This Tuesday I attended a very expensive conference called ‘Supporting Creative Industries’. It wasn’t nearly as useful as I’d hoped – and I know a number of other delegates felt the same. As I understand it, the government definition of creative industries includes 13 disciplines, including fashion, advertising, the arts, films, new media, advertising, publishing, design etc. Unfortunately, the only ones which seem to get any attention are new media, film and design. I was very disappointed at the narrow focus of the sessions, which not only failed to touch on important issues such as IP, publishing, live performance and so on, but also seemed to be entirely aimed at Higher Educational establishments. Those of us who were employers, arts organisations or local authorities just sat there wondering where our four hundred quid had gone.

Lord Taylor was the government representative at the opening session – he’s chair of the cross-party Music Committee, and was apparently “briefed by BIS” (the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills). He gave us a very entertaining after-dinner speech about being stopped at a US airport and asked whether the fact that it said ‘Lord’ on his passport meant he was claiming to be Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, it was 10.45 in the morning and it was neither the time nor the place. He made a very poor showing fielding audience questions. If you’re signed up to you can see what I mean.

My impression is that the government is only interested in high-profile, money-making areas of industry, but that I suppose is not surprising given its colour. They are not capable of taking the imaginative leap and realise that most people won’t make much money for themselves in the arts, but the arts makes loads of money AND other things for the nation. Gormless nitwits.

Later on, I heard the news that the government will no longer be promoting or supporting any qualifications, but leaving them to market forces. This is another typical example of Tory myopia. Some schools will take the initiative and go for the iGCSE or develop the Creative and Media Diploma or whatever. Others will go for the exams which give the best results – causing marking inflation (as formerly deplored by M Gove) and, very quickly, a decrease in the range of qualifications available to students. It is also a huge waste of the large amounts of developmental money and time that have gone into creating new, modern qualifications in the past ten years.

Altogether a very depressing day, in spite of Will Hutton coming in at the end to talk some intelligent sense (though I didn’t necessarily agree with everything HE said, either).

Off to Brussels next week for the European Cultural and Creative Industries Summit. Could be a real scream – I hope not in the Edvard Munch sense of the word.

Published in: on June 18, 2010 at 12:50  Comments (1)  

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  1. Crikey, wouldn’t it be great if ‘Lord’ Taylor (peace and blessings be upon him) read this! What an irritant this whole conference seems to have been. I think you should ask for your money back, then keep us posted. Sounds like mis-selling to me.

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