also contributes to the overall recognition and legitimacy of creativity as a financially-sustainable sector. In our over 37 years working in culture, we have helped many institutions and municipalities address the need to change and develop a new approach to keep themselves vibrant and in-tune with their community, to meet the expectation of the public and thrive financially. A Trade Mission like the one we participated in, is a significant piece of this engine. Leveraging culture and creativity for economic growth is a humanistic path to an inclusive and participatory economic development route that we look forward to continuing to be a part of with future partners in both Mexico and Colombia.

To learn more about the Trade Mission 2019, please visit this link: