Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Bath is an amazingly Creative city

On Thursday night unless the BBC has a dramatic change of heart, the prestigious Question Time show will have a record audience as well-known Holocaust denier Nick Griffin joins the illustrious panel. It may not be November 5 just yet – but boy, oh boy, expect fireworks.

On Tuesday night I too had the pleasure of sitting on a Question Time style panel – but thankfully there wasn’t a BNP activist in sight.

For this proudly non-political panel was one that was there to highlight one of Bath’s greatest hidden assets – it’s lively and highly imaginative creative sector.

he event had been organised by the burgeoning Creative Bath group which is aiming to bring together the many different creative industries in our city. The term “creative industry” is obviously quite a wide-ranging one and among the members of the group are people involved in all forms of the written media, TV and film, writing, web designing, music, photography and other less ‘obvious’ creative fields such as architecture.

What unites them all is that they use their imagination and their brains to produce their wares. And what an enjoyably eclectic bunch they are too.

At this latest meeting a number of us were asked to be part of a panel discussion on how the recession and general downturn has affected the media/creative sector. Chaired enthusiastically by the ever-energetic Greg Ingham of MediaClash, I shared that panel with Bob Mytton, Malcolm Brinkworth, Mike Ellis, Richard Daws and John Weir and between us we represented a wide range of different organisations all of whom have had different challenges during the past 12 months.

I found all my fellow guests to be fascinating and full of insight and between us and the equally engaged audience I think we enjoyed a pretty lively debate.

What virtually all of us in the packed Ustinov Theatre shared was the realisation that yes, the creative sector has had a tough time, but that hadn’t dented the optimism, positivism or the imagination of those of us in this fascinating sector.W

hat this night also illustrated was just how vibrant the creative scene is in Bath. Organisations such as the Chronicle, Future and MediaClash are all quite high-profile but there are many pockets in and around the city where smaller groups of people are producing top-class work that collectively is providing millions of pounds for our city’s economy.

The figures of how much the creative industries bring to our area are staggering and it was revealed on Tuesday night that Bath is doing as well as anywhere in the South West in terms of its creative enterprise.

I am fairly certain that in many towns or cities which are much bigger than Bath you would not get the same number of people attending such events as this and Bath does seem to be like a magnet for many people who work in the creative field. It seems somewhat ironic that in a city which is so rightfully proud of its past that if you scratch at the surface you will find many people who are working hard in the industries of the future.

I also sense that, although the Creative Bath organisation already has hundreds of active and enthusiastic members, there may be many other people out there who are still not aware of the benefits this group brings. If that sounds like you then can I push you to the group’s website ( where you can find out how you can join an organisation which may not only be good for you as an individual, but could also boost your business and help our city’s economy grow.

PS I bet tonight’ s Question Time won’t be nearly as inspiring . . .

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