Fuelling The Creative Powerhouse Of The UK Economy
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport have recently published figures clearly demonstrating the vital role that creative industries are playing in the rejuvenation of the UK economy. In 2012, the UK’s creative industries (which include film, television and music) grew by almost 10%, outpacing every other sector of the economy. The GVA (Gross Value Added) of the sector totalled over £70bn, which means that British creative talent is now generating at least £8m per hour!
The Government recognises that the industry is a core powerhouse for future growth of the nation’s economy and is starting to realise the need for a solid framework to support its growth. The seed-corn of energy, talent and innovation has been planted, but it needs nurturing and, perhaps more importantly, it needs replenishing.
We already have some fantastic institutions in further education such as The National Film and Theatre School, School of Communication Arts 2.0, The Met Film School and The London Film School. However, we need to ensure that they are receiving the very best that our secondary school educators can offer. If we are to capture the amazing creative and technological prowess of the current generation of school kids, we need to fundamentally address the way in which they are taught.
The creative arts have always been an important part of the curriculum albeit focused on literature, music and art. So, yes we have produced some amazing artists (though many contemporary prodigies have probably spent little time at school). Yes, we have amazing authors (though these days we are having to run hard to keep abreast of the Nordic writers). And, of course, we produce some of the best musicians that the world has ever heard. But our Tracy Emins, Sebastian Faulkes and Radioheads are the tip of the iceberg.
They are the shining light of our cultural heritage around which the UK has built a creative industry that is internationally renowned. But they are supported by a network of technical and production talent that is the key generator of collective wealth within the economy. We need more people with these technological skills and a creative flair if we are to continue to shine and shine brighter.
Our children are born creative with a device tucked up their onesie sleeve, but they need to be taught to tap in to their innate abilities. It is not just the traditionally arty subjects that could do with an overhaul, nor simply a matter of livening up the way IT is taught (though less teaching of desktop publishing and more instruction in code writing would be good!). Encouraging a creative approach, using technology could be spread across the curriculum: get History classes making a film about The Battle of Hastings or Maths students writing a song about quadratic equations. It’ll liven up the marking of homework!
Many teachers (unless they are parents of a teenager or very young) probably have little idea how kids are using technology today. Most of our youth, contrary to popular belief, are not ruining each other’s lives on Face Book. Indeed, Face Book is a tad retro in the teens’ social media world. Many are using their creative talents by, for example, taking photos (sometimes well considered, often hilarious and occasionally brilliant) and posting them on Instagram. They would probably do a lot more, but data storage is a limiting factor: even an I phone 5 with a 64 gig memory struggles to accommodate my teenagers Instagram habit!
If we really want to encourage the next generation of creative talent, our education system needs to keep abreast of the way kids are using technology and give them the tools to maximise their natural ability to innovate and create. One relatively inexpensive means by which existing IT systems can be developed to cope with the data storage strain of several hundred hopeful film producers is the installation of Rockstar network storage. If we are to ensure a bright future for the creative powerhouse we need our educators to fuel it, and the infrastructure to support it.