I was pleased to be invited to the recent launch of this report into the significance of the creative economy of Culture Mile, based on research I carried out in 2018. And it’s great that the City of London has grasped the importance of culture and the creative industries as a driver of innovation and growth. The full report can be found here.
However, particularly in our present circumstances, I feel I need to point out that the Lord Mayor’s summary missed two of the report’s most significant findings:
- Culture is a ‘mixed economy’, in which all parts of the supply chain, from freelancers to the largest venue-based organisation, rely on intelligent investment from the public sector (not ‘subsidy’) to provide funding for innovation and growth.
- Those public investments in arts organisations and creative businesses in Culture Mile fuel a nationally significant cluster of R&D in content, technology, user experience and services that have ‘spill over’ benefits in the wider economy, reinforcing the City of London’s position as a commercial, as well as a cultural, capital.
Right now, UK government needs to provide an urgent injection of cash (working capital) to keep the freelancers and arts organisations in work and to keep that engine of innovation running. The UK’s creative sector has grown to be worth more than £100 billion per annum, although starved of revenue funding for the last ten years; there is now no reserve on which those individuals and organisations can draw. The necessary short term fix should inform the direction of future policy.
“The growth of the creative industries across the City has outpaced that in surrounding boroughs, London and the rest of the UK. IT, software and computer services, publishing, advertising and marketing are all large employers, alongside the museums, galleries, and libraries, performing and visual arts professionals clustered in and around Culture Mile.
“The Lord Mayor of London, William Russell, highlighted findings from Culture Mile-commissioned and additional research, which found that creativity is essential to businesses across the City of London, including:
- Companies that foster creativity achieve exceptional revenue growth and a higher market share than their peers.
- Businesses in creative locations are more likely to attract and retain talent;
- Businesses that integrate creativity in their workplace have healthier, more engaged staff
- Putting art in offices can improve productivity by 17% and art interventions and creative art therapies have been shown to reduce stress in employees by 81%”