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Phil Redmond returns to land of the scouse wedding

Brookie founder heads Mayor's Commission on Creativity and Innovation

Written by . Published on July 15th 2014.

Phil Redmond returns to land of the scouse wedding

 ALTHOUGH he never quite got to join the Queen around the round table, Phil Redmond was seen by many as something of knight in shining armour to rescue Liverpool’s year in 2008 as European Capital of Culture. 

Now the Hollyoaks squire is back in Liverpool, this time to head up a new commission set up by Mayor Anderson to look at the city’s creative and innovative sector. 

Up the road we have Media City, but that doesn’t mean we have missed the boat. They can have the headache of looking after the infrastructure, we can concentrate on being creative and just tap into Media City when we need to


With a team of hand-picked media types, including Echo Editor Ali Machray, museums supremo Dr David Fleming, head of BBC England Peter Salmon and Channel 4's Stuart Cosgrove, the aim is to find ways of doubling the 12,000 creative industry jobs already sprinkled across Liverpool. 

So where has he been? 

Prof Redmond – famous for bringing Grange Hill and Brookside to the telly -  continues to chair the board of National Museums Liverpool, a task made far more difficult, he said yesterday, because of a 40 percent cut in budget. 

He likes to think of himself, having just turned 65, as semi-retired, he said at a photocall in the trendy Camp & Furnace, which is giving him the time to fully restore an ageing Volvo to glory and also to work on Brookside: The Book (which probably won’t be the title). 

On the museums and galleries front, Redmond says the city’s cultural collection will end as something different compared to today, though he does not expect  to see any sites closing down. 

Mayor Anderson has established a number of commissions looking at different topics and drawing on the knowledge and expertise of individuals – seemingly irrespective of their politics. It is a formula earning high praise on many quarters. 

Mayor Joe Anderson and prof Phil Redmond go on a hunt for 'creatives' in the Baltic partsMayor Joe Anderson and Prof Phil Redmond hang out in the Baltic parts

So what sparked Redmond to accept the invitation to head a weighty commission? 

“When I was at school I has that great chat with the careers teacher who told me my life wouldn’t amount to anything. I often think of that chat when I look at my CV, or when I am introduced to somebody.

"I have taken on this job because I want to find out what is it that allows people from around here to punch their weight in the arts, media or anything linked to the creative arts.” 

He told Confidential: “There is something in this place that gives people that extra spark, and I am trying to find out what this is. I see the commission as coming up with ways of recreating that spark. Maybe as a port city we are used to things coming and going, learning to adapt and being flexible. Liverpool can be a tough city, but it is also a sentimental city. 

“We want to find ways of tapping into schools and using them creatively. Schools of today are like market places, so why not hand them over to the children so they can themselves be creative, organising market places in their schools. The Mayor sees this and we want to find new and other ways of using our public assets.” 

Redmond went on: “Up the road we have Media City, in Salford, but that doesn’t mean we have missed the boat. They can have the headache of looking after the infrastructure, we can concentrate on being creative and just tap into Media City when we need to.” 

The commissioners will hear evidence from the city’s “diverse and eclectic creative sector”, who will shape their recommendations. 

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the creative sector employs almost 12,000 people across the Liverpool City Region in roles ranging from the media, publishing and ICT through to architecture, design and the performing arts. 

The Mayor's commission is aiming to look at how creativity can be stimulated and nurtured within schools and communities, “promote innovation to grow more businesses; consider ways in which different sectors can work together and promote creative collaboration”. 

Mayor Anderson said:  “Whether it is arts or science, culture or business there is something in our DNA which means we have huge amounts of energy, talent and determination. 

“I have asked Phil Redmond to look at what more we can do to try and take the city to the next level and make sure current and future generations have the best possible chance of developing their full potential.

"Everything, in the end, comes down to an idea. And that usually means someone, somewhere has been inspired to a single act of creativity.

That Creative and Innovation Commission in full

Denise_Barrett-BaxendaleDenise Barrett BaxendaleThe other members of the commission are:

• Peter Salmon - Director England, BBC

• Stuart Cosgrove – Director of Creative Diversity at Channel 4

• Alastair Machray, Liverpool Echo Editor in Chief

• Sir Ken Robinson – an internationally recognised expert on creativity and innovation

• Dr Denise Barrett Baxendale MBE – Chief Executive of Everton in the Community

• Dr David Fleming OBE – Director of National Museums Liverpool 

• Aideen McGinley OBE – BBC Trust member

• Claire McColgan MBE - Director of Culture Liverpool 

A final report with recommendations will be submitted to the Mayor in late spring 2015.

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJuly 15th 2014.

Well Joe is very experienced in culture and all things biz related....his CV is broad and varied....it starts with...had the Monroe on Duke st and it went bankrupt..and finishes with......had the Monroe on Duke st. Way to go Joe!....

Orla HughesJuly 15th 2014.

In that first picture Redmond is admiring himself in a mirror in his hand, isn't he?

1 Response: Reply To This...
R A MateJuly 15th 2014.

Is right!

John BradleyJuly 15th 2014.

Well, obviously a great deal of imagination and creativity has gone into producing that list. Large collection of nonentities and has beens with the imagination of a salmon which has had a lobotomy. It obviously comes down to a list of the people without the imagination to make up an excuse when they call came. The only one that doesn't come from a state funded QUANGO of some sort has run a newspaper into the ground and helped Redmonds scalisation project. Why don't they get the guys who turned down the Beatles?

The ConsortJuly 16th 2014.

What could possibly go right?

AnonymousJuly 16th 2014.

Denise is very talented: it's a shame to see her in such mediocre company.

AnonymousJuly 25th 2014.

Joe and Phil. The happy couple?

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