Conclusion: The Place of Creative Policy?
There is no singular creative economy, but a number of creative economies encompassing everyone from the street artist, to the opera singer, the web designer to the community project worker. Beyond romantic notions about the creative impulse, perhaps the strongest bond between these different subsectors is a nested set of policy frameworks cutting across local, regional, national and supranational scales. Within this policy discourse, creative activity is seen as having the potential to deliver economic and social benefits. The extent to which these benefits are as great as their promoters claim is, of course open to question. Following Thornham (2014) one can see a division between creative products made by individuals and creativity as process, a mode of engagement aimed at groups of people. The celebration of the individual creative producer fits neatly within a neoliberal discourse of entrepreneurialism. This sits rather uncomfortably with the idea of creative processes allowing ‘communities’ (hazily defined) to experiment with new practices and learn new ways to express themselves. A process-led framing of creativity is often explicitly situated within a social justice agenda that works with deprived communities, positioned against a retreat of state responsibility for creating a more equal society.