The UK’s Creative Industries Federation has today announced it is to launch an International Advisory Council. The IAC will discover and share examples of best practice, policy and innovation in the arts, creative industries and cultural education worldwide with the aim of harnessing opportunities and measuring risk.
Established in 2015, CIF is an independent membership body uniting the UK’s arts, creative industries and cultural education sector, carrying out policy work, research and advocacy to support the success and future growth of the sector.
Chaired by diplomat Tom Fletcher, CIF says the IAC body will be made up of a mix of British-based experts with an international perspective and experts from overseas.
Said Fletcher: ‘As a diplomat, I have seen the huge power and potential of the UK’s extraordinary creative industries. I am excited at the prospect of playing a more active role in ensuring we continue to be a world leader.
‘The 21st century will throw huge change at us. The strongest economies will be those that prioritise their creative industries. This is the urgent and vital task ahead of us.’
He also warned that Britain has lessons to learn from around the world if it wants to safeguard its position as a global cultural powerhouse.
The first confirmed members of IAC are: Hasan Bakhshi, senior director, creative economy and data analytics, creative industries, at Nesta; Anne-Britt Gran, director, Centre for Creative Industries at Norwegian Business School and secretary, Norwegian Government Council for Cultural and Creative Industries; Roly Keating, chief executive, British Library; Andrej Kupetz, chief executive, German Design Council; Ruth Mackenzie, artistic director, Holland Festival; Jairaj Mashru, founder, Bombay Innovation Group and programme director, Indian School of Design and Innovation; Linda Merrick, principal, Royal Northern College of Music; Martin Roth, director, Victoria and Albert Museum; Dr Krishna Thiagarajan, chief executive, Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Phil Thomas, chief executive, Lions Festivals (including Cannes Lions).
The establishment of IAC is not a knee-jerk reaction to the recent #Brexit vote, as the work was planned long before the EU referendum, but has, says CIF, taken on added urgency in the light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU. (In its own survey, CIF members voted 96 per cent Remain.)
Sir John Sorrell, designer, UK Business Ambassador and Federation founder, said the marginalisation of creative subjects in schools and the political and economic instability the country now faces were immediate threats to continued British success.
‘Our arts and creative industries are world-beating but we must not be complacent. Other countries have also recognised the enormous opportunities presented by the creative industries and are investing to support them.
‘We [in the UK] are a global cultural powerhouse but we need to do much more – including in education – if we want to stay at the top of the game.’
New analysis produced by BOP Consulting for the Federation highlights the enormous rise in demand for the UK’s creative services and products overseas. But UK goods export growth rate currently lags behind other key economies at 4 per cent compared with China (15 per cent), Germany and France (both 7 per cent) and Korea (6 per cent). Half the UK’s export markets are in Europe.
The research also highlights the growing number of international students coming to study in the UK. Around 90,000 Chinese students are now coming each year for creative subjects and the number of students from some other countries is rising even faster. International students studying arts or creative subjects in the UK now comprise 16 per cent of the total.
Fletcher was former foreign policy advisor to three British prime ministers (Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron), British ambassador to Lebanon, and is the author of Naked Diplomacy: Power and Statecraft in the Digital Age (HarperCollins, 2016).