Today’s press review clearly demonstrates the contrast that exists in the promotion of the creative economy from one region to another. Most countries in the world participate in a clearly defined creative economy and creative industry movement while the US promotes a do-it-yourself art/cultural economy model.
It’s broadly recognized that the concept of the creative economy started in 1994 in the UK when they expanded their definition of the art economy and the cultural industries to include the creative industries and the newly recognized creative economy. Since then many European and Asia-Pacific countries have followed their lead and now carry out targeted efforts to promote their creative industries locally, nationally and internationally.
To highlight the point The Architects Journal in the UK published Gordon Brown’s full speech to a gathering of influential architects yesterday. The Prime Minister clearly states the policy direction of the UK, “I believe that the countries that will succeed in the modern world are the countries that (…) are associated with creative industries. (…) and I don’t think people yet realise just how important architecture and design are going to be to our economic, as well as to our cultural and social future,” he said.
The city of Liverpool sponsoring a public event to showcase its creative sector is an example of how national UK creative industry policy plays out at the local level. The annual Liverpool Design Festival is a city-wide showcase of the local talent that works in the creative industries. Tara Badami, organizer of one of the design initiatives, feels this type of activity “really boosted the local design economy and have put people in touch with each other that will go on to create new products and new businesses.” It’s important to note the emphasis on industry and business in both the Prime Minister’s statement and that of the local promoter.
It’s not only in the UK where this approach seems to be succeeding. The creative economy movement is alive and well in Germany. Another festival is in the works in Berlin that seeks to leverage its local creative industries to not necessarily attract new businesses but to enhance the businesses it already has says Ares Kalandides, a local expert on developing the creative industries.
In Australia the importance of promoting the creative industries has not escaped their leaders either. Queensland is making a major move to become the Asia-Pacific’s design hub. Why? Arts Minister, Anna Bligh says launching a design week will “be an ideal platform to showcase local design companies to an international audience and also offers design professionals, educators, students, government officers, journalists, and anyone interested in design extensive professional development and networking opportunities.”
The US on the other hand does not yet, or maybe never will, have a nationally coordinated effort but rather allows non profit organizations, state governments, private individuals and city officials to shape local arts economy policy. There are national grants to the arts in support of the art economy but nothing to stimulate the growth of creative industries and the creative economy, two very different sectors.
For example, on the east coast, North Carolina received $718,850 to preserve a total of 104 non-profit jobs that might otherwise have been eliminated due to the economy. Nancy Trovillion, deputy director of the N.C. Arts Council, said “we had 79 requests from many of the state’s top arts organizations but only enough money to fund 18.”
While in Los Angeles the Otis College of Art Design report on the local creative economy is still making headlines. The Apparel News website takes heart that the creative economy in Los Angeles “is projected to grow by an estimated 4,000 jobs, or 1.6 percent, by 2013.”
From today’s creative economy news review it seems as if much of the world is pursuing policies and efforts that promote an industrious creative economy sector while the participants in the world’s largest economy are left to chaotically duke it out individually.
Articles and Links Below
Prime Minister: ‘British design and architecture are second to none’ (Architects Journal, UK)
“I believe that the countries that will succeed in the modern world are the countries that have that creativity, are able to show that in practice by architecture, design, fashion, music and everything else that is associated with creative industries.” Read More
Industry showcases ‘help grow creative sector’ (Liverpool Daily, UK)
“Tara Badami, director of festival organiser Design Initiative, said: “Despite shocking weather over 1,500 visitors braved the elements to visit the Eco Design show and shopped, networked and had fun making their own creations in the workshops. “I believe we really boosted the local design economy and have put people in touch with each other that will go on to create new products and new businesses.” Read More
Imagining a new future for Berlin (The Local, Germany)
“Ares Kalandides, an expert on developing the creative industries, said Berlin still stands to gain economically by fostering the city’s cultural fecundity. “Berlin’s opportunity is not so much in attracting businesses, but in enhancing the business that it already has,” said Kalandides. “Large corporations, if they move at all today, they do not move to Western Europe, they move to Eastern Europe or Asia. I think this is a very 1970s and 80s policy, trying to attract large investments.” Read More
International Events Secure State’s Status as Design Hub (Government Statements, Australia)
“Design Week will be an ideal platform to showcase local design companies to an international audience and also offers design professionals, educators, students, government officers, journalists, and anyone interested in design extensive professional development and networking opportunities.” Read More
Arts Council Receives State Grant for Grassroots Program (The Pilot, US)
“We had 79 requests from many of the state’s top arts organizations but only enough money to fund 18,” she said. “We had to turn down many worthy requests. “We chose those organizations that made an urgent case that core positions would be lost without our funding.” Read More
Creative Economy Set for Growth in Los Angeles (Apparel News, US)
“Despite the down economy, the report estimates the creative economy actually grew in 2008. Statistics show that L.A.’s creative economy was valued at nearly $100 billion in 2007. The new report estimates the county’s creative economy reached $121 billion in 2008.” Read More