Creatives need a strong collective voice

David Revell’s column (Design Business, DW 27 Oct) struck a resounding chord with the creative community in Lancashire.

On 19 October, The Hub launched GroupHub, a forum specifically for creatives in Lancashire. The rationale is twofold: to provide a platform on which Lancashire designers, copywriters, photographers, illustrators and Web developers can gather, exchange perspectives and develop as professionals; and to provide a cohesive identity and collective voice, to communicate the value of its work to the wider business community.

The Hub is delivering this initiative via a series of informal, bar-based gatherings, featuring leading lights from the Northern creative scene. Building on this, we’ve also got more formal development vehicles in the pipeline for phase two.

The backdrop to the launch of GroupHub brings the need for business-led, regional initiatives such as these into stark relief. Recent Design Council research has characterised the design industry as an immature adolescent, brimming with talent and enthusiasm, yet lacking in organisation and the ability to effectively communicate the commercial value of its work.

As we all optimistically anticipate the Cox Review and renewed political interest in the design community, the Design Business Association is expressing concern that our immature industry won’t be able to cope with the demand that may result.

To address these shortcomings, self-organisation at a regional level, with a sense of shared identity and a confident, articulate, collective voice is a prerequisite.

While we all applaud the efforts of the Design Council and the DBA at a national level, creatives in the regions need to start talking to each other – and the outside world – if this surge of political will is to break a wave outside the city centres.

Steven Johnson, Creative director, The Hub, Leyland, Lancashire, PR26 6PD

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