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Creative Clusters 2008, Glasgow: Themes

The Creative Economy in Smaller Nations

Looking at the creative economy from the point of view of the world’s smaller nations and regions.

In the ‘winner takes all’ world of the creative economy, it is increasingly apparent that issues facing the creative industries in smaller nations are substantially different from those in larger ones. Experience from nations that have been vigorously pursing creative economy policies, such as Singapore, New Zealand, Ireland, Sweden, Austria and Scotland, has thrown up some key challenges:

> Against competition from global media giants, just getting started in the creative economy is a daunting task for small nations. In a crowded media world, how can small nations develop a credible and distinctive creative voice?

> What is the relationship between the national culture and the national creative economy? Should small nations regard their national broadcaster, their publishing, music and film industries, as essential elements of the cultural infrastructure alongside their national theatres and museums? Indeed, can these arts institutions prosper without embedding themselves in the creative economy?
> As globalisation brings ever-increasing levels of economic inter-dependence, what level of creative independence does a nation need? How much foreign direct investment in the creative economy is desirable? Does the presence of strong foreign firms encourage or crowd out national creative talent?
> In larger nations, which can afford separate policy structures for cities and rural areas, creative industries are very much an urban phenomenon. But smaller nations need a more holistic approach, which takes into account the closer relationship between cities and rural areas. How can they turn this to advantage?
> Is there a special role for the creative industries in building national self-confidence cheap oakley and international reputation? How can government, the tourist industry, traditional culture and creative business best work together?
> Is a strong place-based identity good for business? Some small nations emphasise their distinctive national brands, while others seek to position themselves as players in a supra-national global culture. Can small nations get the best of both strategies?
> For some small nations, the number of people claiming a cultural affiliation who live abroad exceeds the population at home. Do these diasporas represent a special opportunity for the creative economy – and not just because of their wealth?

For small nations, what strategies, and what practical policy measures, will help identify and develop a competitive advantage? How does a small nation turn globalisation into an opportunity rather than a threat?

What makes a ‘Creative Nation’?

The Moving Image Goes Online: harnessing audio-visual media for the regional economy

The rise of file-sharing, YouTube, the use of viewer-donated clips in mainstream newscasts, major TV channels available on the web – these are just a few signs of the internet’s emergence as a global distribution channel for moving images.

Film and television bring big benefits to a local creative economy, building prestige, confidence and identity as well as encouraging enterprise and employment. At present, the focus for economic development is to attract the big networks, and establish them as hubs around which other media businesses can cluster – as in Glasgow’s Pacific Quay and Salford’s Media City.

But as the moving image industry goes online (and goes mobile), existing producers and broadcasters restructure, rethink their business models, and opportunities emerge for new businesses. How are economic development agencies to keep up with this? How can cities and regions position themselves to attract the next generation of audio-visual producers, and distributors?

The wide-ranging Scottish Broadcasting Commission recommended in September 2008 that Scotland create its own digital network for public service broadcasting. Creative Clusters includes discussion of this major new initiative, alongside case studies from other parts of the world.

Policies for Festivity: the creative economy and live events

A seeming paradox of the internet age is that live events of all kinds are enjoying unprecedented growth.

From Beijing to Manchester, Dublin to Singapore, cities are investing in cultural events to drive economic development and to tell the world, and their own citizens, what they are and what they will cheap oakley sunglasses become. It is now accepted wisdom that major events improve regional competitiveness and attract inward investment by positioning the host as a knowledge and cultural leader.

In the music industry, record shops and CD sales may be declining, but live music of all kinds is booming. Broadcasting and film are involved in increasingly complex tie-ins with live activities. Meanwhile, new technology has made possible entirely new kinds of live event: from flash mobs to concerts in Second Life.

We discuss the revival of the live event, and examine how policy-makers around the world are helping their cities’ events and festivals to prosper.

Strategic Leadership in the Creative Economy

The creative economy, with its economic, cultural and social dimensions, calls for multidisciplinary policy responses and inter-ministerial action. There is growing evidence that many government bodies are responding to this challenge.

April sees the launch of the UN’s first Creative Economy Report, which promises global analysis and high level championship of the potential of the creative economy for developing countries. This initiative results from the UN’s trade, cultural and intellectual property agencies working together to push the creative economy up the world’s development agenda.

February 2007 saw the launch of the UK’s Creative Economy Programme, putting ‘culture and creativity at the heart of national life’, which has been championed across the departments responsible for business, culture, and education.

In Scotland, Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen are making way for Creative Scotland, a new strategic body tasked to advise, support and invest in the arts and creative industries across Scotland. Big new thinking, and big changes are promised, to reflect the new realities of the creative economy in the 21st century. Strategic leadership may cover all areas of creative enterprise, encompassing arts and business; new models of funding are promised; and ‘a seat at the big table of government’ is anticipated. Can Creative Scotland become a role model for other nations – including the UK?

Creative Clusters will include analysis of all these initiatives, and we invite experts and government agencies in other countries to show how they are tackling the cross-cutting challenges posed by rise the creative economy.

In a sector built equally upon input from business, culture and technology, who provides policy leadership?

The Long Story of Glasgow’s Creative Economy

Culture and creativity have been at the heart of Glasgow’s Ray Ban outlet regeneration policies for a generation, from the Garden Festival to the Commonwealth Games, taking in City of Culture, Year of Architecture and Design, UNESCO City of Music, ‘Scotland with Style’ and more.

In particular, Glasgow’s City of Culture, 1990, caught the world’s attention, and changed thinking forever about the role that culture could play in post-industrial city development. Twenty years on from the Garden Festival, we take stock, and ask where Glasgow might be in 2028.