Birmingham has been known as a centre of excellence for many things over its proud industrial past. However, can the city claim the same for creative thinking?
What makes a creative centre?
There are many things that make a city a creative centre. Talent, infrastructure, clients/patrons, energy, recognition and a strategic vision for sustaining the centre are all examples of key criteria.
Rewards for creativity
Creative centres often attract patrons and industries that are looking for the very best creative thinking. It is important to create a multidiscipline environment that shares creative thinking across disciplines. This kind of thinking produces great products and marketing material that make companies world-beaters.
Developing and sustaining talent
Ensuring talent is identified and nurtured is critical in maintaining a centre of excellence. Many would look to creative colleges as a barometer of this kind of fostering. However, the reality is that the process starts much earlier within schools.
The creative industry depends on infrastructure. This infrastructure can include basic functions such as broadband connections through to studio space. In order to ensure a creative platform is developed, it is essential that these facilities are planned and invested in, ensuring that they are world class.
Budgets and reward
Clients and budgets are a little like the 'chicken and egg' debate. When you have a recognised creative centre, clients with budgets seek these out to get the best creative thinking for their business. To establish this kind of function often requires investment and support to establish the reputation within the area.
Clearly, the decision to invest, attract and sustain a creative community should be at the heart of a city’s strategy. Unfortunately, the arts are seldom placed at this level of importance. Hopefully, the city of Birmingham's bid for recognition as the 'city of culture' will help to promote the wider understanding and its importance within our community.