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Birmingham Post, 9 July 1999

Creatives Aim to Banish Luvvie Stereotypes

By Eileen Murphy

Special Correspondent

Traditional stereotypes of creative people sporting ponytails and scruffy clothes must be banished if the UK is to compete with the rest of the world in emerging businesses, according to a report yesterday.

Leading creatives and artists from the worlds of film, advertising, design and the Internet took part in a research project to promote the UK's First Creative Summit to be held later this year.

The UK's creative industries generate revenues of 60 billion a year and employ more than 1.4 million people. In addition, the creative economy is growing almost twice as fast as the rest of the economy and contributed 4 percent of the UK's gross domestic product last year.

However creative people suffer from a poor image based on stereotypes of being unreliable, elitist and outside the mainstream, according to the research.

The survey asked 30 of Britain's top creative minds what obstacles they and their industry faced in overcoming these myths and making the public realise the vast contribution that the creative industries make, pushing the nation's business forward.

Ms Carol Samms, who carried out the research said: "The most striking thing that came out of this was the belief that the education system in the UK is fundamentally flawed. The system should deliver minds that can swim. Children must be taught to think." Ms Samms said that many of those interviewed said the public needed to see how creativity touched their everyday lives and dispel the myth that creatives were "airy-fairy."

Mr Martin Freeth, of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, which aims to become an "angel for talent" in the creative industries by offering Lottery funding to talented individuals, said much needed to be done to promote creative talent.

He said: "We can't reverse this all ourselves and that is why we are backing the Creative Summit. Unlike other countries we don't regard failure as a learning process. Instead we see it as just failure and we need to change that? "

The summit will be held in Sunderland on September 15-18.

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