POV: The UK is losing its creative spark

In 2021, against the backdrop of a similarly alarming report, Jed Hallam, co-founder and managing director of CultureLab, invited creatives from similar backgrounds into a WhatsApp group to discuss possible initiatives. Individuals were encouraged to invite a friend, who then invited another “and within 48 hours we had 300 members,” creative strategist Tom Armstrong, one of the first co-founders to join, tells It’s Nice That. Over the past three years, Common People has grown in contributors every day, encompassing a thriving WhatsApp group, monthly Substack, events and consultancy arm.

An emblem of hope, the network takes a “celebratory approach to diversity, highlighting the incredible array of skills a working class background gives you that are vital to the creative workplace,” outlines Tom. “It means we all get to enjoy a broader range of storytelling, power is held to account, and we become a better, more empathetic society for it.” Although its focus is often on sharing resources to open pathways into the industry, Common People keeps the end output of creativity front of mind. For instance, the group holds the belief that increasing class representation is more than “just a moral issue”, but actively affects the communicative storytelling the creative industry prides itself upon. After all: “A monocultural creative industry produces bland, ineffective work, especially when it excludes the very people and communities who’d given Britain its creative spark over the last few decades.”


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