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More Brits Now Visit Art Galleries than Go To Football Matches

A recent Sharpie report shows the Rise of Britain as a Creative Super Power and identifies the UK’s Top 20 Creative Towns

Cool Britannia? Creative Britannia more like… From the Beetles to Brit Pop, from David Hockney to Damian Hirst – we’ve always prided ourselves on being a creative nation – now the first report of its kind attempts to measure how creative we really are and can reveal Britain’s top 20 creative towns.

These results have come from a unique piece of research carried out by Sharpie Markers using an extensive panel of experts and sources (see notes 1 for full details).

If definitively reveals how important creativity is to business and as part of the social fabric of British lives:

• In 2006, over 42 million of us visited an art gallery, more than attended a football match

• Creative industries are growing twice as fast as the rest of the economy and contribute 8.2% of GDP (according to government body UK Trade & Investment)

• The creative industries are also now an acknowledged strategic priority for Regional Development Agencies (many worked with us on the Sharpie Index)

• The number of design and art students climbed by 35% between 1995 and 2002

• A total of £826m was spent on arts and craft products, up £400m from 10 years ago (according to the Arts Council)

• Art investment is becoming increasingly popular with 11% of the population buying a piece by a living artist

The UK’s top 20 creative towns were identified by establishing a set of key criteria to index each town and city against, these include core elements such as a town’s creative output (number of patents, residents employed in creative industry, creative award short lists), the creative funding it receives (Arts Council and National Lottery grants) and creative consumption of the people who live there (number of festivals and fairs, percentage of residents who attended a local gallery/ museum). (See notes 2 for full details.)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, London was highlighted as the most creative town in the UK, followed closely by Manchester and Liverpool respectively. Our research found however that its not ‘grim up north’ its innovative! The Sharpie Creativity Index showed that creativity in Britain is being driven by Northern and Scottish cities - such as Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and Nottingham – with only two other Southern cities, Bristol and Brighton making it into the final top ten.

Top 20 Creative Towns in the UK:

St Ives

(See notes 3 for more details on the top five cities.)

Jemma Montuschi, Sharpie Brand Manager comments; ‘The research shows that creativity in Britain is at an all time high and that Britons should pride themselves on their status as a creative super power. Our aim is to get the message across to Britons to ‘Express Yourself’ and for the UK to return to its creative roots. In recent years public belief is that levels of creativity and self-expression have dropped, but our research proves this is not the case and gives the whole nation something to celebrate, with both the north and south contributing to the creative make up of Britain.’

Nick Park, Creator of Wallace and Gromit says: ‘I have always felt that Britain was a world leader in the Arts, Music, Literature, Graphics and Design, both traditionally and currently. I am proud to be part of that tradition. Britain is full of creative people and there are wonderful creative pockets.’

- ENDS -

For more information contact Jackie Cooper Public Relations:

Sarah Smith / DL: 0207 2087 242Email:

Georgina Edwards DL: 0207 2087257 Email:

Notes to Editors:

1. Panel of Experts

• Ekow Eshun – Artistic Director, ICA
• David Kester – Chief Executive, Design Council
• Deyan Sudjic – Director, Design Museum
• Rosy Greenlees -Executive Director, Craft Council
• Dr David Bell – Human Geographer, Leeds University
• Dr Charles Rolf – Human Geographer, Bristol University
• Dr Calvin Taylor – Senior Lecturer Creative and Cultural Industries, Leeds University
• Jane Shepherdson – Former Brand Director, Topshop
• Dr Kevin Stolarick – Senior Partner, The Creative Class Group (measures and cultivates creativities in countries, cities and companies
• Hasan Bakhshi – Senior Policy Analyst, National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA)
• Caroline Bolingbroke, Co –Director, Creativity Centre (develops creativity in organisations)
• Daniel H Pink – Author, ‘A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age
• Peter Ride – Artistic Director, Digital Arts Development Agency (DA2)
• Mike Tibbets – Senior Executive, Digital Media and Creative Industries Team, Scottish Enterprise
• Alessandra Lariu – Senior Creative, Agency Republic (digital advertising specialist)
• Graham Sturrock – Chairman, Play Practice

2. Key Criteria

• Creative Output measures the size and economic viability of a town’s creative industries. This looked at:
• The number of residents employed in creative industries
• The number of patents filed and creative award short-lists
• Creative Funding was measured by the level of finance received from:
• The Arts Council
• National Lottery grants
• Subcultures were highlighted as significant due to their underpinning of alternative forms of creativity and were measured by:
• Town policies on graffiti
• The number of bars, pubs and nightclubs
• The number of markets and independent and vintage shops
• The number of 16-19 year olds – the most creatively active age group
• Sustainability looked at:
• If a town had fair-trade status
• How many ‘green’ awards it had received in the last 5 years
• Creative Consumption measured:
• The number of festivals and fairs
• Percentage of residents who attend a local gallery/ museum
• Education and technology measured a town’s ability to support creative education and free technology for residents.

This was measured by:

• Early and extensive adoption of wifi
• The number of Guardian awards for art and design in further education

3. Details on the Top 5 Cities:


• 625,000 people employed in creative industries (ranks 1st)
• Creative industries worth £21bn to its economy
• 80% of Londoners visit London galleries and museums
• 7,130 wireless networks (more than New York and ranks 1st)
• Most clubs, pubs/bars, vintage shops, boutiques/indie stores in the country
• Only ranks fifth on number of patents filed (behind Manchester, Bristol, Nottingham, Cardiff and Brighton)
• Only one environmental award compared to Liverpool’s eighteen and St Ives’ twelve.


• 60,000 people employed in creative industries (ranks 2nd)
• Holds the most patents in the country
• £69,345,466 worth of Lottery Grants for 966 projects (ranks 3rd)
• £3,147,059 worth of Arts Council funding (ranks 2nd)
• Has fair-trade town status and a tolerant graffiti policy
• Largest number of Wifi spots outside of the Capital (254)
• Two-thirds of the north west’s Gross Value Added (GVA, a measure of productivity) comes from the city
• Only 27% of Manchunians visit local museums or galleries


• Best for developing creativity and high on the list of cities to watch for the future
• £4,796,965 Arts Council funding (ranks 1st)
• List of creative plaudits include 2008 Capital for Culture
• John Moores School for Art and Design due to open 2008 and will be a creative mecca
• Tate Liverpool hosted 2007 Turner Prize
• Only 10,000 people employed in creative professions (ranks 11th)


• Has surprisingly stolen Edinburgh’s crown as the most creative city in Scotland
• Glasgow has 21,179 residents working in creative industries ahead of Edinburgh by 6000 (16,328 residents)
• Its Kelvingrove Art Gallery received 1.9 Visitors in 2006, overtaking Edinburgh Castle as the most visited attraction in


• Glasgow School of Art continues to be considered the best outside of London and remains one of the only independent Art Schools in the UK
• £77,179,963 worth of Lottery Grants (ranks 2nd)
• No municipal Wifi network


• Most creative city in the south outside London
• The Department for Culture, Media and Sport recognises Brighton as the UK’s leading New Media Centre
• Many of Brighton’s population work flexibly, which means that networking and spontaneity are common
• 10,000 people are employed in the creative industries
• City ranks high at fifth out of the cities in terms of patents


• Home to the Edinburgh Festival and Festival Fringe
• Last year saw Matthew Williamson, Vivien Westwood and Jonathan Saunders hold catwalk shows at Edinburgh International Fashion Festival (this was the first time the Williamson has show in the UK for three years, bypassing London)
• The Guardian positions Edinburgh University number two in the UK for art and design second only to UCL

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