24–27 April 2017
BGC Arts Center, Taguig City.
John Howkins is a British author best known for his work on the creative economy. Howkins was in Manila to give the keynote speech for the ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibition. The forum itself took place at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig from 26–27 April. The event put the spotlight on creativity’s role in urban development. It was organised by the Department of Trade and Industry through the Design Center of the Philippines, in conjunction with the 30th ASEAN Summit in Manila.
Howkins, speaking in front of government officials, cultural workers and guests from the ASEAN, highlighted that ‘creativity is being normal’, that ‘everyone is born with imagination and the passion to use it for private pleasures and public purposes’. He also recommended the establishment of creative hubs, which not only provide shared spaces, but also services.
Howkin’s ideas were further articulated on day 2 of the forum by guests from the UK, Thailand and Malaysia working within the creative sectors. Jia Ping Lee, former programme director of Think City, discussed how Think City’s cultural initiatives in urban regeneration were able to transform George Town’s sleepy streets and abandoned shophouses into a hip, creative neighbourhood in Malaysia, while preserving and promoting its heritage. The panel also featured Gillian Easson of Creative Dundee (UK), Andrew Erskine of Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy (UK) and Peeradorn Kaewlai, senior advisor of Thailand Creative and Design Center (TCDC, Thailand).