The long-awaited V&A Museum of Design in Dundee is finally open. It houses more than 12,000 spectacular Scottish objects, clothing designs and Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s reconstructed Oak Room. Philip Long, the director of V&A Dundee, said the city chose the V&A, not the other way around. Bold.
So, taking Philip’s lead, is it time that the creative industries in Scotland started to hold a more confident, assertive position about our offering?
Scotland has an extraordinary creative past. Our innovative, creative influence on the world is well documented; from Baird to Fleming, Bell to Burns, Scotland’s creative foundations are solid – and we’ve never stopped creating.
The creative industry in Scotland is growing rapidly, contributing £4.6 billion to the economy. Today, Scotland is creating world-leading film, advertising and design, but do we sell it in a cohesive, confident way?
Creative Scotland, the public body which supports the creative industries, certainly does what it can. But with tight resource and budget restraints, their efforts can only stretch so far. Is it time for Scotland’s creative businesses to unite and present an aspirational, future-focused creative Scotland to the world?
There is some incredible work happening here. Location Scotland has shot videos for Kanye West, Harry Styles (of One Direction fame) and Florence and the Machine. Global talent is regularly choosing to collaborate creatively with Scotland.
The feature-film industry continues to go from strength to strength, with production infrastructure being the only current barrier to stop more films from Hollywood flooding in. The Avengers, James Bond, Harry Potter and World War Z were all supported by production talent in Scotland.
In advertising and design, Scotland produces an increasing amount of international work for brands like Nike, North Face, Velux, The Famous Grouse and The Macallan. In the public sector, the Scottish Government is creating some of the most progressive public-sector marketing in the world; saving lives (with their work for organ donation and road safety), and being globally recognised for marketing effectiveness.
In fact, the World Social Marketing Conference will be hosted in Edinburgh in 2019, having previously been hosted in Antwerp and Washington DC.
Scotland’s creative industry should be increasingly recognised as a global creative hub, challenging Amsterdam, Berlin, New York.
Scotland is not some outpost, sweeping up the crumbs from the global table. It’s a small land of incredible creativity, which individuals choose to be part of.
In 2019, The Marketing Society Scotland programme Spotlight on Scotland will showcase our country as a world-leading place to work, study and invest in creativity and marketing.
The society will also focus on developing and attracting the best talent to ensure Scotland’s creative output is continually the best it can be.
To help with this, Denholm, one of the industry’s leading recruitment consultants, will use their partnership with an international network of recruitment agencies to broaden Scotland’s talent pool, supporting the industry’s ambition.
We need to stop thinking about Scotland as a creative underdog, modestly surviving. Scotland’s creativity is currently alive and thriving.
We need to hang up our self-deprecating ways and be bolder and braver in our collective creative ambition for Scotland. As Harry Potter author JK Rowling once said: “Anything is possible, if you’ve got enough nerve.”
Fiona Burton, deputy chair, Marketing Society Scotland, client partner, The Leith Agency .