NESTA: A Manifesto for the Creative Economy

First published on Wed, April 24, 2013.

NESTA have launched an ambitious new manifesto for the creative economy which sets out to identify what policymakers, educators, businesses and regulators need to do to ensure that the UK’s creative economy thrives in the coming decade.

According to the manifesto, the UK’s creative industries are “continuing to experience a heady mix of dynamic growth, a proliferation of new business models, as well as stunning new technologies that are making culture even more intense and engaging”. However, as the digital revolution accelerates and we enter what NESTA have called a ‘new industrial revolution’, there is need for a radical new approach to policy issues affecting the creative sector, from copyright and finance to education and skills.

The report argues that although the UK has historically boasted one of the most successful creative economies, it runs the risk of falling behind competitors because UK policymakers have failed to keep pace with developments in North America and parts of Asia.

The manifesto sets out ten areas where policy refreshment is urgent. Proposals include:

  • The government should adapt its definition of the creative industries and the wider creative economy to reflect the fact that the creative industries operate in a technology landscape which has changed beyond recognition since 1998, when the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) first grouped together 13 business sectors whose connections had hitherto not been recognised by policy.
  • All teenagers should have the opportunity to learn creative digital skills as part of a fusion in the curriculum covering technology and art, as well as maths, science and the humanities.
  • Steps should be taken to bridge the disconnect between what UK creative businesses need from graduates and what universities are teaching them.
  • Policy tools designed to incentivise innovation, from tax relief to procurement rules, should be adapted to the needs of the creative economy. 

The manifesto traces the changes the creative economy has undergone since it was first recognised by policy makers in the 1990s. 

Meanwhile, Creative & Cultural Skills have commissioned many of the leading players in these developments to reflect on the ways the sector is changing and the challenges it faces for the launch of ‘After The Crunch: Revisited’, a series of newly commissioned articles reflecting on the state of the UK creative economy since the start of the global recession.

The articles are available to be read here, and new articles will be published on a fortnightly basis.

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