Risham Nadeem: Time to be less London-centric?

Risham Nadeem: Time to be less London-centric

Is it time to be less London-centric?

“The Creative Industry claims to understand the world. But if you look at the work coming out of it, you often get the sense that the world exists within the confines of a TFL map. Don’t get me wrong, London is cool, but it’s not the world and it’s not Britain… it’s not even Colchester.

We’re in a cultural moment where brand and advertising are synonymous with noise. When you’re constantly being bombarded with messaging, what cuts through the cacophony is authenticity. And authenticity comes from knowing a place firsthand, not Googling it from a WeWork in Soho. It’s not a shocking thought, so why, shockingly, is it not the norm for the Creative Industry?

It’s not elitist to say that today, London is the creative capital of the UK. It’s the home of agencies, brands, industry bodies and the media infrastructure that brings them all together. It’s elitist to think it should be going forward. As a young person interested in the creative industries, growing up in Leeds, I felt I had no choice but to move to London. Which is a shame. I like Leeds. Also clean air.

By building a presence in Britain’s other cities, and highlighting their unique characters, the Creative Industry can send a powerful message. Just moving your agency to be near a train station isn’t enough (King’s Cross, we’re looking at you). Giving regional talent the chance to stay regional is going to be critical to the delivery of great creative and a nationwide Creative Industry. Some of the biggest benefits of a redistribution of creative capital is the creation of jobs and stimulation of local economies. And while we’re proud to do our part – my agency Start Design has had a dual London-Manchester base for over a decade – we need the support of big brands like Amazon, who last year opened an office in Manchester, creating 600 jobs.

Ultimately, we need to play a part in creating a culture of creativity that is not dependent on London. There’s more to the US than New York City. But is there more to the UK Creative Industry than London? Obviously, but it’s on us and our clients to do more and prove it.”


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The Drum