Creative forum could return

London could once again host an annual international creative conference, comparable to the World Creative Forum, a Green Paper due out in December is likely to suggest. The Creative Economy Programme Green Paper was due out last month, but publication was delayed following Gordon Brown’s appointment of James Purnell (pictured) as the new Culture Secretary. ‘If it goes ahead, the World Creative Economy Forum is going to have to be amazing, very high profile and no less than the world’s leading creative conference,’ says a source close to the consultation process. ‘It will be a big showcase of creative talent from around the world, similar in format to the World Creative Forum,’ the source confirms.

For the past two years, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has been consulting with the design industry on a range of new measures to establish the UK as ‘the world’s creative broker’, including the establishment of the World Creative Economy Forum. Last year, the originator of the ill-fated WCF, John Sorrell, chaired a group on the Creative Economy Programme. The WCF ran for two years as the centrepiece to the London Design Festival before being shelved in 2005 due to low attendance and lack of funding. Like its predecessor, the new forum is described in the working group report as operating ‘in a similar way to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It will feature the UK’s expertise as a world leader in creative knowledge’.

Unlike the WCF, the new conference will not suffer from under-investment, claims the source. ‘Luckily, there is no shortage of money for it, most of which would probably be from private investment,’ the source says.

A DCMS spokesman says that the idea has proved one of the most popular measures on a list that includes setting up a design research Web tool, and creating a workspace and networking facility for the UK called The Octagon.

The WCEF could have competition, however. Only last month, South Africa’s Ravi Naidoo told Design Week that he was planning a world creative conference to take place in London in late 2008.

January 2006 – Consultation on Creative Economy Programme begins
March 2007 – CEP design summit in London, attended by Design, Council, Ravensbourne College, Sebastian Conran and others
December 2007 – CEP Green Paper to be published
January 2008 – Green Paper consultation period will begin.
The World Creative Economy Forum is unlikely to require new UK  legislation, so to go ahead it will not need a formal White Paper

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