2. London Creative Industry Policy
The Greater London Authority was set up in 1999 to govern the 33 boroughs of London. The current Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was elected first in 2000 and for a second term in 2004. He oversees policy decisions and implementation through three governmental branches the London Development Agency (LDA), London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London.
Since 2000 the LDA has launched numerous projects and initiatives to stimulate and grow London’s creative industries. Its most notable early policy work and studies have evolved around the concept of supporting and enabling the “cultural production chain in the key creative sectors, starting with ideas generation (innovation), production, circulation, delivery mechanisms and finally audiences and reception (consumption).” (London Case Study, 2004) It was during these first years that the London Design Festival started negotiations with the London Development Authority.
It’s important to note the dates and take up of creative industry policy in London. Although activities had been carried out before 2000 within the arts and cultural sector of the city the momentum generated by the governmental mapping documents of 1998 and 2001 gave new impetus to developing and delivering new streamlined activities with clear
objectives and definitions.
By binging together these once disparate activities under one large creative umbrella the national government and then local authorities were able to build and expand a new social and economic agenda.
Later in 2002 and early in 2003 the Mayor’s Commission on the Creative Industries promoted and implemented more policy initiatives to boost and support this new and growing sector. They increased support for ‘creative hubs’, and they selected sub sectors of the creative industries for specific support such as film and design. They also focused on providing support services such as intellectual property workshops and financial aid for workspace provision.
“Design is promoted through the London Design Festival, which provides a showcase for a wide range of the capital’s design companies, from architecture to graphic design, advertising to new media” states a 2006 Case Study on London. The Festival was not the only creative industry to receive support during this period. The film, fashion, design, digital media and music industries also benefited from greater policy and financial support during the 2000-2005 period.
The policy approach of London has therefore been one of “adopting a ‘bottom-up’ approach that draws on existing best practice and complement initiatives driven by other agencies and organisations.” Whereas international policy proposes broad areas and themes local policy identifies and supports individual talent.
The LDA seeks out enterprises with potential and supports growth. It leverages private sector expertise in property development to deliver support and incubation services to small companies. It promotes London’s talent internationally and aids in the creation of ‘creative hubs’ around the city. The London Design Festival is an integral part of London’s creative industry policy framework.