Penguin Random House UK launches 2020 strategy to help bridge the creativity gap

Image credit: Tom Oldham

Penguin Random House UK is today launching its Creative Responsibility manifesto to help thousands of young people discover and reach their creative potential regardless of their background.

The 10-point plan aims to help bridge the ‘creativity gap’ caused by factors such as social mobility, geographic location and ethnicity which prevent individuals from having equal opportunities to fulfil their creative potential.

Launching the strategy, Tom Weldon, CEO, Penguin Random House UK, and Board Member, Creative Industries Federation, said: “Creativity matters to society. Creative people invent, imagine and solve problems, big and small. It is crucial for future growth and success. But not everyone has the opportunity or encouragement to be creative. I believe we can help bridge the UK’s creativity gap – the gap between having potential and being able to turn that potential into reality – because creativity is at the heart of our business. It drives everything we do. 

 “By giving people opportunities to use their imaginations and tap into their creativity we can help equip them with the tools they need to succeed at work, at school, at home or in their communities.”

At the heart of the Creative Responsibility manifesto are the following 2020 commitments:

To partner with Ministry of Stories to bridge the creativity gap for at least 7,500 children aged 8-18 in the UK:

During a three-year partnership Penguin Random House UK will work with creative writing and mentoring charity Ministry of Stories to bridge the creativity gap for at least 7,500 children across the UK, helping them express their creativity to improve their writing, build confidence, self-respect and motivation, and achieve better results in the classroom.

Penguin Random House UK will help Ministry of Stories implement its national strategy to launch new Ministry-inspired centres across the UK, enabling it to reach more children, and create new digital resources including online toolkits for schools nationwide. The publisher will also mobilise its colleagues and authors to volunteer and raise £100,000 for the charity in the first year.

Nick Hornby, author and co-founder, Ministry of Stories, said: “The UK is known throughout the world for its creative industries, be that film-making, music, books, plays. We punch way above our weight with our creativity. So why should that creativity only be drawn from a certain section of society? Ministry of Stories works in places where kids who are not given the opportunity to express their creativity can be helped to reach their potential. That’s what this partnership with Penguin Random House is about: unleashing young imaginations, and reaching beyond London to work with more children and schools nationwide.”

To help to bridge the creativity gap by making publishing more inclusive by 2020:

Penguin Random House UK is today pledging to help make publishing more inclusive by 2020, focusing on addressing areas where publishing faces the biggest challenges: social mobility, ethnic and cultural diversity.

CEO Tom Weldon announced the appointment of a dedicated expert to create a new, consistent framework for the publisher’s 600 annual work experience placements to ensure everyone has an equal chance of securing a place. The publisher also said it was launching a nationwide careers roadshow to give young people who may not otherwise have opportunities to enter publishing an insight into the jobs available. In a step towards making its books and characters more representative, it is taking editors and industry agents on the road in London, Manchester and Birmingham in 2016 to meet with aspiring writers and illustrators from a wide range of backgrounds - offering networking, practical workshops, and opportunities for long-term mentoring.

As part of its Creative Responsibility manifesto, Penguin Random House UK has also committed to supporting the communities on its doorstep by helping 500 local children struggling with reading by 2020; partnering with literacy charities to help every child in the UK to read well by the age of 11; and sourcing 100% of its paper sustainably by 2020.

John Kampfner, Chief Executive, Creative Industries Federation, said: “We welcome this strategy for young people because the creativity gap is potentially depriving them of skills that might open up exciting and fulfilling future careers.

“Arts subjects are being marginalised in schools at a time when there are already serious skills shortages in the creative industries in jobs such as animation and visual effects. The creativity gap has economic consequences for the nation.”

To find out more about Penguin Random House UK’s Creativity Responsibility strategy and to explore its ten 2020 goals, visit: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk/about-us/creative-responsibility/. Penguin Random House UK will release a Creative Responsibility Report in 2017 tracking progress against its ten 2020 goals.

Hear from Nick Hornby, Ministry of Stories co-founder Lucy Macnab, and school children on the Ministry of Stories’ work and the impact the partnership will have, here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk/about-us/creative-responsibility/ministry-of-stories/.

Notes to Editors:

Tom Weldon sits on the Board of the Creative Industries Federation, the national membership organisation for the public arts, cultural education and creative industries.
http://www.creativeindustriesfederation.com/

For further information:

Hannah Glenny: Senior Communications Manager
+44 20 7840 8827   
+44 7769 617881 hglenny@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk

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