This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Find out more here


To discuss how you and your organisation can get more involved with The Work Foundation, please contact us.

Call 020 7976 3575 or email


Charlotte Holloway
Operations and Impact Manager, Big Innovation Centre
T 020 7976 3605
Charlotte  Holloway

The Future of the Creative Industries

Authors: Charlotte Holloway Charlotte Holloway

14 December 2010

This morning (Tuesday 14 December) saw the launch of The Work Foundation’s latest report A Creative Block?: The future of the UK creative industries – jointly produced across our Knowledge Economy 2 and Creative Industries programmes. This marks the start of a year-long research consortium taking an in-depth look into the sector. A packed room – kindly hosted by the IPA – with voices from business, trade bodies, universities and organisations across the creative and cultural sectors came together to discuss how to find their footing in the recovery and in a rapidly changing, uncertain world.

Rory Sutherland, President of the IPA, welcomed the report and highlighted the shifting nature of the sector drawing upon the experiences of advertising. Rory outlined his view on perceived tensions between rational economics and psychology and their manifestations in the cultural and creative industry, highlighting that technologies such as social networking have transformed the way that we have come to speak about the sector.


Ivan Lewis MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, spoke on identifying the challenges and opportunities of the future, the role of government and how the Labour Party intends to play its part as a constructive opposition to ensure policy matches rhetoric. Ivan Lewis emphasised the central role of arts and culture to UK tourism which accounts for 3.7% of GDP and directly employs 1.4 million people, and cited Liverpool 2008 as the most successful European Capital of Culture ever with 15 million cultural visits and £800 million worth of local economic benefit. Indeed, an OECD study in 2006 suggested that cultural industries accounted for 5.8% of GDP in the UK compared to 3.2% in the US and 2.8% in France. Without policy and industry working together, said Lewis, Britain is in severe danger of falling behind.


Co-author of the report, Dr Benjamin Reid, raised the pertinence of our previous  report Staying Ahead (2007) and the history of the creative industries as a UK success story. The recession and changes to global industry – including convergence, digitalisation, and international competition – have produced? significant challenges and there is evidence that, unless acted upon quickly, there will a creative block to the UK creative industries’ achievement of their full potential as a driver of growth and innovation.


The launch of The Work Foundation’s new Creative Industries research programme will be looking at these areas throughout 2011. A  series of reports will explore key themes, culminating in a  clear route map for the UK creative industries  which will enable them to generate explosive growth with focused policy prescriptions.