Hasan Bakhshi, the creative economy director at Nesta

Q&A with Hasan Bakhshi

Rebecca Atkinson, 24.04.2015
Nesta's creative economy director on why the UK needs more creative jobs
The UK’s creative workforce accounts for 2.6 million jobs, and brings great economic benefits. But a new report published by Nesta has called on the government to create one million new creative jobs by 2030 – a move that would require growth of 2.6% a year.

Museums Journal spoke to Hasan Bakhshi, the creative economy director at Nesta, to find out what key recommendations are made in the Creative Economy and the Future of Employment report.

What are the main arguments behind Nesta’s call for the next UK government to create one million creative jobs by 2030?

We know that creative jobs are typically held by people who are highly educated, skilled and driven by innovation, but what our report shows is that they are also more resistant to automation.

It’s hard to make long-term predictions about technology, but we are seeing an unprecedented move in the jobs market towards artificial intelligence.

As a result, we believe there will be a greater demand for creative jobs in the future, and public policy needs to support this.

The report shows that creative jobs are mainly distributed in London and the south-east – if more jobs are created, how should the government ensure these benefit the whole of the UK?

Research published by Nesta in January found that the creative economy is one of the least evenly distributed workforces, after agriculture and finance, with 43% of jobs in London and the south-east.

The challenge for public policy is to make sure that the benefits of growing the creative workforce is shared across the UK, and we believe there is a case for government incentives to develop the creative clusters that already exist outside London.

The report recommends a £100m strategic fund using money from the Regional Growth Fund, with matched funding from the private sector, local authorities and cultural funders.
The report identifies bias in multi-disciplinary education. How would Nesta like to see this tackled?

One of the things that we’ve learnt about creativity and innovation is that the most successful ideas are often the least expected and are the result of different perspectives coming together.

But there are many barriers to multi-disciplinary work. We can’t just rely on people coming together – we need an education system that addresses this problem.

Nesta wants to see creative talent nurtured in schools, by turning the Stem agenda into Steam (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).

It is as much about an economic imperative and recognising that our future workforce requires a multi-disciplinary approach as it is about ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities to develop their creative skills.

What type of new funding models would Nesta like to see emerge in the future?

The cultural sector’s basic funding model is split between earnings, public subsidies and philanthropy.

At a time when cuts are hitting the health of organisations, innovation in funding is really important.

The report calls for arts and culture funders to devote at least 1% of their budgets to research and development, and for organisations such as Arts Council England to commit money to pilot innovative financing schemes such as venture  funding and accelerators.