Wednesday, 24 March 2010

summer school

Back after a year's sabbatical, with another inspiring Summer School...

News & Commentary: The Creative Economy and the Recovery

What is the 'New Normal' for the creative economy? It is instructive to compare how the creative economy's role in recovery is being discussed in different part of the world.

The Developing World

In developing countries, and particularly in Asia, creative industries are being embraced as central to growth: in Indonesia, Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand (or in Thai), South Africa, Taiwan, even Myanmar and, of course, China.

The message is clear. The developed world does not own the knowledge economy. This generation of Asian entrepreneurs has exactly the same technologies that the developed world has used to build up service-based economies, and they are intent on transforming their countries.


In Europe a steady stream of policy papers, meetings and projects continue to advocate that culture and creativity are at the heart of European competitiveness. But how can the creative economy reach out to transform the performance and innovation capacity of traditional industries? This is surely the key issue facing the European Commission's upcoming strategy for the cultural and creative industries.

This question is explored in an inspiring programme of events at Ruhr Capital of Culture 2010. But with its visionary themes exploring post-modern European identity, industry and the metropolis, are vast public interventions like these now a thing of the past? With one half of the Euro zone picking up the bill for the other half's deficits for the next decade, the EU's most pressing practical challenge is to find a way of policy-making that does not involve spending so much money.

Perhaps not surprising, Iceland's Industry Minister gets it.

United Kingdom

Ahead of the May election, the UK is braced for major cuts in public spending, but the major political parties are eerily positive about culture and the creative economy. All promise the world's best environment for media entrepreneurs, the world's best broadband, a smaller BBC, reduced overheads at the Arts Council and more philanthropy. Will a new government abolish the Regional Development Agencies (see also here, here), or replace them with local 'enterprise partnerships'? Ominously, the arts 'will have to bear their share of the pain'.

There is more clarity from the Confederation of British Industry, which calls for a recalibration of the UK economy and promises to champion the creative industries' success.

And NESTA's recent research report Mass Localism, …offers a wake up call to Government, who need to tap into the vast reservoir of ingenuity which exists within local communities. The next generation of solutions to social problems will come not from Whitehall but from local groups. This is an idea that Creative Clusters has advocated for years, and is (again) a core theme of our Summer School.

Even The Times is arguing (sniffily) for a shift from financial to creative industries. Perhaps they heard that Bath's creative industries "generate more money even than the tourism and retail industries".


The Copyright Industries in the U.S. Economy Report spells out which is still the world's leading creative economy: In 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, the real annual growth rates achieved by both the core and total copyright industries were more than twice the real growth rates achieved by the U.S. economy as a whole…. In 2006-2007, the core copyright industries contributed 22.74% of the real growth achieved for the U.S. economy as a whole. In the same period, the total copyright industries contributed an astounding 43.06% of total real U.S. growth.

Trying as ever to stay ahead of the curve, Richard Florida's new book, The Great Reset, due out in April, argues that a true recovery will require a complete break from the consumption lifestyle and a move towards a new economic model that is actually sustainable.

But what kind of lifestyle is that? At a local level in the USA, the creative economy conversation is getting less and less about software designers and film-makers, and more about semi-professional artists and subsistence craftspeople: Colorado, Hartford, Connecticut, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Duluth, Wisconsin, Salisbury, Connecticut, Rahway, New Jersey, Boston, to take a few random examples.

Perhaps they share the apocalyptic but strangely compelling vision of the BBC's Requiem for Detroit, which shows a city built for two million with only 800,000 people now left, where the principal growth industry, urban farming, is led by artists, musicians and social pioneers: a thrilling piece of film-making that swooped through the city's history and its spectacular blossoming into the hub of the global automobile industry, before charting its equally astounding decline. So is this what happens in Europe if we fail to keep up with Asia?


Creative Clusters Summer School: 5-8th July 2010
Entrepreneurship, Workspace and the Local Creative Economy

We address all this and more at the second Creative Clusters Summer School, taking place again in Huddersfield, UK, from 5th to 8th July 2010. The School is intensely practical. Through guided visits to model projects and honest interaction with experienced professionals, we demonstrate practical solutions in action, and show how they can be customised for the participants' own localities.

In-depth exposure to the detail of creative economy projects and policies through collaborative learning, visits, focus groups, seminars, social and networking events.
Behind-the-scenes insights into leading creative workspaces that are contributing to the transformation of their local economies: The Media Centre, Huddersfield, the Workstation, anchor building in Sheffield's Cultural Industries Quarter; and Saltaire's dramatic Salt's Mill.
We show the pitfalls and perils as well as success stories. The projects we visit are all works in progress, all evolving, and we will look at the setbacks as well as the successes.
Active engagement with the master-planning process for one of the UK's most challenging towns: Dewsbury. We will analysis the issues and develop solutions, working alongside local people, planning experts and the regional regeneration community.
Interaction, formal and informal, with practising creative entrepreneurs.
Guest lectures from leading experts in the regional creative economy.
Great social events: evening meals in some of Yorkshire's finest gastro-pubs, and a final dinner in the beautiful setting of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Substantial learning support: an in-course Workbook and digital archive of working documents from quarters and clusters around the world.
Widely experienced Course Leaders: Simon Evans (Director, Creative Clusters Ltd) and Lee Corner (Consultant and Trainer, LAC Ltd).
Participation by seasoned local partners: Integreat, Yorkshire Forward, The Media Centre, Huddersfield, Sheffield Media and Exhibition Centre, Kirklees MBC, CIDA, Salt's Mill.
The Creative Clusters Summer School will help you:

Deepen your insight
Galvanise your project
Focus your commitment
Build your confidence
Extend your network
To find out more, go to

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