Tag Archives: creative industries

The Love of Learning

What are we doing to our young people? Testing them until the joy is out of learning and school is just one tick box after another. The head of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, said

The regular taking of test papers does little to increase a child’s ability to comprehend.

We have completely the wrong approach to learning. We need holistic education for our young people, encompassing the widest range of subjects, building character and instilling the love of learning.

This includes the arts. When I was 11, we moved to Missouri. I started at a new junior high school (years 6-7 in the English system) which had a school band. Up to that stage I had played a bit of piano and sung in the church choir. The music teacher asked if I’d like to learn the clarinet as he needed more players in his band. Within three months I was sitting 2nd chair in the clarinet section. I would never have learned an instrument if it hadn’t been for the opportunity at this state school. I remember my parents, who were on a tight budget, scraping money together for some private lessons later that year, costing $4 a lesson.

Years later, I’m a professional musician, wondering where the next generation of musicians is coming from. We need music, and all the arts, as an integral part of our schools. The economic argument is obvious – the creative industries contribute £87.4 billion per year to the economy. We would be denuded as a society without the undergirding of the arts which permeate and enrich our lives.

But I wish to make the moral argument, bringing me back to the opening point of school being too much about testing. Having an arts-inclusive curriculum builds a well-rounded intellect. The brain, when it has to marry the left and right halves in analysing and performing a piece of music, develops physiologically. Attention spans are lengthened when one learns to concentrate on playing your part in a band. Aesthetic awareness is broadened, that life is not about ticking boxes but about beauty, relationships and creativity. Learning to sing together builds community and teaches young people to work together. We learn that coming together produces something more wonderful than striving alone.

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Lib Dems: The creatives’ party

 

The EU referendum debacle has shown clearly which group of voters we ought to target most: the creative sector. According to the Creative Industries Federation, 96 per cent of its members voted Remain. It’s one of many political battlegrounds where Lib Dems and creatives are on the same side. Creatives habitually call for freedom of expression, freedom of movement, free markets, greater diversity and more support for the self-employed. The Liberal Democrats is the only party to consistently call for those things too, as evidenced by our opposition to the Snoopers’ Charter and support for immigration.

Already, many if not most creatives consider themselves liberal. It’s simply a case of putting a capital “L” at the start of the word and adding “Democrat” after it. Incidentally, the same is probably true of scientists, most of whom also voted for Remain.

Posted in Op-eds | 49 Comments

Opinion: the Government’s obsession with London is holding back our creative industries – and the recovery

As a failed rock guitarist but still passionate consumer of music I always look forward to the Mercury Music awards at the end of October, and this year’s nominees were as interesting and eclectic as they usually are. What wasn’t as diverse was where these acts originated from. Over 60% were from the Greater London area and only four were from outside the south east of England, which is surprising when you consider the award covers the whole of the UK and Ireland. It seems the advice I heard fifteen years ago during my short and unsuccessful music career is …

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The Independent View: Coalition should do more to promote the creative industries as a growth sector

WordleThe Coalition Government’s record for the creative industries is mixed.

On the plus side, innovations such as the Creative Industries Council are welcome and have enabled a lot of cross industry collaboration on common issues affecting different sectors, such as skills and access to finance.

The enabling of the Live Music Act to come into law and promises of further entertainment deregulation are of huge benefit to my sector.

Creative industries have benefited from tax breaks to enable them to continue to compete globally.

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 10 Comments

Scaling-up the UK’s creative business

Danny Boyle’s fantastic opening ceremony for the Olympics highlighted that Great Britain has a great heritage and we can really put on a show – given the right investment! The ‘Big Society’ fails to provide a suitable framework to rebuild and refocus our future, to re-launch UK plc on the global stage. In short, how are we going to make Britain ‘Great’ again?

We have the opportunity to build the world centre of excellence around a major ‘Creative Business’ initiative in which we must

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Opinion: Will the Lib Dems stand up for creative industries?

A Labour friend of mine was smugly telling me about last week’s launch of the Labour Creative Industries Network. Much of this reminded me of their ‘Cool Britannia’ efforts circa 1997.

However, it also got me thinking about how the creative industries see us. We too have some nice words about creative businesses on our website – but do we really have a sense of how we want to support and promote this economically and culturally important sector? The DCMS is the only department where Lib Dems have no ministerial presence. There is a hair’s breadth in arts policy between …

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