w w w. b r i g h t o n f u s e . c o m
This suggests availability of office space could
that goes on in Brighton. People move here for the
represent a physical barrier to growth, which is even
lifestyle. As such, they’re not as focused on work as,
more relevant for those businesses growing faster.
this is a massive generalisation, but in general, as
High growth firms within the five employee threshold
some people in London.” (Interview, 30/07/2013).
are almost twice as likely as those which are not high growth to identify office space as a barrier for them (45.5% compared to 27%). The percentage of high growth firms with more than ten employees identifying office space as a problem is even higher
concentration of young creatives, mainly from universities and a strength in bohemian, kind of, artist-type industries…And the problem with that is
(53.3% of them do).
that, if I’m being frank with you, occasionally, they’re
One puzzling result was a perception of the artistic
occasionally, for it’s own good, if you look at it in a
community as a barrier by some business owners. In
business sense.” (Interview, 10/07/2013)
some cases this was substantial: 15% of marketing services firms, and 21% of firms with more than 25 employees had this negative view of the local artistic community. The qualitative research leads us to believe that this view is rooted in a suspicion of the ‘bohemian’ lifestyle of artists and creative people. Many of the Managing Directors of firms referred to a mix of creativity, lifestyle and a desire for an ‘easy life’ rather than a hard work ethic. This is seen as the downside of Brighton’s creativity and seaside quality
a bit lazy…Perhaps, it’s, maybe, a bit too laid back
These attitudes are not restricted to Brighton. The UK’s small firms are popularly seen as being more motivated by achieving a stable lifestyle than driving on towards higher growth. Artists are often caricatured as undisciplined and unconcerned about business objectives. To a degree this is borne out by our research in that we found less marketing competence in artistic organisations and different styles of behaviour in terms of raising income, such
as reliance on grants, and less ‘fused’ knowledge.
“There’s a bit of a lifestyle thing about Brighton
mix, that although people recognise the critical
sometimes... people are kind of here to have an easy
importance of art and design and research has
life rather than to work hard and that can be quite
traditionally shown creative workers need a degree
frustrating.” (Interview, 01/08/2013).
of autonomy away from management control
“Culture is a strength in some ways because it’s creative, but there’s a kind of slightly easy life thing
“I also identified… there was a high degree of
This illustrates another contradiction in the fused
– managers still get frustrated with the artistic community and see it as a barrier to growth.