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  • Untitled [detail] by Crafts Council Maker Claudia Wassiczek. Photo: Philip Hardman

Research and Policy Brief October 2019

October 2019 Research and Policy brief

This month we look at the latest Brexit advice and ask if our latest exports survey findings are affected by Brexit.

Also this month –


What’s the latest Brexit advice?

We’ve had an intensive week of Brexit preparation with DCMS who are updating their advice daily. Please continue to go to https://www.gov.uk/brexit for Government advice and check Arts Council England advice here.

The Crafts Council’s latest guidance is here.

And is Brexit having an impact on maker exports?

Our latest report, Exports ’19, shows a decrease in the number of makers participating in export activities internationally and a decline in the percentage of makers’ turnover from export sales. This is the third year in which the Crafts Council has undertaken a national survey on how UK makers export. This year the survey was conducted during a period of intense negotiations in preparation for Brexit and it is likely that this has impacted on the confidence of makers. The small number of respondents means that this cannot be considered a scientific study; rather it can be used to indicate possible trends in makers exporting internationally.

The CBI makes the case for the creative industries…

The CBI’s report Centre Stage: Keeping the UK’s creative industries in the spotlight and the Creative Industries Federation’s Manifesto celebrate the work of the creative industries.

At the same time, the CBI recommends:

  • That national policies on education and skills must reverse the decline in creative education 
  • A more co-ordinated approach to international trade missions is needed across government and business, while CIF calls for a Cultural and Creative Industries Investment Bank.

… and more evidence show the importance of creative education

The Cultural Learning Alliance’s new briefing paper highlights how studying the arts improves children’s life chances, yet access to the arts has now become a social justice issue.

This is echoed by the Durham Commission on Creativity and Education which says creativity in schools must be prioritised to equip young people with the skills they need later in life. It’s the driver of economic growth and innovation, yet teaching for creativity is not widespread. It’s inhibited by the absence of agreed models of teaching for creativity, a lack of confidence among teaching practitioners and a shortage of resources.

The Crafts Council welcomes the recommendations, in particular that:

  • All schools should be better enabled to support teaching for creativity
  • Conditions for effective school leadership and governance to support them need to improve
  • DfE should establish a funded National Plan for Cultural Education
  • DfE should support English schools’ participation in the PISA 2021 evaluation of creative thinking in order to influence and shape future use of the framework.

Arts and craft participation holds steady

DCMS Taking Part data confirms that almost all young people aged 5-15 (96.1%) engaged with arts and crafts activities in 2018/19, the same as in 2017/18. There was also no significant difference in engagement between boys and girls, with engagement rates of 95.7% and 98.0% respectively.

Creative industries’ supply chains are boosting the London economy … but more needs to be done to support young Londoners into employment

The Mayor of London’s Creative Supply Chains Study shows how spending in the creative sector is also helping a range of other industries. London’s creative industries boost the capital’s economy by spending £40bn per year within their supply chain. Every job in London’s creative industries supports an additional 0.75 of a job in the wider economy.

Self-Made Sector: Working in the creative industries explores what needs to change to help young Londoners work in the creative industries. It highlights the barriers to creative education in schools, apprenticeships and further education and how diversity and representation needs to change. Recommendations include the need:

  • To stop using unpaid internships
  • For government grants to support young creative talent
  • For the government to add creative subjects to the EBacc.

What are the regional differences in creative economic activity – and is craft typical?

New research from the Creative Policy and Evidence Centre shows the extent of regional disparity of the UK creative industries. The research questions whether current approaches to tackle the disproportionately high concentration of economic activity based on “creative clusters” will be effective.

The craft sector is the exception (echoed in Nesta’s earlier data for the AHRC’s creative clusters programme), to the extent that the Gross Value Added of the West Midlands craft sector is recorded as above expected levels compared to London (Table 6, p. 11) and craft employment has increased in the north west (but declined in the south west). Note, however, that DCMS only measures part of the craft sector, compared to full estimates in our 2014 study Measuring the Craft Economy.

And lastly, what are the threats and opportunities facing Europe's creative and cultural sectors?

The European Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education looks at threats and opportunities facing Europe's creative and cultural sectors. Cultural participation is recognised as one of the main accelerators of social change, driving inclusive, resilient societies. But while the sectors are adaptable, they face challenges in limitations on the artistic freedom of cultural organisations, worsening financial conditions, digitisation and the rise of populism.