Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (right) and Justine Simons, London’s Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries at the launch of London Creates at Frieze Art Fair, Oct 2023. Photo by Belind

London Launches Its Campaign As The World’s Creative Capital

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today launched London Creates, a major new campaign by the capital’s cultural leaders to celebrate London as the world’s most creative capital.

London Creates champions the city’s world-leading cultural and creative industries, which help to define how London is seen around the world, drive tourism and hospitality that the whole country benefits from and contribute billions to the economy.

Artists and art world figures, gallerists, museum directors and auction houses have joined forces with The Mayor to launch the campaign at the opening of the Frieze Art Fair.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Frieze is the UK’s most high-profile moment in the art calendar and an international draw. Founded by Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp in 2003, Frieze has since expanded around the world with annual fairs in London, Los Angeles, New York and Seoul.

The UK remains the second largest art market in the world, just behind the US with 18% of sales globally. It is larger than the rest of Europe combined. Sales in the UK maintained their momentum, with a rise of 5% to $11.9 billion in 2022.

From the auction houses to street art, culture is the beating heart of the capital. It defines how London is perceived around the world and contributes £58 billion a year to our economy, with one in six jobs in the creative economy. The knock-on impact of the creative industries on tourism, hospitality and trade accounts for a significant proportion of prosperity that the whole country benefits from. 39 per cent of leisure tourists say the cultural experiences offered by the capital is a key driver for visiting and earlier this year, London was voted both the best place in the world to study the arts and the most artistic city in Europe. It was also recently named the best city in the world for 2023 by global advisor on tourism, real estate and economic development, Resonance Consultancy, with culture a key factor in determining London’s top scoring.

This success is part of a much wider creative ecosystem in London. The capital has more than 200 museums and 800 art galleries, most offering free admission. London is also a city for artists, with the greatest concentration of artists of any city in the world. It is a platform for new voices where young artists can make their mark, with outstanding emerging talent coming out of prestigious arts universities including the Royal College of Art, UAL, Goldsmiths and Central Saint Martins. 

London is a city of constant renewal with new gallery openings, new cultural sites and major redevelopments. These include the recent reopening of the National Portrait Gallery, the complete rehang of Tate Britain, the opening of the new Young V&A, and the launch of the new Roundhouse Works creative studio workspace for young people. The first spaces at East Bank, the largest new culture and education district in over 150 years at the heart of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park have opened this year, promising to transform the city for a new generation.

Earlier this year, the Mayor announced the expansion of his ground-breaking Creative Enterprise Zones that are supporting artists and creative businesses find permanent affordable space to work, provide support to new creative businesses and improve access to creative sector skills and employment. By 2026, the 12 zones will deliver 71,000 sqm of affordable creative workspace – the equivalent of 10 football pitches – support 800 creative businesses, deliver 500 jobs and help 5,000 young Londoners to enter the creative industries.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is known around the world as a leading creative city, with our incredible museums, prestigious arts universities and fantastic galleries helping to entertain, educate and inspire. Our creative industries are part of our identity, they help bring people together and drive our economy, but it’s no secret that they have been facing significant challenges in recent years. That’s why it’s so important that cultural leaders from across the capital are joining together to champion the huge impact of our creative industries, and remind the world how they make our city so special, as we continue to build a better and more prosperous London for everyone.”