TAITMAIL Collision economy

Is there life for the creative industries after Brexit? Well, yes, but it’s the quality of that life (and its consequent earning power) that’s the point. 

All this will be discussed, no doubt, at cultural conferences, seminars and artistic get-togethers the world over with much wringing of brows and knitting of hands. 

Though probably not in the same way at the Remix Summit in London at the end of the month. The most obvious difference is that rather than all participants being musicians, curators, gallery owners gathered at the behest of their own groups where they effectively end up talking to themselves, Remix crashes together different credos – creativity, entrepreneurialism and technology – to try to keep our most productive economic sector thriving.

As it is, the UK’s creative industries have led the world by a mile for some years, the way smoothed by easy access to Europe and, if they wanted, the Golden Road to Samarkhand, not to mention London's place as the world's cultural crossroads. A recent “global creativity index” by the graphic design website Canva found that four countries, the UK, the USA, Australia and – who knew? - New Zealand invested almost $1bn (£770m) into arts programmes last year, with a total value of their creative industries at nearly $1tn (lots of billions), and the UK’s creatives have been a long way ahead of the rest.

No longer. Innovators from the Far East are coming, and Australia in particular is putting its future in the hands of creatives to challenge Britain’s hegemony in this, with the state of Victoria (of which Melbourne is the capital) redrawing its entire economic profile around creativity, having studied UK advances over the last couple of decades. While London’s annual Remix is getting 400 participants, Sydney’s gets 2,000. 

As we have said here until we’ve bored ourselves, the creative industries start with artists, and if we’re to keep ahead of the game, as ACE’s Nick Serota says, we have to have creativity in our state education at the earliest point and throughout.  

But digital technology is moving so fast that what also needs to happen is a constant refreshment of the creative practice that is already under way. So Remix combines creatives with technologists and businesspeople: digital scientists need the imagination and flexible minds of artists; businesses are on an increasingly frenetic quest for investment opportunities that can transcend political factors; artists need commissions and support for their development work. 

Out of this kind of coming together comes the Collision Economy. The collisions aren’t necessarily big events like Black Monday or the Second World War; they can be small, even intimate things.  Like Sofar Sounds (sofarsounds.com), founded by Disney’s ex-marketing director to bring intimate gigs via technology to venues as small as your living room and so far giving work to 20,000 performers worldwide; there’s We Built This City (webuilt-thiscity.com) which, from a shop in Carnaby Street (how about that for a cultural crucible?), sells artist-designed souvenirs; Marquee TV (marquee.tv) and LIVR (livr.co.uk) whose collision was Netflix and which now provides on-demand arts programmes; there’s Melbourne’s ACMI, Australia’s film museum, which developed ACMI X to bring 60 moving image entrepreneurs together with makers to forge collaborations. 

Innovation is what artists do, entrepreneurialism is what they're learning, funding is what they need, and added to that if not a Big Bang a Resounding Thump, a collision economy, to carry our creative industries into the future. 

The Remix Summit is in London on January 27 and 28, https://www.remixsummits.com/ldn

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