Creative… what exactly does that mean? Many people have tried to define what creativity and talent is and where it can be found. Is it within art, music, drama, dance, sport, technology, gaming, writing… the list goes on, and the more areas that look towards creative talent as a core part of its existence then the more complex the picture becomes. One thing that remains constant however, is that wherever creative talent lies, there is not enough of it and not enough support to develop and allow it to flourish. In this first of a two part blog series we focus on the creative industries and ask where creativity comes from and whether it is supported enough.
As a report from the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre states ‘...there is a lack… of education or training that would best equip learners with the skills they need to succeed in the creative industries.’ The report also identifies knowledge gaps in the areas of skill needs, the value of creative education, the pipeline of talent and creative professional development.
For young people who have creative talent the education system is a prime example of this gap and where the issues begin. The national curriculum has slowly sidelined creative subjects such as art, music, PE and drama into becoming something that is done every so often. In a Secret Teacher Article for The Guardian it points to the fact that part of the problem is that creativity is not easily measured through standardised tests. Maths, English and Science have been pushed to the top of the list which, if a young person has a flair for those subjects and is potentially looking towards jobs in these areas then great. Of course these subjects are super important but what if a young person is a fantastic artist, or really enjoys cooking, shows confidence in physical activity or really expresses themselves through drama? They may get to take part in these subjects once every couple of weeks or, as has been reported within both the primary and secondary school sector, young people are taken from these ‘sidelined’ subjects to double up on more ‘academic’ subjects or to spend more time on ‘more important’ subjects like maths, or given time to deal with behavioural issues or providing emotional support when they should be experiencing those subjects. Another question arises here; could involvement in these other areas actually help a young person’s behaviour and emotions…?
Anyway back to the issues involving creativity. As research from NESTA showed, creativity will become even more important to the growth of jobs between now and 2030. In another piece of evidence they look at how employers value creativity and how important creativity is to educators across the world. In a report by the Creative Industries Federation creative industries are worth £87bn to the UK economy and have been the driving force behind regeneration across the country and again and again shown their transformative power in various contexts. In fact, on our globalbridge platform, creative industries are actually the most popular across our 71k profiles showing the potential interest and workforce the sector has. However there seems to have been a drain of creative talent over the last few years, not just through young people having it reduced within the curriculum but also the profession not receiving as much support from the government. It was hit hard as an industry through Covid and has struggled to bounce back, even with some injections of Government funding. One report points to the need for the funding of creative micro clusters to ensure that money is spread evenly across the country and to support a number of businesses in specific geographical areas who can start to build back communities again.
So what is the answer? The fact that there is still so much of an appetite and love for creative industries means we need to nurture and develop the best talent out there that will make a difference and impact in the area. As far as creative talent is concerned, what is it and how can it be supported and showcased? Our next blog in this series will begin to unpack this and look at talent in more detail; what is talent, how can it be used and where can we find it?