Championing Birmingham’s creative industries

Event pays tribute to city’s creativity.

birmingham_ipa-8 Panel Members respond and discuss

Leading representatives from the creative industries gathered this week at the ‘Creative Birmingham’ event to champion, celebrate and grow the reputation of the City’s creativity. The event was part of a nationwide tour to celebrate ‘Creative Britain’ and was co-hosted by the IPA and Creative Skillset, in local partnership with BPA, Creative Alliance and Creative England.

Over 120 people attended to celebrate the future of the Creative Industries in Birmingham which comprise of 3,450 creative businesses including design, advertising, video games, film, and publishing and contribute £1.25 billion to the local economy.

The audience heard from Lewis Blackwell who is writing a series of features for The Drum to coincide with the nationwide tour to Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester. The articles provide an outsider’s view of the local creative industries within these cities. At the event, Lewis commented on the need for Birmingham to “shout about itself more” and to “create a sense of pride and identity; a mythic status”.

Anita Bhalla OBE, Chair of the Creative City Partnership, responded with an insider’s view: “Birmingham is loud, brash, proud and passionate. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves what we are and our unique DNA. We are the most diverse and youthful city in Europe, with under 24’s making 40% of population. Birmingham was also named most entrepreneurial city in the UK in 2014 which is a job well done but if we want to be top of the class we have to do better. We need to punch harder locally, nationally and globally. We need a joined up narrative that optimises our assets, innovation and profile. The creative industries are not a bit of icing on economic cake – they provide real jobs and real growth.”

This was followed by a panel discussion, chaired by Marc Reeves, Publishing Director Midlands, Trinity Mirror Group, with Andy Wilson IPA City Head for Birmingham and Chief Executive, WAA, David Harte, Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications, Birmingham City University, Jaspal Sohal, Head of Games and Digital Media, Creative England, and Claire Paul, BBC Academy. The panel emphasised on the need to nurture and promote the next generation of diverse and digital talent along with the City’s deep seated entrepreneurial spirit.

Local MP and Secretary of State for Culture and Media, the Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP sent a message of support to the event. Said Javid: “Birmingham is one of a number of creative clusters thriving across the country, and I recognise their power in stimulating local economic growth. The city is a powerhouse of creativity, ranging from the Birmingham Royal Ballet and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra to the Custard Factory in the heart of the city’s creative quarter, home to hundreds of entrepreneurial creative and digital businesses, seen by many to be the most powerful creative cluster outside London. This Government is committed to providing the right business and regulatory environment and digital infrastructure to ensure their continuing success, and in working with Local Enterprise Partnerships and other local partners to promote the role of the sector in economic plans.”

Said Janet Hull OBE, Director of Marketing and Reputation Management, IPA: “Creativity pays. It pays £71.4 billion, to be precise, the current gross value added of the creative industries to the UK economy. This equates to £8 million an hour. However, we need a shared vision to ensure the UK’s creative industries remain world leaders and Creative Birmingham is a vital cluster in realising this vision.”