The economic imperatives - and economic successes - of the so-called creative industries are harming artists, writes Oli Mould. Here he argues for a "drastic turnaround" in our political conception of creative sectors.
'Every time you watch a television advert, go to a museum, play a computer game, or swipe right on a potential suitor, you’re indulging in the outputs of the so-called “creative industries.” Unless you can remember the time when a “smart” phone was one that simply had a snazzy cover, you would have grown up during the birth of the creative industries. The sector was created in 1997 under Tony Blair’s New Labour when they rounded up an errant group of industries into a (relatively) stable construct. Bundled up with the party’s Cool Britannia motif, workers as diverse as advertising executives, software engineers, dance music DJs and ceramic potters were put onto the same balance sheet and hey presto, a new vibrant and crucially, sellable, sector was formed.
The accompanying political narrative was that the creative industries would champion the social utility of arts and culture as progressive realms to engage fractured communities, realise progressive values and create a more sustainable economic world. In 1999, Blair himself argued in one of the foundational documents of the creative industries that “our aim must be to create a nation where the creative talents of all the people are used to build a true enterprise economy for the twenty first century — where we compete on brains, not brawn.”' ... Keep reading on Prospect