3. Regional and Local Initiatives
From 2001 to 2005 the UK government did not publish major creative industry policy initiatives. It instead opted to go about the important work of testing and observing its theories with tangible and concrete initiatives at the local level. This period witnessed a national roll out of creative industry projects. (Appendix 23)
Regional bodies within the UK re-interpreted the national policy objectives to meet local needs. They launched initiatives aimed at regenerating historic quarters and building museums. Design centres were built and small business incubation platforms were launched.
In 2002 the London Development Agency launched Creative London, an initiative developed to support the city’s creative industry sector. It was during these first years of testing national creative industry policy that the London Design Festival was born on the initiative of leaders from the creative sector with the support of local authorities. The Festival, the subject of an in depth case study later in this paper, is an excellent example of public policy enabling and supporting the creative sector. It is an example of creative individuals putting forward an idea, pursuing it passionately with the public sector joining in to round it out to full robustness.
The Cox Review of Creativity in Business: building on the UK’s strengths was published in 2005. It touched on the original ideas of the 1998 mapping document and reflecting the growing role of the different regions of the country the report advocated creating “a network of centres of creativity and innovation across the UK, with a national hub in London.” It put forward a vision that has been slow on implementation but remains relevant for the sector.
The middle years of the past decade welcomed regional initiatives put forward, taken up and implemented by regional and local authorities within the United Kingdom. It witnessed the birth of various creative institutions, bodies and associations. The creative economy was growing; it was breathing and beginning to move. While the national policy machine watched, measured and began planning for the next phase.