Reigns of terror, the rattling descent of the guillotine and blood seeping through the floorboards – yes, we've got our share of carnage in these challenging times for the British creative industries. But equally, this is a period of the most extraordinary dynamism, as new opportunities are emerging at every corner.
In the midst of this 21st-century creative revolution, London's The Hospital Club, in association with The Independent's Media Weekly, has begun a search to identify the real stars of music, film, television, new media, journalism, publishing, performing arts, marketing, PR and events, art and design, fashion and advertising.
Unlike other power lists, compiled by a small elite panel of industry professionals, the voting for The Hospital Club 100 is democratic and open to all in the creative industries – more the Academy Awards than the Golden Globes. This is a list that aims to surprise, inspire and entertain by lifting the lid on the power dynamics within the media and creative industries and spotlighting where the true day-to-day power and influence lies – not always the usual suspects from the board room and executive suite.
Will Turner, the chief executive of The Hospital Club, says: "It's often really easy to pinpoint the frontman or woman in an organisation, but sometimes there's a disproportionate amount of talent that sits behind them. This exercise is about pulling back the curtain to reveal the real powers behind the throne. I hope we will challenge a few received wisdoms."
Voting for The Hospital Club 100 is done online at www.thehospitalclub.com until 15 June, with each voter being allowed to vote for up to five individuals across the entire creative industries. On 23 June, The Independent will publish a long list of those nominated, which will be condensed to short lists for each sector. The winners will all be invited to The Hospital Club 100 party at the club in Covent Garden later this summer.
"We are trying to do something that takes a more democratic slice through the creative industries and produces some more interesting results," Turner says. "We want to celebrate those people who create stuff and the people who help make that stuff. When 7.6 per cent of the United Kingdom's GDP comes from the creative industries, I think it's a good time for us to be celebrating and championing our ability to create."
The revolutionary theme has been inspired by some of the great power struggles taking place in the creative industries, from EMI's battle with Apple, to Michael Grade's attempts to reposition ITV in the digital era, the split between paid-for and free newspapers and the ongoing challenge of climbing the greasy pole of success.
Turner says: "The idea of a revolution helps to differentiate this from other rankings, because in our industries we are always pushing things forward, challenging the status quo and keeping things moving. It always needs to be an ever-changing narrative. But most of all, the Hospital 100 is about having some fun and celebrating the incredible talents across the creative industries."
The Hospital Club, opened in 2004 by Eurythmics' Dave Stewart and one of the Microsoft founders, Paul Allen, has its own cinema and gallery, and is designed as a space in central London where members can meet socially and also work. Hayley Hamburg, PR manager for the club, says it is hoped that some of those named in The Hospital Club 100 will go on to participate in some of the philanthropic projects that the club supports, including mentoring schemes.
"We feel we're qualified to be launching a project like this because ours is the only club designed specifically for creative entrepreneurs – the people who make things and the people that help make those things happen," says Hamburg. "As part of London's creative community, our role is to discover and feed the best creative talent, and produce, publish and celebrate their work. The Hospital Club 100 is quite tongue in cheek and doesn't take itself too seriously, but also has a more serious message of revealing emerging talent. We want to celebrate the people without whom magazines wouldn't be published, bands discovered or movies made. It will throw the spotlight on to the people who actually have a direct impact on what's shaping our everyday lives – the invisible puppeteers and unsung heroes, not just the fat cats automatically accredited with all the glory."
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