Content, clusters, cities:
I was talking with Jake Grimley of MADE last week about the importance of ‘content origination’ for the competitiveness of the UK creative media sector. And tonight I found a spot-on quote from a speech given by Phil Wood in Nottingham…

“There’s one thing that would worry me if the UK’s Regional Development Agencies all decided to back the odds-on [creative industries] favourite – digital media – and turn away from other less spectacular sectors as economic under-achievers. I would have to ask whether they have really thought about where the value of digital media derives from. Well it derives from technology and a shit-hot business model of course. But ultimately it comes from one thing – content. And where does content come from? Content comes from artists, content comes from designers, content comes from actors and dancers and playwrights and poets and singers and ranters and ravers. Yes, all those people on the fringes of the real economy who left college without a real job to go to, who eke out an existence from subsidies and menial part-time jobs, and who don’t dream of one day running a company with offices in three continents and a [stock market] quotation on the Nasdaq.”

He also uses his research to question if the ‘business cluster’ model can be applied to the creative industries without straight-jacketing them. And he suggests that – contrary to recieved wisdom – a study of the examples of Manchester and Birmingham shows that creative industries growth seems to be just as strong (and perhaps more sustainable) on the suburban & county-town peripheries of these cities as it is in the city centres.