Last Wednesday was one of the most beautiful days of the year so far and I spent it inside, in a room with the lights turned to dim… I have a feeling, however, that I had a better, more satisfying day than anyone, anywhere in the sun.
That’s because last Wednesday was the Cr8net (@Cr8net) conference; sponsored by JPCreative, attended by some of the UK Creative Industry’s greatest heavyweights, and sure to be a fundamental talking point for many, many weeks to come.
Cr8net, in short, is a one-day conference bringing together industry practitioners, policy makers and businesses, discussing topics of the here and now, that are of vital importance to the creative industries.
When you bring all these together, you get some truly essential, and eye-opening discussion. Add in the provocation and boldness of Chair for the day Matthew Taylor (@RSAMatthew), Chief Executive of the RSA, and the outcome is informative and more probing than you would expect (well done Matthew, as you said ‘we all need recognition’ and ‘to be told we are good at stuff’ – and you were great!).
So we all know how important creative industries are to the British Economy? Right? Are you sure?
Creativity is, hands-down, what the UK does best. It employs 1.5million people and is responsible for £1 in every £10 of all our exports.
Nacue Create summed up the feeling in the room toward this particular piece of information with this tweet: ‘The creative industries can’t afford to take a hit, we need to invest or we’ll see the devastating impact for generations to come’.
Too often, the Creative Industries are thought of as somewhat ‘optional’ and not significantly ‘pushed’ in the UK- the debate led us to how we make Britain more Creatively entrepreneurial, after all ‘If Bill Gates had been British he’d be the most successful developer in Guilford” (© Matthew Taylor). So to have Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture, Communication and Creative Industries and keynote speaker, swing by to listen and give the room his opinion that ‘the arts are not an add-on or luxury, but are a part of the UK growth story’ was a welcome plus.
With staggering statistics like the above against the work we do, events like Cr8net, where we come together to find ways to support and develop, become increasingly important. Everyone knows how important a network is to your business- they help you grow and achieve your goals- and we build these networks through events like Cr8net.
The breakout sessions chaired by the Guardian’s Nancy Groves (@nancyarts) only served to reaffirm this through open dialogue and deeper analysis on the subject of ‘networking’ and how integral it is to supporting the creative industries. Networking events are where we ‘engage and debate’ particular creative themes in a way that joins up disparate threads of thinking and attracts the strands of connectivity, resulting in the coming together of a wider, stronger support group within our areas or disciplines.
I certainly found myself a whole new network of creative talent: an armful of hungry mentees and, in my quest to ever keep learning, a potential new mentor! It was also a great surprise that, in amongst the new, there were the surprises of coming across familiar faces- I bumped into one of the first Directors I ever worked with in Opera!
I left the event absolutely buzzing, having exchanged ideas with a surprisingly eclectic group, from leaders in industry to journalists, educational representatives from universities and colleges, artists, authors, and even poets (@monkey_poet was spellbindingly good.)
Good events always manage to reinforce my belief that London is a thriving global capital and driving force of creativity. Cr8net was no exception- it was a thrilling showcase of all the potential, here in this city, just waiting to be uncovered. Just look at the photos of the visual minutes from the conference by Creative Connections (@creativeconnec)- drawn live before us!
Without such industry sharing and open honest dialogue, creative life in the capital would not nearly be as colourful or vocal!