Cultural Engineering Group

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Cities driving the development of the creative industries

Despite the digital shift, cities are still at the heart of the European cultural and creative industries. And we now know that they have an important role in generating innovation too, as acknowledged by Innovation Union, and so it’s important understand what policymakers can do to help this process.

Berlin’s creative industries success has been built on a young, diverse population. Big, cheap buildings and a lively scene have helped the cities 24,000 cultural and creative businesses. But there has also been a big role for government. Small businesses are aided by a project helping them win EU regional funds, for example. In other parts of Europe, we see different approaches. The City of Zaragoza has launched its own observatory, to facilitate and guide the design of cultural policies in the city – but also to promote its work internationally. More here. In Westminster in the UK, heart of the UK creative sector, the local government now funds training, international business trips and cabling infrastructure. More here.

Aside from these business support initiatives, there are also flagwaving ones. The UNESCO Creative City award can be as big or as small a badge as the city makes of it. Some make a lot – Dublin had its ‘UNESCO City of Literature’ website up within hours of being awarded it – whereas Edinburgh only got bad press and controversy. European title holders include Ghent, Seville, Glasgow and Bologna, all Creative Cities of Music, Berlin (Design), Lyon (Media Arts), and Bradford (Film). This approach often focuses on encouraging tourism, but cities often try to benefit local businesses by involving them in the process.

Our own year as Capital of Culture has received great reviews and been a popular success but like everyone we want to know what the real impact has been. This has always been an academic preoccupation, but there are signs that policymakers are also getting interested. This summer saw the launch of the European Capitals of Culture: an international framework in research, which aims to help cities evaluate their activities in the spotlight. Most importantly, it should be a comparable framework allowing different approaches to be compared. The framework emerged from the Liverpool Impact’s 08 programme, and has the involvement of Ruhr.2010 so we admit an interest, but believe that it’s a pragmatic and suitable measure. More here. The framework is a broad brush approach, but there is also a lot to learn from the in-depth analysis of specific or unique strands of these programmes. So congratulations to Claire Bullen, who has won the Cultural Policy Research Award, receiving funding for her research project on “European Capitals of Culture and everyday cultural diversity: Comparing social relations and cultural policies in Liverpool and Marseille”. Essentially, she’ll be seeing if it makes the difference that it claims to – and how it affects ordinary people living in the cities.

And while we have one eye on our legacy, there is still a lot to come from Ruhr.2010 and the european centre for creative economy as we help to develop the creative industries in our own cities. Stay tuned for new announcements !

Source : Ecce, European centre for creative economy.

 

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