From Turner and William Blake to Damien Hirst and Banksy, from Edward Elgar and Andrew Lloyd Webber to The Beatles and Freddie Mercury, the list of internationally acclaimed British artists and musicians is endless. And I think it’s safe to say that we all agree that the UK is a global leader in producing creative legends J. As a nation, the UK is creative, innovative and often (amicably) disruptive (which is often a key component in sparking artistic genius) – these are qualities which are engrained in our history and have been nurtured through generations.
The UK’s creative industry has surged in the past decade, and Millenials are at the forefront of leading the boom in the industry and dictating the future direction of the creative industry. The creative industries include advertising, architecture, crafts, design, film, games, publishing, museums/galleries, music, technology and television, and official statistics from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in 2014 showed that the creative industries are worth a whopping £71 billion to the UK economy.
The importance of the creative industries in the UK therefore cannot be underestimated. Creative arts being a core element of education in the UK has fostered and developed artistic talent and flair which has fuelled an industry increasingly responsible for the UK’s international standing. Employment in creative arts is fast exceeding the 5.6% (of all UK jobs) when last reported, and is currently providing over 1.71 million jobs. The industry accounts for 11% of the UK’s exports (take the example of the Natural History Museum’s exhibitions in over 65 countries) and is responsible for more than 10% of the UK’s GDP. The industry has been key in encouraging creative innovation and overcoming private sector reluctance to invest in what they see as ‘risky’ projects (did you know that the commercial success of War Horse was inspired from puppetry on show at the Battersea Arts Centre?), and is also associated with around 10 million inbound visits to the UK from tourists engaging with arts and culture (that equates to a huge 32% of all visits to the UK!). Furthermore, the creative industries are key to the success of the creative IT and software businesses, and as we continue to progress in a tech-dominated world, benefits to other associated industries will continue to be seen.
It is the responsibility of Millenials and their future generations to keep this creative boom going. In 2014, the Creative Industries Council launched CreateUK (the first ever industry-led project to ensure growth and secure further jobs in the creative arts industry in the UK and internationally), and public funding of arts and culture is now a hot topic of contention. The UK is set to continue to be the leading global hub for creative industries in decades to come, and the industry will serve as a vital catalyst for economic regeneration of the UK.
A quote of common contention is whether Winston Churchill, when asked to cut arts funding in favour of the war effort, simply replied “Then what are we fighting for?”. Whether or not this quote is accurate is not the debating point; its value lies in evoking dialogue and initiating action on addressing the importance of creative arts to the UK’s history and future.
For further resources for those setting up their own creative arts business: