So, Creative Sector, are we any use – or not?

Have a look at this article from CIKTN –   It’s about the Govt using new ways of measuring the value of the Creative Industries – NOT boring, no figures, but very important!  You would think, wouldn’t you, that, in a time of financial crisis, reputation damage, insufficient exports, low employment, etc etc, that the Govt would be at some pains to celebrate the things that are good in this country? And, legitimate or not, the fact remains that the UK is still seen across the world as a leader in the Creative Industries. It’s a critical perception for all our creative businesses, large and small, as it gets potential customers interested at an earlier stage than others can achieve. We all know it won’t last – creativity and innovation are being discovered the world over and our leadership is being constantly challenged, not least by the BRIC countries and by other emerging economies.  Through a fantastic degree of complacency, or maybe just a stunning failure of imagination (how ironic!), we have allowed our leadership role in this field to be whittled away and now we start hammering the first nail in the coffin – our Govt decides to downgrade the value of the sector for NO GOOD REASON AT ALL!!  All the work that is going on to strengthen the sector, to enhance its reputation and impact, to spread the word, is now jeopardized by an unthinking piece of work by DCMS. The quality (or lack of it) in the DCMS report has been widely commented on and deplored (See BOP Consulting blog “DCMS publishes Creative Industries Economic Estimates for 2011” although I note now that apparently the DCMS said it was a draft version not intended for publication!) –

More damagingly still, the DCMS, who should be our Govt champion, arbitrarily decides to ‘downgrade’ the sector.   Fortunately, all the thinkers in our sector are lining up against them:  It’s been put best by Richard Booth of CIKTN: “In Nesta’s Creative Economy Blog , Hasan Bakhshi and Alan Freeman take issue with the methodology (or indeed lack of it) used to calculate the revised statistical estimate. Included within a number of concerns is endorsement of an argument raised by Jeremy Silver in his post on the revision: “If we took into account the warp and weft of micro-companies and the convergence with Digital Industries – it would not be surprising if the numbers leapt back up and then exceeded previous estimates of the UK’s Creative Industries economic contribution.”  If you don’t read Jeremy Silvers, let me recommend him – JeremyS1 is his Twitter name.

You should all be aware of this – it’s important – whether you’re an independent artist or a large creative business; a mission-led practice or a profit-led business; create art for arts’ sake or for society’s sake – the transformation of the recognition of the creative sector, not just in the UK but internationally, has had a profound impact on the way we all work and the impact we can have. Last year, the EU’s research demonstrated to them the value of investing in our sector for both cultural and economic reasons; in Brazil, investing in and developing their creative economy is a hot topic; in Singapore, influenced by Ken Robinson, they are introducing creative writing and drawing as part of the curriculum from pre kindergarten to university; in Nigeria, the govt has recently, for the first time, put a substantial amount of funding aside to grow their creative sector. Just last week, I had a delegation of four senior players in the sector in France come and ask me about our work for four hours, ending wistfully with the observation that  “the problems the UK was dealing with 12 years ago [a propos the creative sector] are the ones we are just beginning to address in France’……

How on earth can we knowingly throw this all away?  –  Write tweets, retweet, write blogs, phone your local MP – ‘All that is needed for idiots to thrive is that intelligent people do nothing’ (with apologies to Edmund  Burke – but I’m sure he‘d understand!)


Anamaria Wills  T: anamariacida   Fb:cidaco