In July 2021, Creative Industries Federation and Creative England, which together comprise the non-profit Creative UK Group, published new data showing the impact of the pandemic on the Creative Industries and crucially, what can be unlocked with the right investment.
Their report The UK Creative Industries: unleashing the power and potential of creativity features newly commissioned data from Oxford Economics, which projects that, with the right investment, the sector could recover faster than the UK economy as a whole, growing by over 26% by 2025 and contributing £132.1 billion to the economy in GVA – over £28 billion more than in 2020, and more than the financial services, insurance and pension industries combined. Not only a major driver of economic growth, the data reveals that by 2025 the Creative Industries could create 300,000 new jobs, bouncing back from the impact of Covid-19 and surpassing pre-pandemic employment levels: generating enough new jobs to employ the working-age population of Hartlepool and Middlesbrough twice over.
To coincide with the report launch, we launched our campaign, #WeAreCreative. The campaign aimed to show the government just how powerful the creative industries are and crucially, what can be unlocked with the right investment. We know that Creative Industries can, not only bounce back, but drive the regeneration of every community. They can make our areas happier and healthier, and they can unlock opportunities for the next generation. But now we need the government to realise this too.
Members, friends and supporters across the creative sector got involved using the hashtag #WeAreCreative on social media, showcasing just how brilliant your creativity and creative work really is. So many people shared content they made, pictures of your work, a post showing how much value they bring to the community, or creating something bespoke.
From rainbows on windows, to singing on Italian balconies, 2021 was a challenging time when we turned to art, music and storytelling to help us through. But whilst many of us were at home watching Netflix, listening to Spotify and exploring innovative ways of communicating through creative tech platforms such as Zoom and TikTok, the reality was that many of the UK’s world-leading creative organisations were in deep trouble.
Before Covid-19 hit, the UK’s creative industries were one of the fastest growing economic sectors, generating £111bn in GVA (greater than the automotive, aerospace, life sciences and oil and gas sectors combined) and growing at five times the rate of the economy as a whole. However, with venues, museums and cinemas closed, film shoots postponed and festivals cancelled, we are starting to see a very different picture.
In a survey of the sector in early 2020, the Creative Industries Federation found that 1 in 7 creative organisations only had reserves to last until the end of April 2020, whilst 62% of self-employed creative workers had seen 100% of their income disappear overnight. Coupled with the loss of income from ticketed venues (74% of music venues, according to the Music Venues Trust, say that they are on the brink of collapse), it was – and still is – no exaggeration to say that, without urgent government intervention, the UK’s world-leading creative sector was on course for a catastrophe.
As a result, the Creative Industries Federation launched a campaign in April 2020 to raise awareness of Our World Without Culture to ‘paint a picture’ of a world where such a phrase wouldn’t be recognised; where performers would be confined to the acoustics of their bathroom; where shared experiences of art, theatre, music, all sectors that create the unique culture of the UK, wouldn’t exist. Coming together, we urged government to provide emergency funding for our creative organisations. With over 500 signatories on our open letter to government, including Nick Cave, Paloma Faith, Stephen Fry, Meera Syal and Simon Calloway, we believe in the future of our sector and together, we are stronger.