Creative businesses and independents will be a major factor in helping the city weather the economic crisis according to the city’s regeneration chief.
Speaking ahead of the Creative City Awards 2008, taking place at the ICC on Saturday, Clive Dutton, Birmingham City Council director of planning and regeneration, said the sector was a vital part of the city’s economy.
“The growth of the independents and the creative sector will be a very strong element of how the city copes with the current economic conditions,” he said.
“It’s the individuality, the creative young talent and the recognition that a lot of creative industries cluster and network between themselves.
“Creative industries are like an organism in the city – they are self-perpetuating. They interact with each other – like an organism that morphs into other industries. Also, in order to be successful you have got to be at the leading edge. That’s a very stimulating element to the city’s economic make-up.”
Mr Dutton pointed to the part the creative industries can play in Birmingham’s aspiration to make it into the Top 20 most liveable cities in the world.
“People like places that are different and they tend to be where you have this creative element – there is an edge and a buzz that is born from creativity.
“A great example of creative Birmingham is elements of Digbeth, particularly the Custard Factory and parts of the Jewellery Quarter – it’s part of the lifeblood of the city.”
Mr Dutton named companies such as retail design experts Green Room Retail, a previous winner at the Creative City Awards, as an example of a thriving Birmingham creative firm with major names such as Nike and Marks & Spencer on its client list.
“A lot of these companies are pretty small but they punch way above their weight in the city and internationally in terms of business they pick up.”
“It’s good to recognise Birmingham’s creative talent and it’s good to see Birmingham’s creativity taking on the world,” he said.
“The Creative City Awards are a rare and special opportunity for the creative community to come together to jointly recognise and celebrate the success of their peers.”
Birmingham’s Creative City Awards has a 2008 panel of leading creative industry figures from some of the city’s most prominent arts and culture decision makers.
The judging panel will be assessing local creative industry organisations as they compete for individual £2,000 development prizes within each of the six separate categories.
The panel includes Julia Higginbottom, facilities manager and creative director at multiplatform post-production house Aquila, Ian Danby, head of resource development for the Arts Council and Lara Ratnaraja, sector manager for creative and knowledge industries at Business Link WM.