Importance of Perception

Charles Landry

Another dimension that really is quite important in thinking through the sub-sectors of the creative industries is the whole thing about perception, image, branding, reputation. Because of course, all of these sectors are very important in creating a sense of experience in a place. And indeed, they define it. You know, often even films like Miami Vice helped in a negative way to define Miami, but if you had some international soap that was about Košice, everybody might be talking about Košice in a new way. 

That is obviously one thing. But more importantly, these sectors help generate imagery. The imagery that external people have of a place like Košice. Not many people really know where it is. Many people do not even know how to pronounce the name. So it is incredibly important to use this sector. Some people call it the industries of the imagination, to use their imagination, to help project and show new light: a sort of place, region, history, heritage, identity of your city and of your region. So again a very important dimension that the traditional administrators and decision makers really need to understand quite strongly. 

Another question people often ask is: "Well, what places are doing this well?" I would say, and it is always easy to mention very big cities, but Amsterdam is really good at bringing the forces together as a part of this creative economy. These are also part of the creative city idea when they bring lots of people who are imaginative in different fields together. Also they are very good in a sense of stuff about branding and so on. I think the "I AMsterdam" campaign is quite sophisticated and interesting if you look at it in depth. Others that people often mention is the campaign about the "be berlin" where quite a lot of the artistic people are very skeptical, but nevertheless it's interesting to consider that. 

So if we are looking at cities in general, that are good at supporting this sort of basic infrastructure - soft and hard infrastructure for the creative economy - there are many places in the Netherlands: obviously Rotterdam has done a lot, Amsterdam, I have mentioned. There are others are trying hard like Maastricht and so on. I think that couple of British cities are quite good. Historically, Sheffield was good, Manchester is good, there is an awareness in London. I think in general there is a strong awareness of the importance of the sector, but you would probably say that Britain was quite a leader in measuring the impact of all of this. However we think you can equally look at places like Copenhagen, and again you can see I am mentioning usually very large city, the capitals. 

But if you look at the smaller cities, you might find Gent, a really interesting city. I think it is one of the most creative cities I have come across. So there are places at the smaller level, that are doing interesting thing. 

Now if we take the emphasis away from the creative industries itself and look on it more broadly I think there're also some very creative places. I think Helsinki is creative. Of course, it has a lot of new technology. I think Freiburg, the green city of Europe is creative. I think Bilbao which is not that strong in creative economy was creative in how it reinvented itself. So there're a lots of examples that can inspire and there're many obviously in other countries in Australia, Asia and America. 

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Charles Landry

Charles Landry

Director in Comedia in London, United Kingdom

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