Thursday, 30 May 2013

Update on the DCMS consultation on creative industries including craft.


Today HCA met with head of creative Economy at DCMS and the statistician responsible for ensuring that creative businesses are represented within the government estimates of economic output. There has been understandable concern expressed because of the proposal to not use crafts as a subheading within the new classifications. What folk may not realise is that whilst craft has been there in the past the column alongside for economic output has read zero because the stats have not been available. This is obviously not ideal and DCMS are trying to find ways to dig out useable stats on craftspeople from the officially recorded SOC codes (standard occupational code) which are set by the ONS (office for national statistics) in line with international standards.
Creative Industries GVA  2008 - 2009
Sector
2008
2009
Gross Value Added (GVA)* (£million)
Proportion of total UK GVA (%)
Gross Value Added (GVA)* (£million)
Proportion of total UK GVA (%)
1. Advertising
7,160
0.55%
5,990
0.48%
2. Architecture
3,650
0.28%
3,290
0.26%
3. Art & Antiques
310
0.02%
260
0.02%
4. Crafts




5. Design
1,660
0.13%
1,790
0.14%
6. Designer Fashion
110
0.01%
120
0.01%
7. Film, Video & Photography
2,680
0.21%
3,000
0.24%
9 & 10. Music & Visual and Performing Arts
3,740
0.29%
4,070
0.32%
11. Publishing
11,610
0.90%
11,560
0.92%
8 & 12. Software & Electronic Publishing
570
0.04%
560
0.04%
8 & 12. Digital & Entertainment Media
160
0.01%
400
0.03%
13. TV & Radio
4,950
0.38%
5,260
0.42%
Total GVA for Creative Industries
36,600
2.82%
36,290
2.89%
Total GVA for all UK Industries1
1,295,633

1,256,932



What has to be done is to trawl through all the soc codes and then the subheadings which give typical job descriptions within that soc code and then we have to decide whether enough  of the jobs within that soc code are "creative" if they are that soc code can be counted as a creative industry....hurrah. Now when it gets down to the detail it is a subjective decision on each job title, is it creative or not? All we have to go on is a two or three word job title which in itself could cover a multitude of different working practices. To bring as much objectivity to the proces as possible DCMS are using a methodology developed by Nesta  which gives 5 criteria to judge against to help determine if a job is creative. Our concern however is that the people making those subjective decisions are a long way away from workshop practice and may not realise the degree of creative decision making that goes on even in apparently repetitive production work. We had a good discussion on the subject, is it possible for instance  to compare the band at a west end show performing the same score night after night to the workforce at a Northampton shoe factory responding to variable raw materials to make the same design of shoe? The DCMS officials were fully engaged and we hope to work with them looking again at various SOC codes to ensure that as many creative craftspeople as possible a represented within the government data.  We are also collating various pieces of critical writing highlighting the creativity within craft production. prof Trevor Marchand of SOAS wrote us an excellent piece highlighting the different but equal creativity of architect, mason and carpenter.

In an ideal world we would revisit the SOC codes and make them better descriptions of the jobs we do, that has been done for other sectors with proactive lead bodies but that can not be done until the next review in 2017, we will be ready!

So is there anything that others in the craft world can do to help? if you have references for good academic writing discussing creativity in craft practice send us a link. If you have the time to look at the list of SOC codes and see where your business would fit and then write a short critique using the 5 Nesta guidelines to explain how your business is creative that would help us to put your particular SOC code forward for inclusion in the creative industries list. If that sounds like too much hassle then just be thankful that HCA volunteer trustees are wading through this list on your behalf and if you would like to support us and keep in touch with our other work for the crafts sign up as a member here.http://www.heritagecrafts.org.uk/

Although craft is difficult to identify separately, DCMS are looking to  find ways to include the word craft in the creative industries categories  for folk that feel that is important but we all feel the most important thing is to ensure that we can find ways of measuring the sector and representing it within government statistics. This was the reasoning behind HCA working closely with BIS last year on the mapping heritage craft   project. That put craft firmly in the picture within BIS and showed remarkable figures of 209,000 people employed (78% self employed) and a turnover of £10.8 billion. Hopefully the current engagement will put craft equally in the picture at DCMS. We are an important and large creative sector which has unusual potential for growth in the current economic climate more people need to know about what we do.

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