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Warwick Commission launches report into the future of cultural value

Warwick Commission launches report into the future of cultural value

19 February 2015 Written by By John Mathers Chief Executive, Design Council, 2012-2016

The University of Warwick’s latest research into Britain’s cultural and creative industries was released on Tuesday 17 February. The report explores the increasing impact these industries have on the economy, on British life and ‘Britain’s place in the world’.

The report, Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth, brings together the findings of a series of public and private meetings with artists, creative and cultural professionals, economists and business leaders. Design Council was a strategic partner on the report and helped to progress it through its various stages of research, and wholeheartedly backs its findings.

In November 2013, the University of Warwick launched a one-year Commission, chaired by Vikki Heywood CBE, to undertake a comprehensive investigation into the future of cultural value. A diverse group of cultural leaders, supported by academics from the University of Warwick, were invited to gather together the evidence and arguments to create a blueprint for the future of investment and engagement in our cultural lives.

The report reinforces the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s findings earlier in the year - the creative industries are an integral part of the UK economy. In it, the Commission argues that the creative industries are ‘an ecosystem’ generating economic and cultural wellbeing in Britain, and must receive further investment to safeguard future growth.

Design Council echoes the report’s call for joined-up policymaking and a national plan for the creative sector that maximises cultural, economic and social return. The report places particular emphasis on skills development and education, and how a broad cultural education matched with investment is critical to ensure the full potential of tomorrow’s creatives is captured.

Design Council passionately supports the idea that arts education should be an entitlement for all children.

John Mathers, Chief Executive, Design Council

Earlier this year, we reported that the UK currently leads the world in design education - there are currently 847 Design Courses in the UK (UNISTAT Data, 2013). However, the Warwick Commission’s research unearths worrying statistics on a broader creative level. Between 2003 and 2013 there was a 50% drop in the GCSE numbers for design and technology, 23% for drama and 25% for other craft-related subjects. Mixing different skills is also declining - 2012-13 saw only 8.4% of students combining arts and science at AS level.

Design Council passionately supports the idea that arts education should be an entitlement for all children, and that the government’s focus on science, technology, engineering and maths must now also include the arts.

Culture and creativity, when allowed to thrive, are significant tools in developing a sense of identity and community across the country. The Commission’s report embraces the opportunities born of the digital age that will allow the creative industries to engage and inspire at a national and local level, broadening interest and access to culture for everyone, across all walks of life.

We believe the creative economy underpins other parts of the economy, and we hope this research will add something new to the picture, helping local and national policymakers to maximise the value the UK derives from its creative strengths.

This important report calls for baseline investment to ensure that Britain maintains – and nurtures – its leading international role in the arts and culture. Design Council will help to promote the five practical recommendations of the report to assist in the long-term sustainability of culture and creativity in Britain, helping it to flourish in a competitive global landscape.

The report is now available to download here, including audio and British Sign Language versions.

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