For this week’s Alumni interview, I caught up with Pablo Villalva to find out about his career post-MA, and to discuss the trajectory of Ecuador’s public arts policy.
Pablo Villalva is an expert in the Creative Industries, International Affairs, and Communication & Politics. He undertook an MA in Cultural and Creative Industries at King’s College London between 2014 and 2015.
How did you get to be the Director of Public, Policy on the Arts, Entrepreneurship and Innovation for the Ministerio de Cultura y Patrimonio del Ecuador?
I started working for the Ministry of Culture and Heritage in 2009, back then I collaborated as a Communications Officer. I organised a series of events aimed at collecting citizen’s contributions for drafting the new Culture Law. Culture attracted my attention and later I was appointed the Minister’s Communications Advisor. I represented her before the board of the National Film Council, this role led me to consider studying a degree related to the cultural and creative industries.
After finishing my master’s degree at King’s College London, I returned to the Ministry and contributed to the writing of the final version of the Culture Law, I worked on the chapter related to fostering the creative industries. After that, I turned my attention to academia and spent three years as a professor.
In 2021 I returned once more to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. For three months I was the Director of Cultural Capacities, a department in charge of talent development. I led the team that designed a 20 year Talent Development Plan for the country. In December 2021 I was appointed Director of Public Policy on the Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation, I am currently designing the institution’s Cultural and Creative Industries Plan.
Are there any expectations you had about this career path that you have found differed from reality, in both a good or bad way?
I did not expect to be so interested in the cultural and creative industries, as I first joined the Ministry of Culture and Heritage as a Communications Officer. The sector is rather small in Ecuador, and this has represented an opportunity for my professional development, as I have no knowledge of other professionals in the country that have taken on a degree in the creative industries field. On the other hand, many of the concepts that I have introduced an implement in my various roles have not been fully understood. This is because some of them are inexistent in Ecuador, that is the case of Cultural Diplomacy, for example. Despite this fact, coming up with new ideas has been a strength.
Can you tell me about any exciting past or present projects or initiatives that you have worked on?
The construction of the Culture, as well as the implementation of the Cultural and Creative Industries Plan. I am currently organising series of networking events aimed at fostering four subsectors of the creative industries that represent the strongest opportunities, both in the internal and international markets: videogames, music, fashion an audio-visuals.
As a Director, where do you see Ecuador’s public arts policy going in the future?
The current Government desires to convert the cultural sector into a more dynamic and sustainable one. This requires the identification of opportunities nationally and internationally.
In the past months the Ministry carried out a survey aimed at detecting consumption habits of cultural goods and services in Ecuador. As a result, this will imply focusing public spending in certain activities. The challenge will be to generate more engagement with a wide variety of audiences for fostering a stronger cultural sector that generates social inclusion, economic growth and that promotes our nation brand worldwide.
Click here for more information about The Ministry of Culture and Heritage of Ecuador and here for information about networking events run by the Ministry.