Britain’s creative powerhouse status at risk
Britain must learn lessons from around the world if it is to salvage its place as a global cultural powerhouse post-Brexit.
The warning came today from the Creative Industries Federation (CIF) has it launched its International Advisory Council under the chairmanship of ex-Lebanon ambassador Tom Fletcher (pictured).
“The 21st century will throw huge change at us” he said. “The strongest economies will be those that prioritise their cultural industries. This is the urgent and vital task ahead of us”.
He said that as Britain’s ambassador in Beirut from 2011 to 2015, grappling with the problem of dealing with so-called Isis and an intransigent Syrian government, military power was not longer the game-changer in a digital age. “I am convinced that soft power is in which we are second only to the United States in the world, and that means our creative prestige which his now the image people have of this country”.
John Kampfner, CIF’s CEO, said that since the Referendum decided Britain should leave the EU membership had risen by 20%, so concerned were the creative industries about the prospects, and the Federations has launched a national roadshow to hold discussions and give advice. While other countries had increased their government support of the arts, the UK had reduced it by 25% since 2007, and opportunities to enhance our artistic achievements were being hit by the decision to exclude the arts from EBacc, the English Baccalaureate that is to replace GCSE.
He said companies were worried on four fronts: free movement of talent, access to the single market, access to capital funds and the digital single market.
Sir John Sorrell, the designer and entrepreneur who founded the CIF in January 2015, said Britain’s modern profile abroad was of an inventive cultured nation. “Perceptions of Britain will change as result of event taking place recently. It’s incredibly important that we maintain this position we have in the world as a creative, inventive nation that is ready to create partnerships - and if you want to do business with people you want to deal with creatives, because they are the best people in the world. It’s something we’ve got to fight for.”
Among the members of the CIF's new International Advisory Council are Roly Keating, CEO of the British Library; Martin Roth, director of the V&A; and Ruth Mackenzie, director of the Holland Festival.