Why rising stars need our support

By John Mathers, Design Council


Great Britain is the envy of the world for our abundance of creative and entrepreneurial talent and, in so many ways, we set the benchmark.

The Rising Stars we have selected as part of the Hospital Club's h.Club 100 Awards epitomise the sort of cross-section of skills and talent that go together to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. From artists to actors and dancers, illustrators and writers, digital entrepreneurs and social media gurus, this is a really impressive list.

We know that the Creative Industries in the UK, as a sector, has seen tremendous growth in recent years. Indeed, earlier this year, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport released a report into the creative industries’ impact on the UK economy.

It ratified what those of us ‘on the inside’ have known for years, the creative industries aren’t just important – they’re integral. Growing faster than any other sector in the UK, it is both uplifting and reassuring that they are recognised by the powers-that-be as the major force they truly are.

The next step, of course, is taking this growth even further out in to the international arena.

This spring, the Warwick Commission argued that the creative industries are ‘an ecosystem’ generating economic and cultural wellbeing in Britain, and must receive further investment to safeguard future growth.

I heartily echo its call for joined-up policymaking and a national plan for the creative sector that maximises cultural, economic and social return. Particular emphasis should be placed on skills development and education, and how a broad cultural education matched with investment is critical to ensure the full potential of tomorrow’s creative leaders is captured.

Our creative education in this country is at risk of not getting the investment and support that it needs.

Many other countries around the world have woken up to the importance of an idea-driven economy, and if we’re not careful our pre-eminence will be under threat. We need baseline investment to ensure that Britain maintains – and nurtures – its leading international role in the arts and culture.

It’s vitally important that we do not rest on our laurels, which is why the recognition and celebration of these Rising Stars is so important. It’s far too difficult – and dangerous!! – to single any of them out, but watch out for all of them in the future. I can confidently predict that we are going to hear a lot more about them.

John Mather is CEO of the Design Council and was a judge of the rising stars category of The Hospital Club's 2015 h.Club 100 Awards