An intensification of working ties between the cultural, civic and commercial sectors will, the report claims, be essential in tackling the pandemic’s repercussions and to rebuild the capital’s cultural economy.

Culture and Commerce: Fuelling Creative Renewal has been published by the Culture and Commerce Taskforce, established in October by the City of London Corporation and Culture Mile to pool the expertise of leading figures from across the city’s commercial, civic, tech, and creative organisations.

The Taskforce’s report makes three recommendations to facilitate the action it believes will support a post-Covid recovery.

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Required remedies

  • Creative Activation: Bringing London alive through creativity

The commercial and arts sectors should work together to use creativity to bring people back to London as soon as social distancing restrictions allow

By repurposing public and commercial spaces and using creative and digital expertise across London, businesses and public bodies should employ artists and creatives to help develop urban renewal programmes, filling streets, shop windows, and lobbies in the capital with creative activity to attract workers, visitors and residents when COVID restrictions allow

  • Exchange: Sharing knowledge and building skills between culture and commerce

There is a powerful opportunity to bring together London’s creative and business strengths to boost professional skills, attract and nurture global talent, and build international connections. By drawing upon each other’s expertise, culture and commerce can access the creative and business skills needed to navigate the challenges of a post-pandemic, post-Brexit world

Recommendations include: a London creative skills event for school-leavers post-COVID; a  skills-sharing programme which offers professional development opportunities across the creative and commercial sectors; and an international exchange programme, which connects the creative and commercial sectors across the world to explore global issues

  • Creative Enterprise Hubs: Developing dedicated spaces for cross-sector innovation

Physical hubs are a hotbed of ideas for innovation and provide isolated workers with human connections and inspiration

The Taskforce recommends establishing a brokerage model supporting owners, occupiers and employers to make unused office and retail space available for creative businesses, and a dedicated forum to give freelancers a voice in planning the future of the creative sector

“The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating impact upon the capital’s cultural and creative sectors, and we make no apology for describing the situation as a ‘cultural catastrophe’,” asserts William Russell, Lord Mayor of the City of London and chair of the Culture and Commerce Taskforce.

Culture and Commerce Taskforce
Rt Hon Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman William Russell © City of London Corporation

“This blueprint for a deeper relationship between the creative and commercial sectors will help boost London’s economic growth and places the capital’s powerhouse creative sector as a leading force in the economic recovery from coronavirus,” Russell continues.

“I call upon culture, civic, and commercial organisations across London to consider what the Taskforce is proposing, with a view to implementing as many recommendations as they are able to, in order to help accelerate the recovery.”

The City of London Corporation invests over £130m every year in the creative industries, making it nation’s fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities.

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