Jofer Asilum, founder and president of Damgo Naton Masbate, is making great strides in promoting the city of Masbate through his participation in the Innovators, Doers and Entrepreneurs at Summer School (IDEAS) 2023 in Leipzig University, Germany.
IDEAS 2023 is organized by the Small Enterprise Promotion and Training (SEPT) Competence Center of the Faculty of Economics and Management Science of Leipzig University, with support from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and the DAAD or the official scholarship program of the German Government.
Asilum’s proposal for the IDEAS 2023 program was the establishment of the Masbate City Creative Community Center, which aims to provide an open and free physical space for creative collaboration for the traditional local crafts of Masbate City.
His research revealed that despite the numerous creative activities in Masbate City that contribute to local culture formation and basic living needs of the people, these are not considered as a feasible sustainable livelihood option due to the absence of support systems and the crafts-making’s highly dependent nature.
Asilum envisions the Masbate City Creative Community Center as a platform for local Masbateño artists to have a stable source of income, which is crucial to help alleviate the poverty situation of Masbate City.
“Hopefully, in this way, they will be able to not just find confidence for their craft, but also find confidence for themselves. Both of which are crucial to establish a strong local creative sector and identity for Masbate City,” Asilum said.
The center will function as an incubator of potential new products out of the existing traditional creative activities that Masbateños are engaged in.
These products are to be sold commercially, especially for the purposes of tourism and of becoming a sustainable source of income for both the creative individuals behind them and the communities that will benefit from them in the future.
“For the center to become an effective incubator of new products, first, it has to be easily accessible and must be located in the urban center of Masbate City, second, it has a workshop area where all crafts-related creative individuals can work together, third, it has an open platform for exhibiting and selling newly-developed crafts, and fourth, it has a learning platform where creative individuals can initiate seminars and activities to share their skills and knowledge to others, or participate in those that will also enhance their existing competencies,” Asilum added.
Last February, Damgo Naton Masbate together with Masbate City Local Artists passes a resolution concerning the development and support to the creative industries in Masbate entitled “Masbate City Creative Industries Development Ordinance” at the Vice Mayor’s office of Masbate City.
The proposed ordinance is still under deliberation at the Sangguniang Panglungsod, but once passed, it will institutionalize the local creative economy of Masbate City and serve as a legal basis for funding the establishment of the Masbate City Creative Community Center.
The proposed ordinance and the establishment of the Masbate City Creative Community Center are the first steps in making Masbate City a UNESCO Creative City for Crafts and Folk Art that will not only ensure global recognition in the field of creativity, but also enable access to global opportunities through economic partnerships, international collaborations, creative and cultural exchanges, among many others.
“While being artistic is only one of the manifestations of being creative, we can make art an avenue to inspire the creativity of the people, in general. And in doing so, we have to see art as not only for art’s sake,” Asilum’s message for aspiring artists. | Jeric Lopez
Photos: Jofer Asilum