2. The Challenges of Developing Local Creative Industries
International and European policy recommendations essentially point to the conclusions of the 1998 Task Force Mapping document. Those were funding, space facilitation, protection of intellectual property rights, skills and training and business support. Within these
stated areas the challenges of developing successful local creative industry policy are many. The following is a brief description of the evolving trends in addressing the challenges of the creative industries.
Throughout the discussion on cultural and creative industry policy there was a recurring set of support services that emerged. These services appeared in tangible and intangible forms. Successful creative industry policy provides a range of support services to creative entrepreneurs to aid in their growth.
The intangible types of support appeared at the international level in the shapes of legal conventions, such as UNESCO’s, which recognized the ‘sovereign rights of States to maintain, adopt and implement policies’ to protect the diversity of cultural expressions. WIPO’s capacity building meetings with government representatives was another example. At the National level, intangible support took the form of moral support in the government’s ability to create excitement and momentum around a creative economy agenda.
Tangible support services range from the establishment of a Creativity Bank, which will invest in creative enterprises, at the European level to an International Observatory on Creative Industries to facilitate information exchange, sponsored by UNCTAD and Brazil.
On a national and local level the UK established a plethora of support services for the creative industries. They range from regional creative industry development agencies, to IP advice and business support services. As noted in the case study on the London Design Festival, the Festival could not grow without financial support from the London Development Authority.
Understanding the Role of Government and the Private Sector
Defining and understanding the role of government in creating and supporting any policy is important. The role of government in growing the creative industries is vital.
Internationally UNESCO’s convention clearly recognizes State’s rights to “implement policies and measures that they deem appropriate for the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions on their territory.” While the UNDP Human Development Report calls on governments to take “issues of culture to the mainstream of development thinking and practice.”
International recognition of government’s rights and roles is one thing but striking the balance of subsidies and intervention lies with national government and local policy planners. The Work Foundation stated clearly that policy and implementation challenges are “both for how government support for the creative economy is structured and operates at a number of levels, and for the industries themselves.”
The warning of the Work Foundation echoed the original question in 1997 of Chris Smith, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, when he first set out to bring together cultural policy and creative industry policy. It is important to recall that the government simply sought to understand the “the key features of a creative nation, why this should in any case be of any importance to individual citizens, and what – if anything – a government can do to help.”