Thursday, January 06, 2011

Research highlights need to improve writers' business and digital skills

Creative & Cultural Skills, the Sector Skills Council for the creative and cultural industries, has launched the Literature Blueprint (pdf) – research highlighting an urgent need to improve the business and digital skills of creative writers and people working in other roles in the sector, such as literature development.

It also considers the need to broaden entry routes into the sector, support the development of writers working with children and young people, and ensure that creative writing qualifications reflect the reality of writing professionally.

Creative writing is at the heart of our national identity and cultural economy, and acts as a springboard for many other highly profitable industries, such as film, theatre, gaming and publishing. Meanwhile, digitisation has transformed the way the sector produces, markets and promotes literature and literature events.

Following industry consultation, the Literature Blueprint makes a number of key recommendations:
  1. Improve professional development opportunities for writers and other literature professionals who work or aspire to work with children and young people.
  2. Enhance the information, advice and guidance available to individuals aspiring to become writers or to enter the wider literature sector.
  3. Ensure that entry routes are relevant and fully accessible by all.
  4. Increase alignment between higher and further education provision and the skills needs of the sector so that courses better prepare students for work.
  5. Ensure that the right mix of training and qualifications is available to meet current and future skills needs, and that opportunities are promoted and signposted well.
  6. Help the sector to access relevant business support and ensure that this is communicated well.
  7. Prioritise the development of digital skills both for individual writers and for literature organisations
Antonia Byatt, Director, Literature, Arts Council England, said: 'UK literature is a truly global force and, whilst renowned for its heritage, it is also pioneering a new generation of young and exciting writers who are making their mark. Writers, and the people who present and promote them, need to match their creative skills with appropriate business skills so that they can take advantage of new ways of reaching more readers, online and face to face.'

Caroline Felton, Chief Executive, Creative & Cultural Skills, said: 'The Literature Blueprint has identified the key areas where skills for the industry need to be developed, and now we must work with the sector to ensure the appropriate support is available and the right interventions are made. On a practical level, this will, I hope, manifest itself in the form of improved access to training opportunities that will best support writers and those in other roles in the sector throughout their careers.'

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