In case you didn't know yet, Pauline Juan, a.k.a. Preview's beloved former editor-in-chief, was appointed the executive director of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) last August! Here, she chats with us on what her new position entails and about one of her first big projects: Create Philippines, a two-day event held last September targeted at empowering and equipping the local creative industry for global competitiveness. Read on!
Hi Pauline! We're curious: What does your position as executive director of CITEM entail?
"It entails telling the stories of Philippine export. CITEM is the marketing, trade, and promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Our primary vehicle is trade shows. That's the mandate. But the way I see it—as a creative!—it's telling the Philippines' story, branding the Philippines' exports. It's a different medium [from Preview] wherein...before, we used to sell clothes and makeup and shoes, and we got the greatest kick out of doing it with our local brands and designers. Now, we do it 24/7. We 'sell' Pinoys to the world. That's it, in a nutshell!"
How did your years with Preview prepare you for this brand new job?
"I think anybody who...not just in fashion or in publishing, but in the creative industry...because it's an industry that's in flux all the time, you have to be open to new ways of doing things. You cannot rest on your last work, di ba? So, having said that, you enter into this institution with new ways of working that they've never done before, new ways of seeing things—which I think is an advantage. CITEM is doing trade shows one after the other. Sometimes it's easy to get lost in the operations. So coming in and saying, 'Hey, think of it in this way...ito ang uso. This is what other people are talking about. Is there another way to do it? Can we incorporate design into the way we do it?'
"These are things that, when you're working-day-to-day, you don't stop and think about. I think it's a nice time to come into it now, especially because our advocacy is [to support] creatives, to bring more creativity even into the logistics."
What exactly is Create Philippines?
"Create is CITEM's platform to be able to promote the Philippines' creative industry. Creative industry is really a broad term for different sectors—you have, say, design, film, fashion, food, music. It even goes as far out as, let's say, wellness and beauty and tourism.
"For 2018, we're focusing on communication design. The goal of Create is to bring the industry together so that they can network. For example, we're able to business match them with freelance designers or different graphic design studios. They're able to have master classes, learn from their peers, learn about cutting-edge technology. They're able to explore their place within the creative economy. Hopefully it does not take another seven years before we're able to do this again! [Laughs] We'd like to do this with different sectors as well, to jumpstart discussions on how the creative industry can drive the Philippine economy.
"Countries like the UK, for example. Their creative economy...when you count all the contributions from fashion, communication design, industrial design, [studies have] found that they actually have a bigger contribution to the GDP than, let's say, the automotive industry. And you always think, wow, high-tech machinery, that must bring in a lot. But when you look at the talent of the people, you can derive significant income from that, too."
Would you say that Create helps change the old-fashioned mindset that the creative field isn't lucrative?
"Yes! That's one of the goals. And we need media to amplify that message that this is a profession. These are viable careers. These are opportunities for job creation. We want the market to realize that creativity is everywhere. Design is everywhere. That's what parents sending their kids off to college need to realize. It's the future.
"And Preview has always shone the light on creative talent. Whether you're a photographer, a graphic artist, a fashion designer, a makeup artist...all of these are within the creative industry. It's always been our mission to try to work with the best talent out there. Thing is, you need to keep doing it so that more people are inspired, so that it turns into an industry that thrives, that's collaborative."