The creative rash

Creativity is like a rash; it is all-pervasive. Everyone is in the creativity game. Creativity is a mantra of our age, whether we are referring to creative individuals, companies, cities, countries or even creative streets, buildings and projects.

At my last count 60 cities worldwide claimed to be creative cities. Twenty were in Britain, from Creative Manchester, Bristol, Plymouth and Norwich to, of course, Creative London. And ditto Canada: Toronto, with its Culture Plan for the Creative City; Vancouver and its Creative City Task Force; London, Ontario's similar task force; and Ottawa's plan to be a creative city. In the US there is Creative Cincinnati, Creative Tampa Bay and the welter of creative regions such as Creative New England. Partners for Liveable Communities in Washington DC launched a Creative

Cities Initiative in 2001. In Australia we find the Brisbane Creative City strategy and there is Creative Auckland. Osaka set up a Graduate School for Creative Cities in 2003 and launched the Japanese Creative Cities Network in 2005. Even the somewhat lumbering UNESCO, through its Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity, launched its Creative Cities Network in 2004, anointing Edinburgh as the first for its literary creativity. On closer examination most of the strategies and plans are in fact concerned with strengthening the arts and cultural fabric, such as support for the arts and artists and the institutional infrastructure to match. In addition they focus on fostering the creative industries, comprising those that 'have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property'.62

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