5. A Policy Oriented Case Study
From July 2007 to September 2007 a policy oriented case study was launched from within the London Design Festival. I joined the Festival team in July to review the state of the London Design Festival as an export promoter, a workspace facilitator, financial supporter and source of training and education to London’s creative community. The elements of the exploratory case were selected from the aims and objectives of the original 1998 Task Force mapping document. The outcome of the July case demonstrated through word associations and activity analyses clear links between the management and organisation of the Festival and national and local cultural policy.
For the purposes of the preliminary case study the objectives of the London Design Festival were set alongside the national cultural policy objectives of the UK with a view to exploring the Festival’s links and relations to national and local policy objectives. The case focused on the Festival’s stated objectives of promotion, growth and trade while maintaining the larger national creative industry policy objectives in mind. It also examined financing, management and organisational issues of the Festival. From this case a first blue print of the links between national and local policy and a successful creative enterprise emerged. (Appendix 30)
The evidence demonstrated how much the London Design Festival has integrated national creative policy issues into delivering its annual design event and gathering. The Festival benefits from a yearly financial allocation from the London Development Authority. A funding link was established. It thus remained to determine if and to what extent the London Design Festival promotes trade, intellectual property protection, and training. It was also important to verify if the Festival acts as a space promoter or facilitator.
The definitions during the case were loosely interpreted. When the government policy paper discusses education and training, for example, the scope refers to stimulating the broadest national educational and professional possibilities. In the case on the London Design Festival, education and skills refers specifically to skills and business support sessions within the design industry.
The references to space allocation and facilitation in this case also referred to the very narrow needs of creative agencies and businesses during the festival ten-day period, but not the larger space and retail needs expressed in the national policy papers. As policy narrows and takes on tangible application the aims of said policy are also interpreted and introduced according to realities on the ground. This case reflected on the ground realities.
Of the 193 events that took place during the 2007 Festival, 114 of the events promoted trade or the export of creative industry goods. Twentyone of the events addressed the question of intellectual property protection. Forty-two of the events provided business support to local
creative industries. While every events benefited from either space allocation or promotion during the Festival period. (Figure C1)
A cross reading of the survey demonstrates that only 7% of the events delivered on all four of the possible policy criteria with 8% covering three of the four studied aspects. Interestingly 53% of the events covered two of the four criteria leaving 32% of the events to receive only one mark on of the five assessed criteria. (Figure C2)
Although there were clear reflections of national and local cultural policy in the outputs of the Festival it remained to be seen what more could be done to further align the Festival with creative industry policy in the export, IP, workspace and education equation. In terms of finance for the participants of the Festival an in-depth exploration of partner needs and financing mechanisms needs to be undertaken in order to provide a clear picture of the risks and advantages of providing financing options to the participants of the London Design Festival.