Department for Culture, Media & Sport
14 June 2013
Classifying and measuring the creative industries:
Consultation on proposed changes
1. I’m writing this note from Animate Projects and on behalf of Animation Alliance UK, which Animate coordinates.
2. Animate has been commissioning and producing animation for over 20 years, initially through a Channel Four/Arts Council England scheme, and more recently through a range of partnerships, including Jerwood Charitable Foundation, the National Trust, Channel 4’s Random Acts, BFI and the Wellcome Trust. We work with a broad range of creative talent, including visual artists and animators working in industry on personal projects.
3. Animation Alliance UK, established in 2011, is a group of independent animation professionals that exists as a network and focus for sharing information and discussion, to advocate for the support of independent animation in the UK, and to lobby for investment in production, training and archive. Our members work across a very wide range of projects across ‘cultural’ and ‘commercial’ practice and across the breadth of film, visual arts and the creative industries. animationallianceuk.org/members/
4. Animate, in association with London College of Communication, is currently undertaking a basic mapping exercise, intended to inform the development of Accelerate, a professional and practice support programme for creative animation. accelerateanimation.wordpress.com/about/
Classifying and measuring the creative industries: consultation
5. We very much welcome the consultation. Our concern is that animation is not part of the current or proposed classification, which means that, children’s television aside, what animators do is not acknowledged. And as a consequence of not being counted, as far as current public investment in development and training, it doesn’t count.
6. Creative Skillset’s 2009 Employment Census gives a figure of 8160 employees and freelancers in the occupational group ‘animators’. Apart from children’s television, the animation sector is under-researched – and so there is little statistical evidence that what we do is of significant cultural and economic value. Our Accelerate ‘mapping’ is intended as a start. We recently conducted a survey that asked animators about the kind of work they do (commercial, personal), the way they work (freelance, studios, collectives), and what kind of professional development would like and how they would like it delivered. We received 324 responses.
7. 55% of respondents said they also worked in industries ‘other than animation’, including film (36%), illustration (31%), graphic design (25%), museum/gallery (21%), photography (14%) and web design (13%). They work in music, theatre, education, fashion, writing, publishing and business.
8. Animators work in music videos, advertising, television, children’s television and gaming. They make independent films for festivals and cinema. They work on feature films and for gallery exhibition. Animators make work for digital platforms, working on online projects and content, on interactive projects, on web/social media and on online content.
9. It is an established workforce, with 51.1% having worked in animation for over five years, and 37.3% between one and five years. Animators work in studios, in collectives and freelance. 62.7% of respondents said their work is a mix of commercial and personal projects.
10. We’ll be publishing our findings in the summer, along with profiles of 22 ‘companies’, ranging from studios employing 30 or more, through to individual artists.
11. Animation pervades contemporary culture; however, the development and the nurturing of our talent base and creativity have become dependent on the sector’s own drive and determination, and this is unsustainable.
12. A strength of the animation sector is how it works between and across commercial and cultural ‘categories’ – advertising, film, digital, television, interactive, gallery. But the diversity of creative animation practice, and how animation is part of many different cultural and commercial fields, may have contributed to a lack of clarity and recognition.
13. We believe that animation and animators make a substantial and vital contribution to the creative industries, and that there are strong cultural and economic reasons to invest in the sector’s development.
14. We appreciate that your categories are necessarily broad, but we are encouraged that you recognise that “the current codes do not adequately separate out industries and occupations”.
15. The evidence of animation’s impact in clear and extensive in our daily lives, but animation does not figure in your mapping. If the classification of the creative industries is to appropriately reflect current practice and the particular re-shaping that has come about through digital, then we believe the inclusion of ‘animation’ (in whatever measure or reference) is inevitable.
16. The “set of creative industries and occupations” that you propose does not fully accommodate the innovative, shifting, cross-sector practice of animation, changing models of production, practice and market or an industry that is no longer neatly compartmentalised. Our fear is that as a consequence, it becomes invisible to the “policymakers, industry, academics and other users of the statistics”.
17. We have written this note in response to your invitation to “flag up weaknesses in the representation of specific sectors”.
18. Animation has its own creative and business practice, with its own particular development and training needs. A classification of the contemporary creative industries that fails to acknowledge the centrality of animation creative practice would be fail to reflect how the world actually is.
Associate Director, Animate Projects
Co-ordinator, Animation Alliance UK