Keeping London at the forefront of global business
working with and for the whole UK
Innovating cultural institutions back to life
8 July 2021
When the COVID-19 pandemic emptied streets across the globe, some declared ‘the city’ was dead. Exhibitions, nightlife and restaurants were suddenly replaced by Netflix, never-ending Zooms and eating on the couch. The sudden lockdowns and shift to social distancing measures had an immense impact across most sectors but particularly on our creative and cultural industries, which are often reliant on shared in-person experience. In May 2020, 90 percent of museums around the world were closed, with 16% of museums in the U.S. at risk of closing permanently.
These sectors are critical economic engines for cities, generating more than $2.2 trillion USD a year worldwide, representing three per cent of the world’s GDP. In the UK, where the rapidly-growing creative sector had been employing over two million people prior to the pandemic, the economic impact has been stark. According to a report commissioned by Oxford Economics, the creative sub sectors were expected to lose more than half of their revenue and workforce. This impact is particularly acute in Greater London, as it is in other major cities around the world, where these sectors are concentrated.
The world’s culture capitals — London, Paris, Berlin and New York — have come together to form the Global Innovation Collaborative (GIC) and launch an innovation competition to develop long-term rebuilding strategies for our creative and cultural institutions. The Creative Cities Challenge will crowdsource ideas from innovators across the globe to design solutions that re-open these sectors, restore jobs and reinvigorate each cities’ unique character and economies. The Challenge, created with urban impact business Nitrous and our team at Bloomberg Associates, a pro-bono municipal consulting service, will act as a blueprint for other cities around the world to address their own recovery efforts.
The Challenge welcomes ideas from innovators, entrepreneurs, students and community members that:
Reimagine systems — which may include new technological platforms, digital tools, in-person or virtual gatherings, markets, or festivals — to ensure creative individuals, industries, and activities can be connected, made financially sustainable, and thrive as a critical part of each cities’ cultural landscape; or
Help small and independent businesses in the creative economy to adapt quickly to changing community needs and consumer behavior.
We are hoping to identify pilots that are underway and could be scaled, experiments that have been tried and could be replicated, or prototypes that could be launched quickly.
Submissions can be made online through https://citiesinnovation.global, and must be completed by midnight BST on July 20. Ideas will be evaluated by an international jury of experts based on the maturity of the concept and evidence of success in early pilots. In London, the jury includes designers, technologists and thought leaders including the director of Google’s Cultural Institute, Amit Sood; Founding Director of Public, Lucy Musgrave; and will be chaired by London’s Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, Justine Simons. After a selection process and co-creation exercise, one winner from each city will be announced by the GIC on December 1.
The importance of the cultural and creative industries in our lives, and to our economies, is more evident than ever. But if we want them to survive, we need to innovate. For more information on the Global Innovation Collaborative and how you can get involved, please visit https://citiesinnovation.global.
Become a member
Our members include over 200 of the capital’s leading employers across a wide range of sectors, with a common commitment to our capital.