What is Creative Forum?

Creative Forum is a community of thinking practitioners, rather than a conventional think tank.  It is committed to stimulating debate in the public realm about awkward issues and emerging challenges, especially those that appear to have had less attention in formal policy reviews and conventional policy debates.

What will Creative Forum do?

Initially, Creative Forum aims to place a series of articles in national media over a period of twelve months from September 2014 as a mechanism for stimulating debate about what post-coalition politics and policies might look like. It may also convene occasional seminars or similar events and publish independent papers on a smaller number of key themes.

What might success look like?

Placing a dozen or so articles in the quality press and in journals such as Prospect, The Spectator, New Statesman and Total Politics, together with staging one or more events, over this period would be a respectable output but a successful outcome would be demonstrable impacts on the relevant policy debates.

How will Creative Forum be constituted?

Creative Forum is convened, on a not-for-profit basis, by a founding hub that is likely, in time, to be supported, formally or informally, by a wider advisory group.

At launch, Creative Forum will have no office or staff team and no physical address but it will seek to rapidly grow a valuable intellectual capital base and it will maintain a minimalist web presence and a blog, both at the soon to be launched  Any events will be free-to-attend or charged at cost.

During its first year Breslin Public Policy Limited will service Creative Forum, where viable on a pro-bono basis.  The position will be reviewed after twelve months, by which point it is intended that Creative Forum will be a significant and distinctive brand in the policy sphere.

Who will Creative Forum give a platform to?

The late Professor Sir Bernard Crick once referred to the established think tank community as one that consisted of “organisations with both feet placed firmly in the air”, a comment that, in part, compliments their blue sky thinking and, in part, criticises their disconnectedness from, and often their lack of experience in, the realm of practice.

Creative Forum will seek out and engage with unusual suspects, especially those steeped in practice, thus reaching beyond the established public policy community and embracing the perspective of grounded practitioners and respected experts. Creative Forum authors will be drawn from the practice end of the practice-policy continuum and are likely to be current or recent holders of significant practitioner roles in the sphere of policy about which they are writing.

What values underpin and inform Creative Forum?

In opening-up and welcoming new voices to the policy debate, Creative Forum is demonstrating a commitment to inclusion, to widening participation and to the giving of voice.  By placing a special emphasis on the importance of practice-informed – rather than simply ‘evidence-based’ – policymaking, Creative Forum is valuing grounded experience in a way that is typically not the case in the public policy sphere.

Against this background, Creative Forum is committed to principled pragmatism and to a form of grey sky thinking that acknowledges the clouds on any horizon, that policies are implemented in real circumstances and real time, and that they are only ever successful with the consent of real people, who are juggling multiple agendas, not the single one of the any one set of policy architects.

Lessons From Lockdown
For too long, changes to the education system have been driven by political considerations, short -term difficulties and even, at times, nostalgia. Lessons From Lockdown sets out why this piecemeal approach to reform needs stop and provides an invaluable contribution to the debate that now must take place.
Rosemary Bennet
Former Education Editor, The Times