Making Connections

'Creativity is the new science'

Published 21 Aug 2008
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The government is being urged to do for the creative industries what it did for science when it raised the strategic importance to the UK economy of training, qualifying and working in the sector.

Professor Les Ebdon, vice-chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, also says industry captains must play their part by keeping universities abreast of the "ever-changing creative industries."

To ensure courses are relevant, he says the government should sit academics in a council with entrepreneurs running creative outfits who can feed back their commercial experiences. Professor Ebdon says that if the government refuses to take the kind of action it took with science and engineering the UK won't be able to boost its status as a creative leader.

The warning from Professor Ebdon was his response to a report which found creative jobs - advertising, marketing, design and computer games, contribute £60bn a year to the economy. It found that the UK has the largest creative sector in the EU; the fastest growing sector in the country, employs just over 2million people and accounts for 7.3% of the economy.

This is largely thanks to ‘innovation active' universities, which provide graduate-level employment - apprenticeships, that help to revive cities traditionally reliant on manufacturing.

The report, from Million+, which represents 28 new universities, also argues that a council of academics and creatives would enable a quicker transfer of research and development.

Another challenge to the government, albeit longer term, was addressing the misconception that some creative industry courses are "academically trivial and lack professional relevance."

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