Creative industries “need joined-up approach and investment in skills”

The newly published Warwick Report has called for an overhaul of Government policy on creativity and education.

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Britain’s creative industries need a joined-up approach to policy-making and more investment in education and skills if they are to continue to grow, according to a new report.

The Warwick Commission has published its report Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth, which it describes as “a blueprint for greater cultural and creative success – towards a national plan for how culture and creativity can further enrich Britain”.

The Warwick Commission is led by Vikki Heywood, chair of the Royal Society of Arts, and also features Arts Council England chairman Sir Peter Bazalgette and Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota. The Design Council acted as a strategic partner for the report.

Design Council chief executive John Mathers says: “It became increasingly clear as the Commission progressed through last year that there was a real danger that the cultural and creative sectors could have been overly conflated in the report. While I recognise that there is still some work to do to understand the overlaps and the inter-connections – and particularly the hard evidence behind why a strong cultural education fosters greater creativity in the long run – the report does much to make the differences clear.”

He adds: “It’s fantastic news that the report has clearly triggered some real response from politicians. Obviously there have been a number of other factors at play – the incredibly strong and compelling statistics around the sector that have come from DCMS, the birth of the Creative Industries Federation, which threatens to become the CBI of the creative industries to name but two – but Ed Miliband’s commitment last night at the Battersea Arts Centre to put art and culture at the heart of government and to move culture and creativity from the margins to the mainstream have to be applauded. As he said when questioned how serious he was, lets keep his feet to the flames if he plays any part in our next government.”

The report has been designed by Creative Triangle
The report has been designed by Creative Triangle

Among the proposals made in the report are:

There should be more joined-up policy-making for the creative industries.

The report calls on the Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Business, Innovation and Skills and Education to produce “a national plan for the publicly funded arts, culture and heritage sector”. This national plan would cover aspects such as securing investment for the creative industries, diversifying the workforce in the sector and developing participation in creative activities.

All children should receive a cultural education up to the age of 16

The report’s authors say that Ofsted and the Department for education should aim to ensure “lifelong engagement and enjoyment” of creativity through the education system. The report says: “There are major concerns that the educational system is not focussing on the future needs of the cultural and creative industries and the broader needs for innovation and growth in the UK.” It adds: “There is a general agreement within the cultural and creative industries and industry more broadly that the Government’s focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) should include the Arts (STEAM).

There should be more investment in skills training and apprenticeships

The report calls on Government to ensure that there is “appropriate” training at higher and further education level for the creative and cultural industries. This would include the development of a national Creative Apprenticeship brokerage service.

There should be a new investment model for the creative industries

The report’s authors say they want DCMS to work with public and private investors to create a new investment model for the publicly funded creative sector. They also call for a “board bank” to be set up – a pool of potential board members with commercial knowledge that could join creative organisations.

Statistics on diversity in the creative industries should be published

The Commission says it is “concerned to discover” that no in-depth statistical analysis of socio-economic backgrounds of the creative industries workforce has been published. This, it says, is despite the fact that data is available through the Office for National Statistics. The creative and cultural sectors should “lead the national diversity agenda” by ensuring their workforces are widely representative, the report says.

There should be regional equality

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport should aim to reduce the “discrepancy in the cultural offer in the regions and that in the capital”, the report says. This could involve auditing the amount of public spending for each audience member and giving national organisations responsibility for driving regional strategies.

Creative Skillset and Creative & Cultural Skills should merge

The report calls for skills and talent development to be rationalised and the two relevant sector skills councils to be merged into one organisation.

The industry should support the Creative Industries Federation

The Creative Industries Federation was set up at the end of last year, and describes itself as “the UK’s first independent membership organisation for the creative industries”. Its members include the BBC, the Design Council and the Design Business Association and it is promising a programme of lobbying and regional activity. The report says it welcomes the launch of the organisation, alongside the already existing Creative Industries Council.

A “digital public space” for the common good should be established

The Commission says it supports the concept of developing a Digital Public Space, which would be free from any political and commercial interference and “created solely for the public good”. It says this would grow over time to become “a kind of ‘digital library’ of the UK’s artistic and cultural assets”.


You can read the report in full here.

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