Goldsmiths’ expertise shapes House of Lords creative industries report

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Experts from Goldsmiths have made a significant contribution to a new report into the future of UK creative industries.

A number of academics from the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship (ICCE) submitted evidence to a House of Lords' Communications and Digital Committee inquiry into a creative future. Goldsmiths’ Chair of Council, Dinah Caine CBE, also appeared before the Committee.  

These submissions helped inform the Committee’s new report “At risk: our creative future”. The report warns that government complacency threatens to see Britain lose its status as a leading centre of creative enterprise to global competitors.  

The UK’s £115 billion a year creative industries sector could be overtaken as a result of “muddled policies, barriers to success, and indifference to the sector’s potential”, the report says. 

Setting out its recommendations, the report calls on the government to unlock the sector’s potential by fixing policies “characterised by incoherence and barriers to success”. 

Goldsmiths’ contributions were: 

  • Dr Nicola Searle, Digital Economy Fellow in ICCE – oral evidence on the impact of technology on business models in the creative industries and intellectual property licensing
  • Dr Martin Smith, Visiting Fellow in ICCE – oral evidence on international comparisons and where new international competition is facing the UK creative sector: and written evidence.
  • ICCE academics Dr Cecilia Dinardi, Dr George Musgrave, Dr Michael Franklin, Dr Oonagh Murphy and Ms Sian Prime – written evidence to the inquiry
  • Dinah Caine, Chair of Goldsmiths’ Council – oral evidence on what needs to change in pre-16 education to ensure that we have a skilled workforce for the future  

Dr Searle said: “The Committee has rightly recognised the profound challenges that technology will inflict on creative industries whose success is important for the UK economy, innovation and heritage. But their recommendations may struggle to have the desired effect of sustaining the UKs pre-eminence. 

“Policy changes can simply not overcome the market structure of creative content. Technology platforms have enormous amounts of market power leaving content creators with little bargaining power. The business models of technology firms, like streaming services, afford them with gatekeeping roles and economic resources that stronger copyright makes only marginal difference. It means that the committees focus on intellectual property rights as a tool is a red herring.” 

Both Dr Searle and Dr Smith have written about their experience of contributing evidence to the Committee. Read Dr Smith’s Times Higher Education piece.

The Committee notably drew on the evidence from across Goldsmiths to inform its recommendations which included:

  • Improve tax policy to boost innovation
  • The Intellectual Property Office’s proposals to change the text and data mining regime are misguided and should be paused immediately
  • Protect the UK's intellectual property framework, which is respected across the world
  • There should be a cross-Government focus on skills shortages in the creative industries which in turn would change lazy rhetoric about ‘low value’ arts courses
  • UK Research and Innovation should identify options to continue the most successful parts of the Creative Clusters Programme after March 2023 

Baroness Stowell, Chair of the Committee, said: “Our report sets out some immediate challenges that the Government can address now. These include improving R&D tax policy to stop excluding innovation in the creative sector; abandoning plans to relax intellectual property rules which would undercut our creative businesses; making the Department for Education wake up to the reality that the future lies in blending creative and digital skills rather than perpetuating silos; and urging senior figures across Government to take the creative sector’s economic potential more seriously.”