Arts Council CEO Publishes New Book on Creativity

Darren Henley

Arts Council CEO Publishes New Book on Creativity

‘Creativity matters in every aspect of our lives, so it is bizarre that we so often take it for granted.’ – Darren Henley

Arts Council England Chief Executive Darren Henley has published a new book titled Creativity: Why It Matters.

In his book, Henley – who received an OBE in 2013 for services to music – argues for the importance of creativity for everyone, that it is not the sole preserve of arts-based subjects, but at the heart of medical, scientific, engineering and entrepreneurial progress too.

‘In the public mind,’ he writes, ‘creativity is often epitomised by the arts, but this can lead to a narrow impression of what creativity is. People tend to think that artists spend their days performing a kind of magic, reaching into the void and pulling out a work of genius, although the truth is rarely so dramatic or revelatory.’

This perception can lead us to think of the arts as abstract and unrelated to the concrete, linear sciences. In fact, they are inextricably intertwined. Experimental thought would be impossible without creative scientists imagining new hypotheses, and the arts would be infinitely poorer without practitioners who can think methodically and apply technological advances to their work. We need a more integrated and balanced approach to what we teach, knowing that art and science support, influence and depend upon one another.

Creativity: Why It Matters identifes the education system as the best route to ensure cultural benefits are open to all, and the author argues that creativity should be at its heart. 

Henley is the author of two government reviews, Music Education in England and Cultural Education in England, the former of which led to England’s first National Plan for Music Education. From 2007 to 2010, he was chair of the Music Manifesto Partnership and Advocacy Group. He is co-author of The Original Liverpool Sound: The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Story (2009) and Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Classical Music…But Were Too Afraid To Ask (2013), and author of The Arts Dividend: Why Investment in Culture Pays (2016). Before joining the Arts Council in 2015, he was Managing Director of Classic FM.

Creativity: Why It Matters is published by Elliott & Thompson. Read an extract from the book here.

Published on 3 July 2018

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