The Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries’ Dr Roberta Comunian and Professor Andy Pratt recently took part in a seminar on Cultural Evidence at London Metropolitan University’s Cities Institute on 7 November. They discussed, along with other experts, the challenge of compiling trustworthy and meaningful evidence on the cultural and creative sectors. The seminar was co-ordinated by Alan Freeman who had previously edited the Greater London Authority reports on cultural employment in London. Alan is now a visiting Professor in the Business School of LMU.
The whole field may seem of limited interest and irrelevant, however in truth it is hard to under estimate this work which has created authoritative frameworks that have enabled the conceptualisation of the cultural and creative industries for theorists and policy makers, which has also made possible the collection of authoritative and trusted information on the cultural and creative industries: the most well known of which have been the mapping documents produced by national and urban governments worldwide. Roberta and Andy are leading academics in this field.
Without such reports, and the reports by UN agencies such as UNESCO and UNCTAD the profile of the creative and cultural industries would not be so high; rightly so, we are now able to point to the scale of employment in the cultural and creative industries, the nature and amount of trade and economic value added. This work has literally revealed an aspect of economic life that we did not previously realise existed. In addition, it has helped us understand the changing nature of cultural consumption. Without such work there would not be the same policy debate about the cultural and creative industries, and less profile of their activities, and most likely programmes like that of MA CCI would be much smaller and few and far between.
Many challenges remain to develop quantitative and qualitative measures that allow us to understand the role of the cultural and creative industries in society and where to collect and analyse evidence that might enable us to understand it’s dynamics.
Links to the GLA reports on the creative economy in London: http://www.london.gov.uk/publication/current-issues-note-33-londons-creative-industries-2011-update
Links to the World Cities Culture Report: http://www.london.gov.uk/publication/world-cities-culture-report-2012