It's undeniable that UK creativity should be boasted about on a global scale, and The Drum Network's Create Britain platform provides the perfect soapbox.
The moment my plane touched down in London was the moment I knew I’d never leave. Six months later, I moved my Canadian agency across the pond. Ten years later, I’m still here. London can do that to a person. The capital is a magnet for creativity; the UK is the ultimate host for any creative industry you can name. Biased as it may be, The Department for International Trade goes so far as to say that the UK is the best possible creative partner for any other nation worldwide.
And why not? The creative industries contributed £84.1bn to the British economy in 2014 and grew three times as fast as the rest of the economy. Figures released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport show that creative companies now account for over 5% of the economy, with the UK’s creative industries generating nearly £9.6m per hour.
Interestingly, where creatives go, prosperity tends to follow. In fact, academics have noted that the mere presence of creative people in areas offering inspiration (and affordable studio space), creates more 'fashionability', leading to more affluence. Take Shoreditch. In 2007 my flat overlooked the little-known and rarely visited Shoreditch Park, an abandoned patch of dirt home to stolen, burnt out mopeds. Now, the same park features a climbing rock, endless summer music festivals and a beach volleyball court. Nearby is the aptly named ‘Silicon Roundabout’, the entrance to London’s creative hub.
But in the early hours of 24 June last year, as the Brexit votes were tallied, fears began to surface that all of this could change. In September, the government’s Culture, Media and Sport committee launched an inquiry into the impact of Brexit on the creative industries, raising questions including what may happen in the event of loss of EU funding, alterations of access to the “Digital Single Market” and reduced availability of international talent. While the submission process for the inquiry is still open, the wider creative community has been quick to come out fighting.
National Theatre boss Rufus Norris told the BBC: “We remain resolutely committed to increasing our collaboration with friends and colleagues across the UK, in Europe and around the world.” Secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport John Whittingdale stated that “Our creative industries will continue to thrive and take advantage of the new opportunities which are opening up to do business across the world.” And the chief of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), Geoff Taylor, assured the public that “British music will remain hugely popular across Europe”.
Not only that, there’s been a distinct lack of doom and gloom from the advertising industry, where Zenith’s advertising expenditure report forecasted 5.4 per cent growth in 2016. Although the Brexit vote, according to Zenith, came as a “shock to many in the market”, advertisers have so far reacted “calmly, with no widespread budget reductions”.
Optimism can go a long way, but creativity cannot survive in a vacuum. It is inherently collaborative – think of Lennon and McCartney, Scorsese and Schoonmaker, Ben and Jerry. Experts agree that creativity depends on outside sources of inspiration and interaction. Socio-cultural psychologist Vera John-Steiner proves the theory in research that shows even the most celebrated individuals – like Picasso, Einstein and Warhol – depended on creative collaboration to push themselves further.
Which brings us to Create Britain. Launched in the wake of the Brexit vote, The Drum Network’s new initiative features an interactive map encouraging investors and talent alike to prove that the UK remains the booming creative hub it has always been. Organisations large and small can claim their pin by submitting a short video boasting about the UK’s creativity and proclivity for global collaborations. There are no hard and fast rules and this profile is absolutely free – on one condition: creativity must be prominently on display.
The timing of Create Britain is crucial. Brexit may mean Brexit, but content is still king. And with two-thirds of online content now in video form, the creation of thumb-stopping, chest-thumping Create Britain films is a sure way to tell the whole world that the thriving creative industries of the UK are wide open for business.
Make your mark on Create Britain. Frank & Lively have crafted a menu of video packages to make your contribution inspirational (and affordable). Your film earns you a place on the Create Britain map, will be featured at an upcoming Drum Network event, and garner your profile in The Drum. Contact Marcie MacLellan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (0) 20 3627 6227.
This article was originally published in The Drum Network January newsletter.