Interview: Shirley Atkinson on Creative Futures
The Creative Futures launch at the Houses of Parliament was attended by the vice-chancellor of the University of Sunderland, Shirley Atkinson.
Sophie Dishman and Laura Wilson interviewed her about the Creative Futures report. They also asked her about what the University of Sunderland is doing to support the creative industries within the North East and beyond.
L: What is the Creative Futures report?
Shirley: It is the Creative Futures, Ten Steps to Support the Creative Economy. It is a publication by Million+ which is a group of universities – modern universities who produce information and advice to lobby government and decision makers about where and how they could invest to support our creative economies. In this case our students and our universities with their mission in delivering excellent graduates into the work place.
S: Why is it important?
Shirley: It is important that we have a voice and that we can say how creativity and culture fits alongside some of the other government agendas to do with science, manufacturing and engineering. We get the message about creativity into the thinking of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and that we provide information and evidence to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. So that when they’re making their very difficult decisions about where to put money and resources – they can see the real value of the work that the universities do in that space around the creative industries.
L: What is the University of Sunderland doing to help?
Shirley: We do an enormous amount in the space around creativity and culture.
S: How does the report help Sunderland?
Shirley: It helps Sunderland enormously. We’ve got the investment in creativity and culture, the work that we do in the National Glass Centre, we’ve got the Tall Ships event in 2018, we’re bidding to be City of Culture in 2021, so all of our activities around culture and creativity, media, Spark FM, everything we do feeds to and from creative industries so it’s of significant importance to the university and to the city.
S: How will the report be implemented?
Shirley: It will be left with the two government departments to read and take away. It will be promoted a lot in the media over the next few days, just to stimulate some thinking about whether the UK is doing enough to invest in the creative economy.