Inclusion, innovation and democracy: Growing talent for the creative and cultural industries

14 September 2007, England

The creative and cultural industries are perhaps the most visible and potent emblem of the way the post-industrial age is transforming Britain’s economy. The rise of a global division of labour has meant that, for the first time, significant numbers of people are able to concentrate on producing ideas, art and technology. The implications are profound: new kinds of people, with a deeper sense of self; new kinds of jobs that engage our creative and personal energy; and new kinds of product, in which customers and professionals come together to create shared value.
In an important sense, the last 30 years have seen the unprecedented democratisation of the kind of creative work that was previously open to only tiny numbers; a trend that looks set to continue into the future. The UN estimates that the creative industries account for more than 7% of global GDP and that they are growing at a rate of 10% per year. This paper argues that the process of democratisation is incomplete. The very things that give the creative and cultural industries their vitality – their speed, fluidity and turnover of people, organisations and ideas, also work to exclude people from non-traditional backgrounds.