Lessons That Deliver a Punch; CREATIVE Ammo Talwar Discusses His Time in South Africa on a Placement as Part of the UK's Cultural Leadership Programme and How the Creative Industries Can Help Birmingham Find a Competitive Advantage on a Global Scale
Byline: Ammo Talwar
Good times can remind you all too clearly of the celebrations that you've missed.
This Diwali I was lighting candles with my family, here at home in Birmingham.
But I spent the evening of my last Valentines' Day 6,000 miles away from my wife, shouldering my way through the very trendy Cape Towncrowds carrying a laptop and a stack of papers.
I was trying to find my British mate, John Keiffer, who had chosen that evening to brief me on the marketing strategies of successful South African Cultural Entrepreneurs. Table for two?
I was living and working in Cape Town for three months thanks to a placement with the UK's Cultural Leadership Programme, a four year, Government funded scheme currently investing in leadership excellence across the Creative and Cultural industries.
The core element is an international placement within a creative business - whether a social enterprise or driven by a profit imperative.
Every placement has to be hands on - to force each participant to witness business leadership at all levels and achieve an overview of the cultural and strategic operating context.
Before, back in England I had been reading that a vibrantly reconstituted South African public/private partnership was successfully "joining the dots" between the fields of tourism, business and culture. NowI had travelled to Cape Town and was discovering exactly how this was being accomplished in order to bring these lessons back to the city I love, Birmingham.
It was an amazing experience, and months later I'm still applying what I've learned there to bring competitive advantage to my business and to the region, drawing from rich models not found in London or anywhere else in the UK. As a young business person my goal has always been to develop Punch, my own business, to fulfil all of its promise and potential.
What I learned in South Africa is that for Punch to grow to be all it can be, I need to pitch in to help in the development of the region's creative sector as a whole.
My mission now is to act beyond my organisation to assist in the establishment of the creative sector as a highly valued contributor to the local economy.
We need to improve our value proposition as a region and create a competitive advantage that firmly establishes Birmingham and the UK as significant players in the global creative economy.
My experience in Cape Town showed me that the creative industries can deliver these objectives.
My business, Punch Records, (www.punch-records.co.uk) is an artist-led music development agency known throughout the UK for its successful music promotions, events, productions, marketing and educational work.
Punch began by developing pioneering music activities for young people in and out of schools, and today it commissions and produces theatre, dance, music, visual arts, heritage and film. …