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I want to draw attention to an even more fundamental aspect of the creative arts. In the course of making a recent South Bank Show film on the violinist Tamsin Little, we went with her to Gallions Primary School in Newham, east London. She did several workshops with the children, and we filmed her performing with them. One of our team told me that the school is an inspiration. It opened eight years ago and took in children from multiracial, multilingual and very difficult backgrounds, including sink estates. Nearly all the children had failed in previous schools, and both they and their parents were disillusioned with the concept of education. To begin with, it was chaos, and the children were disruptive to the point of actually throwing the school furniture at each other. However, the staff had all been recruited because of their arts expertise, and they developed an ethos of arts education that would have an impact on the children's attainments, achievement and overall happiness. They obtained funding fromJP Morgan and invested in musical instruments for the entire school. Every child studies music and plays an instrument. Within a week or two, certainly within a month or two, behaviour improved, concentration improved and results across the board in other subjects improved. It has had the most extraordinary effect, and the school is a delight to visit. When Howard Goodall did a film for the programme some years ago about choirs in schools, he came back with exactly the same story. However, there now seems to be a reluctance to develop and build on this, and that is worrying. Narrowly focused studies lead only to narrowly focused citizens.
All this has been hugely aided by the extension of free admission to some galleries and museums, a policy driven through by my noble friend Lord Smith of Finsbury, who sadly cannot be here today. Visitor numbers have risen by 87 per cent, but for me one further statistic stands out: since that happened, there has been a 21 per cent increase in visits from socio-economic groups C2, D and E, in short, people who would never have got there before, and some of them too will become part of the bedrock.
I must mention here the all-but-unimaginable rise in the numbers of festivals in all the arts, in music, of course, with the BBC Proms, nonpareil on the planet, and Glastonbury, too, in its own way, but let us talk about the literary festivals. From a few rather lonely outposts 20 or 30 years ago, we now have armies of audiences in their hundreds of thousands marching to the tent cities of Hay and Edinburgh, taking the town
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We cannot overlook the London factor. This city now has a fair claim to be the greatest arts centre in the world. The regiment of institutions lined up along the South Bank makes it the jewel in its crown. This gives us a creative churn of invaluable enriching interconnections. The centre of our theatre is here, as is our film and television industry, many of our great and fine small galleries, the concert halls, opera and ballet, exhibition spaces and, of course, museums, some of which, such as the British Museum, have become works of art in themselves as well as housing great art. This cannot be overestimated, and I would stress again the influence of television, particularly in drama and film, which feeds into the film and theatre industries, irrigating and nourishing this metropolitan garden of delights.
Perhaps crucially, these industries extend the inner life, feed the energy for insights into a richer life and give people something like a faith in what is possible, what is rare and what can be reached through imagination. They lead us not into the soulless automaton state of the old Industrial Revolution, but into the unexplored treasures of the mind.
In my view, the creative economy should be developed and encouraged to the hilt. It is a proven performer, a pillar of the cultural tourist trade, an educative and inspiring force for young people, a conduit of skills and self-confidence in schools, a high-quality aggregation of niche specialisms in a country which must develop such talents if it is to flourish, a source of gaiety to the nation, intellectual and spiritual profit, and a focus and stimulation of imagination to people who want to reach out for a greater private life through work which lights up their private world. The creative industries are our new wealth and our new industrial enlightenment. I beg to move.
Lord Chadlington: My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, for initiating this debate. He continues to make a great contribution to cultural life in this country and his opening words reflect the breadth of that experience.
As I am sure the noble Lord would agree, the pivotal challenge in any creative enterprise is to manage the creative talent. That talent is sometimes difficult, usually arrogant, often self-important, but it is the engine of everything that we do. The best managers in these industries are, unfortunately, also often difficult, arrogant and self-important, and I declare the interest of being one myself.
I have spent my entire working life managing creative people in the media, marketing, PR, arts, advertising, graphic designall those kinds of activitiesand I have bought and sold, downsized, upsized, and built and broken creative businesses in just about every part of the world. So this debate offers me the opportunity to try to answer three interrelated questions which
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First, what makes a brilliant manager of creative people? I could recite a litany of character traits, but I want to emphasise just three or four as they will lead to answers to the other questions that I posed. First, these managers have an obsessive dedication, focus and concentration on the activities of the enterprise. Some managers make it all look so easy, but their focus is absolute and demands 110 per cent of every minute of every day. Secondly, they believe, without remainder, in their own judgment. They cannot be wrong. They believe themselves to have an instinctive understanding of what the customer wants and how the enterprise can be organised to respond to those needs. That umbilical chord between the customer and the manager is absolute. That is why accountants can very seldom manage creative people. Thirdly, this kind of manager, together with their creative partners, tears up the rule book as they go. They break conventions. They establish new rules and new codes of business activity.
If that originality is lost, the whole creative process begins to collapse and the enterprise becomes mediocre, with the inevitable loss of market differentiation. But there is one space, as the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, pointed out, in which the manager and the creative will often have guaranteed conflictover money. So often, really creative people feel shackled by what they see as mundane financial constraints. Great managers of the creative process, however, believe exactly the opposite: they believe that financial controls make for greater creativity and financial laxity for creative mayhem. If the skilled manager can get the creative to agree the financial agenda, the enterprise can really sing. It is a golden place to find yourself. It rarely lasts for long, but for a fleeting moment, the commercial music can sound celestial.
So why have these managers such a poor record in public service? We can all think of some who have made it, but there are so many more who have failed or who just have not bothered. Let me offer some possible reasons. The first is management style. A great manager gives the impression of providing free rein to those who work for him, delegating authority and managing with a light touch, with little attention to soft issues such as time-keeping, dress code and so on. In a large corporation, such light-touch management is almost impossible to achieve.
The second is the rule book. I have about 1,600 creative people working for me at the moment, and every day we tear up the rule book at least once. In many of our businesses there appear to be no rule books at all, or at least the rules which apply to one part of the group do not seem to apply to another. Public corporations are held together by rule books.
Thirdly, in businesses our size, the customerthe useris the centre of the organisation. There are no organisation charts; there is a dartboard, with the
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The fourth is meetings. We simply do not have them. We hate them. The best-run creative groups just work with the people they like, in an atmosphere they like, in a way that they like. Meetings spoil all that. Meetings are for suits and for accountants. Big public organisations thrive on meetings. You have to have them. You need to be accountable.
Can we increase the number of these gifted managers so that more chance their arm in the public sector? I have five observations for your Lordships to consider. First, most new creative businesses are SMEs. The sources of risk equity and long-term capital for this sector are drying up. This is the 1930s Macmillan gap all over again. We must address this issue immediately, particularly since the recent banking collapse.
Secondly, these smaller businesses, as has already been pointed out, are throttled by regulation: employment law, health and safety, and any amount of other legislation and red tape which is not only inappropriate but stifles growth and enterprise.
Thirdly, tax issues in creative industries are all about income and founder equity. To have top people working for more than 60 per cent of the year for the Government and facing a rise of 80 per cent in capital tax on equity will not encourage entrepreneurship.
Fourthly, we need London to be the global centre of all the creative industries. How can we attract more and more people in this global, creative and digital world to make London the centre of their creative businesses?
Finally, we should start in the schools and the universities, particularly the schools. We should look at the work of organisations such as the Enterprise Education Trust, which has 50,000 children up and down the country involved in more than 1,000 business appreciation courses.
As we recognise the importance of the creative industries to our economy, our focus must also be on encouraging, motivating and rewarding those who successfully build and lead these creative enterprises. They are not just the source of national wealth, they are the future of our state-owned creative industries too.
Lord Roberts of Llandudno: My Lords, I appreciate this opportunity to take part in what will be a very wide-ranging debate. The noble Lord, Lord Bragg, has initiated it, and the noble Lord, Lord Chadlington, has opened a window that I never dreamt existed. To make the most of this opportunity for a free-running Welshman to contribute from a Welsh angle, I shall speak about a possible opportunity, and dilemma, for minority languages.
Let us look first at the world of publishing in Wales. Some Wales-wide publications in the Welsh languagelong-standing newspapers and so onhave ceased publication because of reduced advertising, falling circulation, rising costs and myriad other things. Some continue as inserts in English-language dailies, but the ordinary national Welsh-language paper has failed, and efforts to establish a daily Welsh-language newspaper have been put on hold. What is happening in Wales is that community newspapers reflect local life. In 60 areas in Wales we have Papurau Bro, community newspapers run by volunteers which have circulations of 1,000, 2,000 or 3,000 and which make a definite and effective contribution to the life of their localities.
As for book publishing, I spoke this morning to a publisher and also to the Welsh Books Council. With a budget of only £1.3 million for investment in Welsh-language book publishing, it is questionable whether a single Welsh-language book could be published in many areas. We are so dependent on grants, through the Welsh Books Council, from the Welsh National Assembly. However, many people help to support the Welsh-language input, and we have the value of the printed word itself. We also have the various Welsh-language websites to which many thousands of people turn every day. But there is a flipside to that. Because they are reading on the web, as I do, many publicationsthe ordinary books and magazinesdo not succeed.
The noble Lord, Lord Bragg, mentioned the free admission to museums and art galleries. I am delighted to say that it was the Government in Cardiffled by a friend of mine, Jenny Randerson, who was the Minister at the timewho first introduced free admission in the United Kingdom. As has been said, it has succeeded in bringing in many people who never before would have visited that kind of building.
Wales is known as the land of rugby. I am not asking for a subsidy for Welsh rugby; I do not think that we need it at present. It is also known as the land of song, but I am not sure that that is always true. If you listened to me sing, you would not say it.
We have heard mention of the Hay festival, but we have not yet heard mention of the three major Eisteddfods, or Eisteddfodau, that we have in Wales. They are major cultural events for the Welsh community. The Urdd Eisteddfod was held in Cardiff last week, and some 45,000 Welsh youngsters were involved in activities leading up to it. The Urdd Eisteddfod encourages schools and young people, and by developing the dimensions of song, dance and the spoken and written word, we all benefit from it immensely. For older childrenthose in the sixth forms of our schools who have uncertain futures and limited employment prospectsthis cultural dimension keeps their hopes alive.
In the 1930s there was horrendous unemployment in Walesin Merthyr Tydfil, 60 per cent of the population were without a joband yet the choirs and the bands continued. The valleys of unemployment were also the valleys of music, and that kept hope alive. So we must make certain that nothing hinders this dimension of our culture. Through the arts, music and so on, we can keep hope alive until better economic times dawn upon us.
The national Eisteddfod not only gives opportunities to people of all ages; it uncovers new talent. It is, as has been said, similar to festivals throughout the United Kingdom, but it also provides many opportunities for people who may be having difficult times. It restores their hope and confidence and contributes to the harmony of our communities.
I thoroughly enjoyed parts of Britains Got Talent. It was valuable because it introduced a massive viewer populationI am sure that is not the right way to describe itto things like community groups such as the street dancers, Flawless and Diversity. If their influence can now spread to other communities and young people, that will be a tremendous benefit to us. The programme even gave my granddaughter an ideaI have seven grandchildren, at the last count. She saw this grandfather and granddaughter competing, and next I had a phone call: was I willing to enter Britains Got Talent with her next year? If the House is abolished I might have time on my hands, and we will be able to have an alternative career.
Then we come to the third Eisteddfod, Llangollen. I speak as a vice-president of that international music festival. Formed in 1946, its motto is, Blessed is a world that sings; gentle are its songs. Through music and dance you are able to bring people together. I often think that if you can laugh or sing together, that is a massive step forward. Pavarotti started his career at the festival; the Vienna Boys Choir became world-famous there. I hopeand the Government might be able to move on this quicklythat new immigration rules will not hinder applications from outside the European Union for people, choirs and dance groups to participate in festivals of this sort. Edinburgh and other places are also facing a possible dilemma here. I remember the battle we had over the Watoto children from Kampalabut they are singing in the Parliament next week, so at least we have overcome that hurdle.
The contribution is not only in money but in people. It provides dignity and confidence in difficult times; it builds communities and gives hope where there is little of it. That is why the sort of projects and festivals that I have outlined are immensely important for the well-being of our country.
Baroness Young of Hornsey: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, for securing this debate and for his powerfully delivered overview of the creative sector, as well as for his long-term pioneering commitment to high-quality arts and cultural programming, of which The South Bank Show is just one example. I also thank Louise de Winter from the National Campaign for the Arts and Clare Cooper from Mission, Models, Money for briefings, discussions and ideas. The NCA is an independent organisation, as the noble Lord has stated. Mission, Models, Money is also independent, producing debates and action research projects that provoke fresh thoughts about sustaining the arts. Both are effective, fleet-footed, creative organisations that stimulate thoughts, and they have an influence far greater than their size would suggest was possible.
At this point I should declare several interests, mainly to do with being on the boards of various arts organisations including the Southbank Centre, the Nitro theatre company and the National Archives. I also chair a new group set up by the Commonwealth Foundation on culture and development.
The noble Lord, Lord Bragg, has helpfully covered all the statistics, so I will not go into them again. The creative industries, as defined by DCMS, cover a wide range of creative endeavour, including music, film, television, radio, architecture and designer fashion, which is a subject to which I will return.
Although for the purpose of policy or debate we might wish to make a distinction between the arts, museums, archives and libraries and the creative industries, or indeed between the subsidised and commercial sectors, in truth the boundaries are permeable and constantly shifting. Art, cultural and creative activities are interdependent, as are the publicly subsidised and commercial sectors. At times the categories are indistinguishable and may co-exist in the same organisation, as when a play produced by an Arts Council-funded theatre transfers to the West End and later to Broadway, and is made into a film that is then broadcast on television. So public investment in the arts has been and will continue to be essential to the success of Britains creative industries.
Even though the focus in this debate is on the economy, we should not forget the important contribution that creative expression can make to social, community and cultural development, a point that has been alluded to. Put simply, there is no point in being economically successful if people are unhappy and do not have ready access to an expressive, full, creative life. Such values are especially important in these difficult times, when financial and moral orthodoxies seem on the point of collapse.
Mission, Models, Money has turned its thoughts to the kind of questions with which many of us who work in the sector are concerned. For example, what new knowledge, skills and competencies do creative organisations and individuals need to develop to be able to thrive in the next decade or so? How do we support the sector to operate effectively in a new environment where potential investors are ever more risk-aversea real problem for a sector that is, by its nature, risk-taking? What tools can we develop to help us to optimise digital communications technologies, which redraw or erase boundariesboundaries between communities, cultures and nations, between audience and producer, and between cultural forms? What are the new economic structures that promote more sustainable lifestyles? That is an important point for me. If there is really going to be a shifta great turning, as some people have described itfrom a society based on continued industrial growth to a less consumer-driven, more sustainable way of living, what is the role of the arts in shaping national consciousness and informing the development of values that will be of importance to the economic structures of the future?
This social consciousness is not anything new for the arts and creative sectoron the contrary. But there is a greater sense of urgency given what is happening at the moment and the challenges that we
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I have been speaking to several people recently who care passionately about the subject. Increasingly, awareness is being raised within the industry about its responsibilities in terms of its environmental impact, exploitative employment and trading practices, and animal welfare. Awareness-raising among the public is crucial, as is encouraging a different approach to fashion, rejecting a high turnover of goods that are produced cheaply by exploited labour and which have a negative environmental impact.
Because this debate is about the creative industries, I am referring to designer clothingan issue in itself, as of course it tends to be out of the price range of most people. But it is important because designers increasingly work across a range of markets, with the likes of high-end designers such as Matthew Williamson and Stella McCartney creating clothing for the high street. What they do and how they work is reported on extensively in glossy magazines and consumed by a great many people, particularly young women.
The noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, launched Defras sustainable clothing action plan at the start of Februarys London Fashion Week; colleagues in the industry tell me that his catwalk performance was very much appreciated and highly rated. It is an admirable document with much to recommend it. In particular, it lives up to its title, because it is about action, not just words.
Cross-departmental co-operation really adds value to this type of project. Although the plan has been generated by Defra, the DCMS, DfID, the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and other departments have, or should have, active roles in ensuring that this initiative is given the best chance of being successful in the long term.
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