Image Credit: Jakob Dalbjörn
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The Beyond the Hype: Re-wiring the Growth Agenda conference in Norwich brought together over one hundred UK cultural leaders, funders and Local Enterprise Partnership representatives.
Over 24 hours, delegates explored the best new thinking and practice around how culture and the creative industries can play a bigger role in the UK’s economic growth.
BOP presented on two key areas. Senior Consultant Eleanor Jubb, discussed strategies for inclusive growth with Dick Penny from Watershed, Amy Vaughan Director for Touring and East, Arts Council England, and Chris Starkie, CEO of New Anglia LEP. Jonathan Todd, Chief Economist, presented ideas generated from the Cultural Cities Enquiry; you can read more about BOP’s work with this project here.
Takeaways from the conference included:
Economic Growth isn’t just about surplus, it is also about wages and who receives them. Cultural organisations often aren’t motivated by making a profit, and even for those that are, profits are often a mechanism to reinvest or to distribute to employees (as the recent announcement of employee ownership at Aardman illustrates). But how wages are shared and who they go to is a key challenge for everyone in the sector. We need to critically review who is benefiting from creative employment and address some difficult issues around diversity and inequality
Embrace the gig economy; it is here to stay. For many in the creative sector, this isn’t a new phenomenon. But we do need to think about how to make the gig economy fair and accessible; how do we think creatively about pensions, parental leave and provision for illness when workers move from job to job? How can we develop the pipeline of creative talent when there aren’t training positions for them to develop in? Rose Marley, from SharpFutures in Manchester explained how they are doing just this through matching young people with short term contract opportunities in the film and TV sector
Articulate how culture can contribute. We heard from New Anglia LEP about their focus on productivity and inclusive growth, and from Prof Jonothan Neelands on Coventry’s application for Capital of Culture. In both places, the case for culture is linked to wider aims through a clear theory of change. Having this clear local narrative is key to making the case for cultural investment to those outside the sector and the local industrial strategies provide a key opportunity to do this.
The language of growth can be off putting to the cultural sector. But it is essential we encourage dialogue that explores the real value of culture for industrial strategy and economic development. Not because that is all culture can give us, but because through this we can put culture at the centre of inclusive, sustainable development.
Placing culture at the centre of growth
Headlines from the Beyond the Hype conference
Nov 15, 2018
A global research and consulting practice for culture and the creative economy
Nov 4, 2021
How are major cities around the world responding to climate change through cultural policies and programmes?
The Green World Cities of Tomorrow: Culture and Sustainability
Apr 22, 2021
5 Priorities for World Cities in the post-covid recovery period
Culture and the Climate Emergency
Dec 4, 2020
Culture can play an important role in recovery and renewal across the UK, if the right local decision-making is put in place
Culture and the Recovery: Levelling Up Culture?
Sep 23, 2020
This focused, coordinated set of measures can not only rescue the sector, but position it to lead the recovery
Central London’s celebrated cultural offer is in peril
Aug 21, 2020
Three big questions as applications close for Arts Council England’s Cultural Recovery Fund
COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #3
Jul 30, 2020
The UK’s £1.57 billion recovery package: priorities for a New Deal
COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #2
Jul 20, 2020
Cities are using their unique capabilities to lead recovery and renewal
COVID-19: Cities, Culture and the 3 ‘P’s: powers, partnerships, place
Jul 7, 2020
Investing in recovery, planning for transformation
COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #1
Jun 30, 2020
Recovery and renewal will depend on how we address the three dimensions of the crisis
COVID-19 is a triple blow to culture and the creative industries
Jun 3, 2020
In the face of radical uncertainty leaders and policy-makers will have to take planning and collaboration to whole a new level
‘Plans are useless, planning is essential’
May 13, 2020
Nobody knows what will happen next, but we have a good idea of the three necessary steps out of the crisis
Relief, Recovery and Renewal: navigating our way to a new kind of future
By BOP Consulting
Jonathan is an economist with over a decade’s experience in impact assessment and evaluation, and high-level policy experience, particularly within the cultural and creative sectors.
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