1. Existing Policy
Identify existing cultural and creative industry policy at the international, European, national and local level
First of all there are international, regional and national cultural and creative policies. They can and do play important roles in the economic and social development of countries and creative enterprises. Secondly the goal was to analyse how international and regional issues
were integrated into current UK policy initiatives with the hope of distilling vital lessons and best practice models for countries currently embarking on a similar journey to redefine their creative industries.
The path to a successful local cultural policy is a complex journey of navigating, supporting and endorsing international, regional and national laws, conventions and agreements. A greater understanding of how the UK promotes and protects its creative industries has obvious economic, social and development implications for British cultural institutions and potentially other members of the international community but it isn’t that simple.
The initial assumption at the core of this paper was that cultural and creative policy was drafted and voted on at the international level, re-interpreted and adapted at the European level and finally taken up for implementation by individual countries. This assumption took the form of this study’s title “Do international, regional, and national cultural policies play significant roles in the success of local cultural institutions?”
The assumption was wrong. An important component was left out of the initial question. The success of any policy, creative or otherwise, lies in its ability to empower individuals to live the lives they choose to live. This lesson began to first appear in the review of the existing literature. Appiah, Yunus and Florida underscored the role of the individual in tomorrow’s world.
The core ethos of Cosmopolitanism is one of openly accepting humans and human creations, “I am human: nothing human is alien to me.” Florida through extensive research identified “a common creative ethos that values creativity, individuality, difference and merit,” shared by ever expanding numbers of people. And the experiment of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Yunus proved that even the poorest can be individual, creative entrepreneurs. “Work does not save the poor,” he said, “but it is the capital linked to the poor that saves
The role of the individual was also highlighted by UNDP. Their Human Development Report said the role of government and by extension cultural policy was about “allowing people to lead the kind of life they choose – and providing them with the tools and opportunities to make those choices.” Finally the lesson was clearest during the case study experience. The most effective cultural and creative industry policies will maintain the hopes, desires and choices of the individual at its core.
The strength of the creative economy idea is based on empowering the creative individual. The people who started the London Design Festival are a testament to this belief. Policy that does not enable people to lead the lives they wish to lead will fail in the creative economy.
Chronology of Influence Another error in the initial assumption was about the direction of policy influence. To recall the initial assumption at the core of this study was that cultural and creative policy was drafted and voted on at the international level, reinterpreted and adapted at the European level and finally taken up for implementation by individual countries. In this assumption policy moves from the international level down to national actors.
It is now clear with the example of cultural and creative policy the United Kingdom played a pioneering role. This does not mean that cultural policy did not exist before the 1998 Mapping Document. Cultural policy did exist in the UK and elsewhere. The novelty of the
UK creative industries initiative was its open source approach. It reached across traditional creative, cultural and economic sectors and placed them together on a common and dynamic policy platform. The1998 Mapping document launched the global creative economy movement.
The national government started its first creative industry policy experiment in 1998. It then refined and republished another mapping document in 2001. Then the momentum increased and spread in two directions. In 2002 from the national level it spread into the sub regions of the United Kingdom and into cities. For example, the London Development Agency began work in 2002.
At the same time (2002—2004) negotiations began at the international level on efforts and measures to support cultural and creative industry policy. Work began at UNESCO on the
Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and UNCTAD began preparation for an International Observatory on Creative Industries.
Ten years later, the original UK creative industry policy is still being tested, adapted and implemented within and outside of the country. One can only hope the open source approach to drafting creative and cultural industry policy formulated by the UK is adopted and taken up by other countries as well.