The impressive growth performance of the UK’s creative industries - from design and advertising to video games, film and music - has meant they are finally recognised by government as a priority for industrial policy. But it is now important to bolster the support that government can give through a much stronger evidence base. This is why it is funding an independent Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) for the Creative Industries - to plug gaps in evidence that have to date held back the sector from reaching its full potential. For more background on the PEC, check out the ‘about us’ page on the PEC’s website.
Although strictly independent from industry, engagement with industry is crucial to the PEC’s success: to help guide us as to what industry’s most pressing challenges are, to provide expert insight to inform our research, and to give critical feedback on our policy recommendations. The Industry Champions lie at the heart of the PEC’s approach for achieving this.
Our Industry Champions are each trusted and respected practitioners, drawn from all parts of the creative industries, and from right across the UK. This network is far from the usual model of a standing Industry Advisory Board that meets on a quarterly basis to give general advice on each and every issue a research centre faces. Rather, the PEC needs those with deep knowledge of industry practice and a desire to inform academic research that leads to better policies for the creative industries.
Over the past few weeks, we have been busy recruiting the first wave of Champions, revealed today and listed below. We’ve tried hard to convene a diverse and representative cohort in every sense that the PEC can draw on as and when we tackle the policy implications of key developments impacting on the different sub-sectors that make up the creative industries. But this is only the beginning: the network of Champions will grow over time to plug gaps in expertise, perspective, and to help the PEC respond to new developments. Of course, if there is any sub-sector, region, perspective or role that you feel already needs better representation in our initial list, please email us with your suggestions.
All our Industry Champions are very busy individuals. So we will take care to consult them only on issues that relate closely to their expertise and experience, and this consultation may take the form of, say, participating in a rapid taskforce or panel to consider a particular problem, participating in a policy event, or providing comments on an important piece of research.
We are planning to convene the first of these ‘industry panels’ shortly to inform the PEC’s work on the value of creative higher education: a critically important issue for the creative industries where there is likely to be policy change in the coming months. We will be seeking to learn from the Champions participating in this panel what has been their experience of creative graduates in their businesses to date, whether universities are doing a good job in supplying talent to meet any skills shortages, and where they are, what they are doing right, and where they are not, what should they be doing better? The insights we gather from the PEC’s Industry Champions will play a central role in the wider evidence base we draw on in our research and policy development.
Caroline Julian, Director of Policy and Programmes at the Creative Industries Federation, has been appointed the first Chair of the PEC's Industry Panels.