It’s a certainty that any new regeneration initiative will declare that as a result of their intervention “thousands” of new jobs in the creative industries will be created.
Predictably, Birmingham and the West Midlands have a good track record of such declarations but it’s actually something of a worldwide phenomena.
Cities as diverse as Pittsburgh in the US and Vilnius in Lithuania are hoping that the creative economy helps give their declining economies a boost.
Indeed it’s rare to hear a city come out and say something different.
Detroit is a refreshing exception.
Its post-manufacturing decline is so bad that its idea to turn itself into a huge urban farm is so wacky it might just work.
Given Longbridge has gone the way of housing and business parks rather than cows and sheep, the Greater Birmingham Local Economic Partnership is taking that well-trodden route of claiming that thousands of creative jobs will be created as part of it enterprise zone.
But beyond the occasional press story it’s quite tricky to find out what the LEP is up to.
It has no website of its own and its one and only public-facing bulletin was issued early on, while there was still just a shadow board.
The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce website has copies of its initial application to become a LEP but where is the work it has done to calculate the creation of these thousands of jobs?
Given that most of the city’s creative sector is no more than a tweet away, you might have thought that, given the LEPs more-or-less non-existent finances, it could at least put its documentation on a simple blog and keep us informed.
A researcher asked me recently how the creative sector had coped during the downturn. Surprisingly well I responded, but all those whose job it was to support them have gone.
If the LEP is to play a part in the next wave of creative industries support then it would do well to show its face.
* Dave Harte is Award Leader for the MA Social Media at Birmingham City University