Debate, debate…and more debate

Since I began my MA in Media and Creative Enterprise, and in particular the module ‘Creative Industries and Cultural Policy’, my eyes have been opened to just how high the creative/digital industries are on the agenda in Birmingham and the UK in general.

There have been numerous meetings and debates over the past month or so.  Most of them I have managed to attend, and all of them discuss the same issues, same problems and the same people are always in attendance.

There was Digital District, Hello Digital, C&Binet and just yesterday The Big Debate.  All, in some way or form, were concerned with the creative industries and how they can drive the UK out of recession.

Digital District was more concerned with pipes and high-speed broadband rather than policy, which was strange given that it was meant to be a forum for policy makers to discuss how this is going to be implemented and the implications for the UK economy.

I won’t go into too much detail about these events; the links above provide you with all of the information about what happened, who was there and what was said.  As a student of creative industries and cultural policy, I have come away from these events with more questions than answers.  Some of these questions include:

  • How can the success of a Digital District be measured if Birmingham’s creative industries are so difficult to pin down?
  • Are artificial ‘creative clusters’ within cities and regions actually counter-productive?
  • What strategies are there that will make the creative industries the ‘saviour’ of the UK economy?
  • How do policy makers see the ‘digital’ sector in relation to the ‘creative’ sector? Separate? Together?
  • Charles Leadbeater (picture above) suggested ‘including everyone’ in helping Birmingham move forward, what about people/groups who do not attend/don’t know about these events?  What about those who can’t/won’t join the online revolution? What are policy makers going to do about that?
  • What implications would a ‘digital district’ have on policy surrounding intellectual property and especially copyright?

These are just a sample of the types of questions that I want to explore throughout the module.  They are also the types of questions people should be thinking about when they attend these events.

Enough has been discussed and debated about the creative and digital industries, and now is surely the time to act?

Picture of Charles Leadbeater by illustir.

About Karen Patel

PhD candidate in social media and cultural work at Birmingham City University.

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