Innovation, Employment and Education
Edited by Greg Hearn, Ruth Bridgstock, Ben Goldsmith and Jess Rodgers
Chapter 5: London’s creative workforce
In 2002, with Britain still bemoaning the loss of its traditional car industry and with manufacturing less than 10 per cent of the city’s employment, Nissan opened a London design studio. ‘The central London location in the rapidly developing area of the Paddington Basin was chosen because of its multi-cultural backdrop and the access it provides to important and influential sources in contemporary art, architecture, fashion and design movements’, explained Car Design News (2003). The article continued: The studio is housed in The Rotunda, a former British Rail maintenance depot built in the 1960s which had fallen into disrepair and been unused since the 1980s. The site was selected specifically for its spacious interior which allowed Nissan to transform the building into a tailor-made urban design space. In this most traditional of all ‘industries’, which gave birth to Henry Ford’s famous dictum that ‘you can have it any colour you want, as long as it’s black’, creative design, accessed via its embedded workforce, had become the new black. Between 2002 and 2011 the Greater London Authority (GLA) produced five reports on employment and output in the Creative Industries in London, and the London Development Authority (LDA) produced London: A Cultural Audit (Freeman et al. 2008), a comparison of five global world cities on a wide range of cultural indicators.
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