UK’s “first independent membership organisation for the creative industries” launches

The Creative Industries Federation, which describes itself as the “the UK’s first independent membership organisation for the creative industries” has launched with members including the BBC, the Design Council and the Design Business Association.

The federation is the brainchild of Sir John Sorrell and has been in planning since the start of the year, with some initial funding from Arts Council England. Its 230 founder members span the whole range of the creative industries across the public and private sector.

The federation aims to provide lobbying, research and networking across the creative industries. Its director John Kampfner, a former journalist at the Telegraph and the New Statesman, says that its immediate activities will include pre-election lobbying, where “industry leaders will hold political figures to account” as well as regional activities and the formation of a UK council  to represent the creative industries across the country.

In July 2015 the federation says it will present “a definitive study of the competitive position of UK public arts and culture and commercial creative companies”, which it says will be an opportunity to benchmark the UK’s creative industry performance and to discover international best practice.

Speaking at the federation’s launch event at London’s Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, Kampfner said: “Why are the creative industries so successful worldwide yet struggle to be heard at home? Why is creative education so denigrated when it is providing the next generation of talent?

“The Federation will bring together the public arts and commercial creative companies; it will be fearless in challenging politicians and the industry to understand that Britain’s success is imperilled if we fail to invest in our arts and cultural education”.

Also speaking at the launch event, chancellor George Osborne said: “Our creative industries add billions each year to our economy, but their real value can’t only be measured in pounds and pence. Creative firms play a huge part in the cultural life of our country, and in the UK’s global appeal.”

“Tonight’s launch of the Creative Industries Federation is a great opportunity to showcase the best of Britain’s talent, giving them a powerful, single voice across these sectors.”

Membership of the Creative Industries Federation is open to organisations and individuals across the creative sector. Organisations and companies will pay fees based on a sliding scale calculated by revenue, while individuals – of which Kampfner says he hopes there will be “thousands” – will pay a flat rate.

Among the members are design consultancies Made By Many, Tangerine and the Beautiful Meme.

Tom Sharp, creative director of the Beautiful Meme, says: “Should the aims of CIF be delivered, then the advantages of membership I think are many. A bridging of the artificial divide between the ‘public’ and ‘private’ creative sectors. A focus on the creativity of the UK as a whole. A stronger voice for a sector which has remained resilient, innovative and daring in the face of recession.”

John Mathers, chief executive of the Design Council, which is also a member of the federation, says: “I believe it’s a much needed initiative – the creation of an independent, single voice for all public arts, commercial creative industries and cultural education.

“We will be strongly supporting it but, equally, over time we will be working with it so it can effect real change.”

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  • Andrew Penaluna November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    For me the line “Why is creative education so denigrated when it is providing the next generation of talent?” speak volumes. As a designer who has moved into developing enterprising and innovative minds through education, I really welcome this initiative.

  • Anthony Sully November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    What is a creative industry and how many are there? Is there a list?

  • Maxine Horn November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Anthony – you might find this DCMS report useful in answering your question

    A C.I sector wide association may well benefit all C.I sectors if a large enough majority join it to enable it to act as an authoritative lobbyist based on statistical fact, not anedotel evidence.

    Various Governments and their departments over the last three decades have hailed the UK creative industries yet it remains one of the most unsupported sectors financially.

    It will be interesting to see how many C.I firms and individuals grab this opportunity and how quickly. And importantly that they do so to support its purpose rather than link membership of it to a new business financial return.

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