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Creative Clusters 2005, Belfast: Themes

Investing in Creativity

Creative businesses are adept at drawing in money from a variety of sources: through personal investment by the entrepreneur, grants for arts, inventions or other forms of research and creativity, grants for business start-up and regeneration, private research and development spending, angel investment, loans and loan guarantee schemes, philanthropy, tax incentives – and perhaps many more.

But does this indicate a cornucopia of riches, or a grand confusion? Research has shown that a lack of finance is inhibiting the growth of the sector. Who can and should fill this gap: banks, government bodies, private companies, individuals, universities? How and on what terms?

We will examine the various instruments that are available to pay for the creation of new intellectual property, and ask how different forms of financing affect the creative, social and business outcomes of an enterprise.

Against the background of growing global awareness that creative industries are essential for sustaining productivity and a competitive advantage, we will try to get a better understanding about public and private spending on creativity.

Delivering Skills for Creativity

Instead of offering standardised services and mass-produced goods with long shelf-lives, creative industries sell customised products, short-life goods and highly personalised cheap oakley sunglasses service. So creative workers need a host of skills and abilities that past jobs have rarely required: curiosity, imagination, confidence, interpersonal and networking skills, fashion and design-sense, emotional intelligence, entrepreneurship, flexibility and intercultural sensitivity.

And this is not a sector-specific issue: creative industries are at the leading edge of changes affecting all businesses, and employees like this are increasingly needed across the whole economy.

This strand of Creative Clusters invites educators, policy-makers, creative entrepreneurs and producers to articulate and explore the challenges this presents. How do we ensure that employers and individuals have access to appropriate education and training? How can we improve the vocational relevance of qualifications? How do we evolve our education and training infrastructure, much of which was designed for a former age, into one that deliver the creative skills now needed? What models of good practise are there?

Inclusion Through Creativity

A charge common levelled at the creative industries development is that the only real beneficiaries are urban-loft-living yuppies in developed-world capital cities, and that the net outcome of the sector’s global growth is to concentrate media ownership in fewer hands at huge cost to cultural and linguistic diversity. Against this it is argued that creativity knows no social barriers, and that in the creative economy toleration, diversity and inclusion are central to competitive advantage and so in the long run must thrive. This strand of Creative Clusters will unravel some of these issues.

We throw the spotlight on policies, strategies and projects addressing media exclusion and the digital divide. Will creative industries growth alone bring with it increased cheap oakleys opportunity, empowerment and inclusion for marginalised groups? If not, what intervention strategies are most effective? Are measures needed to help small towns, rural areas and remote locations cope with the drain of their young creative people to the big city? Can everywhere be a creative cluster?

Meanwhile, many developing countries are beginning to see the potential of their vast cultural and creative assets, and we will explore how surprising new connections are being forged between poorer countries and this dynamic sector of the global economy. Should we read into this the potential for new patterns in world trade and power?