What we think

Jo at the Creative Industries Federation conference

July 2017

I recently attended the Creative Industry Federation’s first international conference. The ‘Fed’ certainly lived up to its tagline: authoritative, fearless and independent, with an impressive and knowledgeable line-up of speakers from across the globe providing a big-picture outlook for the creative industry. There was a palpable message that the UK creative industries sector is hugely international, but in order to adapt to an increasingly volatile world we’re going to need to stretch our international ambition even further to encompass new markets, new partnerships and new attitudes.

One question (or rather frustration) I went away with – not directed at CIF – is the British government’s message that “Britain is Great”, which was meant to be evoked in a rousing speech at the end of the day. I went home thinking, ‘isn’t it time for a more sophisticated message that really represents our sector in Britain in 2017?’ – rather than something that feels like it’s from the 1940s. Next we’ll be all be asked to Keep Calm and Carry on Being Creative.

We belong to a sector that is already international and, thanks to the Fed, we have a more coherent, compelling message that clearly advocates that we all need supporting – whether as a small company in Dalston, or a large arts organisation like the Southbank – in our endeavour and hard work to keep Britain focused, ambitious and open to business across the globe.

We need to reposition culture not as something soft and nice to have, but to articulate its real power to open doors, create value and transform people’s lives. I’m looking forward to the next conference but let’s hope in the meantime that the Government and the Great campaign can play catch up with the Fed.