manchester must think globally


Creative Manchester 650

Above: The Johnnie Walker brand experience house in Seoul, South Korea, created by Manchester-based design agency Love.


The importance of thinking globally and retaining intellectual property rights were among the themes discussed at a recent gathering of creative industry leaders in Manchester, north-west England.

The event, at the innovative UKFast Campus on Wed 3rd September, brought together more than 100 influencers and practitioners from the television, games, advertising and digital content sectors to identify opportunities and challenges for the city's creative industries.

It also marked the publication of a report on the city's creative scene, produced by The Drum magazine supported by the IPA and Creative Skillset, which follows similar analyses of Bristol & Bath and Birmingham

The ambitions of the city's creative industries were supported by Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester Council, who said: "The creative industries are playing a huge role in both the region’s economic recovery, and that of the UK as a whole. Manchester is a thriving creative cluster and has an enormous impact in stimulating local economic growth. The City Council is committed to providing the right business and infrastructure support to ensure their continuing success.”

At the event, an industry panel and an invited audience debated the city's needs and challenges. The panel was led by Cat Lewis of Nine Lives Media and panel Chair Mike Perls, of MC2, with Martin Bryant, The Next Web; Jeff Coughlan, Matmi; Nicky Unsworth, BJL; and Kay Elliott, Creative England.

In her presenation to the audience, Cat Lewis said creativity had long been part of the DNA of Manchester and Salford and developments such as the creation of ITV as a regional network and the move of some BBC staff and programme-making to areas outside London had helped foster national identity and support development of talent across the UK.

However, she warned that diversity within the television industry - both behind and infront of the camera - had slipped back, and the creative industries needed more public funding outside London and sympathetic regulation to prosper.

In the debate themes included:

  • the importance to creative businesses and to the city of retaining intellectual property rights to work;
  • how Manchester was the second biggest creative cluster in Europe after London, and had the potential to compete on the world stage with Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam
  • how many Manchester businesses were widening their vision and setting up subsidiary offices in London to service national and international businesses (it was considered important for Manchester that this did not dilute its profile/personality)
  • how Manchester should not rest on its laurels because other UK cities were snapping at its heels in terms of profile, and overtaking it, in terms of government funding and support
  • how Creative Manchester could do more to present a coherent picture and narrative - it needed an ambassador who talked with passion
  • how Manchester needed to work harder to grow and retain its own, and how young people, straight from school, were a strong alternative now to graduates.

The evening also celebrated the appointment of 10 Creative Pioneers apprentices to IPA member agencies and allies.

Janet Hull, director of marketing at the IPA, added: ‘This is just the beginning; the start of a bigger campaign to put the creative cities of Britain on the map nationally and internationally and shout about the dynamic growth in our sector and how we are a force for economic and social good.’

The event was the third in a nationwide campaign by the Creative Industries Council to put the UK creative industries on the map.