On the morning April 19, Vice President Chen Chien-jen attended the opening ceremony for 2017 Creative Expo Taiwan. He expressed gratitude to all of those working so diligently in cultural industries, often without public recognition, for their efforts and for laying the groundwork for the future. He also expressed hope that the Expo would be a platform for exchanges between Taiwan's "cultural and creative industries" and the international community, and that it would raise Taiwan's cultural capability and solidify the nation's "soft power."
In his remarks, the vice president stated that "culture" is not only the overall expression of a way of life at some specific time and place, it is also an important element of a nation's "soft power." Moreover, it can help bolster a country's economic competitiveness, and play a critical role in promoting innovation and progress in industry.
The vice president pointed out that, in response to globalization and the trend toward "symbolic consumption," countries around the world are devising policies focused on solidifying their cultural soft power. Especially common is the practice of taking artistic creation as the core starting point, and from there using the methods of "innovative value-added" and "creative interpretation" to promote job-creating "cultural and creative industries" (CCIs). These are the engines of growth for the cultural economy, and, even more importantly, are the most dynamic media for exporting and conveying a country's cultural values.
Vice President Chen stated that "cultural power" is not only the foundation of individual creativity, values, and lifestyles, but also a critical basis for deepening democracy and transforming the economy. Moreover, for Taiwan in particular, cultural power is especially important because it is a bridge for international participation. The question then becomes how to buttress cultural content to stimulate the development of CCIs while ensuring that CCI policy stays centered on the cultural core. The urgent policy tasks for the government are to invest relevant resources in training talented people and ensuring them adequate opportunities to make a living in their professions; in encouraging the production of, and transmission from generation to generation of, creative work; in providing and maintaining CCI spaces; and in promoting the circulation of the products of creative effort. The cultural economy is therefore a very important mainstay of Taiwan's ongoing economic transformation. If we are to successfully upgrade our industry, it will be absolutely necessary for us to start by building up our cultural content.
The vice president drew attention to the fact that the most unique attribute of Taiwan's culture is its rich, diverse, and eclectic local cultural manifestations. Building on these, there are a number of goals toward which the government and private sector must cooperatively work, including: transforming local culture into the element that gives the deepest meaning to the cultural economy; upgrading the cultural breadth and depth of the cultural economy; bringing Taiwan's unique characteristics into play to guide Taiwan's CCIs onto the world stage; maximizing the export and transmission of the cultural economy; utilizing cultural diplomacy to give the world a better understanding of Taiwan; and helping culture from Taiwan stand out from the crowd amidst intensive international competition.
Vice President Chen said that Creative Expo Taiwan is an outstanding platform for demonstrating Taiwan's cultural depth and for promoting the cultural economy. Working through a variety of facets, including markets, applications of technology, and professional exchanges, Taiwan will continue to utilize cultural soft power to make its voice heard internationally. Moreover, every effort will be made to help Taiwan's cultural products find even more potential buyers at home and abroad. In addition, through the use of open platforms for interactions and exchanges, designers and creators themselves can promote their own products in markets at home and abroad, further increasing Taiwan's international visibility.
The vice president pointed out that the government intends to inventory a large volume of cultural data and information, transform it into an open format, and provide it free of charge to citizens who can use it for value-added applications. The idea is to enhance citizens' right of access to culture, and to build a stockpile of cultural capital for members of the public, while at the same time driving the rise of "narrative industries."
Vice President Chen further explained that, in response to the digital device revolution, under its Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program the government intends to invest NT$6.47 billion in digital infrastructure and commit more resources to the digitization and new-media availability of cultural assets. These include a variety of forms of creative work and museum holdings, including images and all types of art, all of which are targeted for digitization. Moreover, through the coordinated application of digital streaming and virtual reality, we can create rich formats for cultural expressions and personal experiences thereof, and bring to the fore the unlimited possibilities of culture. Finally, through communication and interaction between different industries and generations, we can stimulate even more possibilities for cultural and creative development, provide the younger generation with rich soil for creativity, and encourage the flourishing of innovative ideas and cutting-edge design among young people.
The vice president emphasized that the younger generation, with their knowledge of the humanities and arts and their innovative capabilities, is the key to the future development and export of Taiwan's cultural industries, allowing us to maintain a spirit of openness and innovation as we greet the arrival of this new era in culture.
Finally, the vice president expressed his hope that, through the holding of Creative Expo Taiwan, "culture" will be able to genuinely reflect the current conditions in society, spread positive ideas and concepts about life, and—in this land that belongs to us—create even more unlimited possibilities.
Accompanied by Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君), Vice President Chen visited all the Expo venues. Also in attendance were Deputy Secretary-General to the President Yao Jen-to (姚人多), National Palace Museum Director Lin Jeng-yi (林正儀), members of the foreign diplomatic corps stationed in Taiwan, and Taitung County Magistrate Justin Huang (黃健庭).