The term “creative class” was fashionable some time ago and occasionally surfaces in the public debate here in Denmark. These days, though, the “creative class” is mostly used pejoratively as a synonym for what the British call the “chattering classes” – for examples look here and here. And yes, picking the cases from Politiken is slightly ironic.
Something which has always surprised me is that some of Richard Florida’s core examples of what constitutes creative work and consequently defines the creative class have gone completely missing from the Danish debate: Computer programmers and bio-tech engineers. Instead, according to Danish media and debaters the typical creative is somebody you will find on the pages of K-Forum and Copenhipster.
One possible reason for this may be that people in the advertising and communications businesses are very good at making themselves heard, another that IT and the sciences have a massive public relations problem in Denmark. Geeks cannot be creative, or so many would like to think. (Just to make the point clear: According to Florida, geeks are almost by definition creative)
Whatever the reason, a consequence is that “creativity” isn’t linked with (physical) production in the debate but rather seen as the opposite as can be seen in this article. I do think that the author is right in pointing out that a) the level of education in Denmark is lower than we would like to think and that b) vocational schools and colleges have generally been overlooked in education policy, though.
I have a number of issues with Florida’s definition of creativity and, especially, the concept of a creative class but I will leave these for a possible later post.