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City leaders failing in vision to successfully promote Birmingham's image.

Birmingham's leaders are failing to promote the city's vibrant culture, representatives of the creative sector have warned.

Today in The Birmingham Post, Fay Goodman, creative ambassador for Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Business Council and Aidan Keane, founder of Birmingham design agency Keane Brands, claim city bosses must do more to boost Birmingham's image.

Both were responding to comments published last week by leading brand designer Michael Wolff.

Mr Wolff said the city council should be taking a greater responsibility for Birmingham's image, making it more important than healthcare and education.

Ms Goodman said she wanted to show Mr Wolff that Birmingham had a vibrant brand, but was concerned that there was a lack of decision makers on creative issues. She also raised concerns that funding for creative projects was often awarded to the same groups.

Mr Keane called on the council to appoint Mr Wolff as a creative director, claiming that city leaders lack the vision to develop an effective Birmingham brand.

The comments come as cultural and business leaders meet Government Ministers today to try to improve the region's image.

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, James Purnell, and Liam Byrne, Minister for the West Midlands, will be in Coventry to examine how cultural assets can improve the region's status.

Mr Byrne said: "People tell me that our reputation outside our region doesn't match the passion and pride in the places we live in - and that must change."

Both Mr Byrne and Mr Purnell, writing in The Birmingham Post today, welcomed the announcement that Birmingham City council would be part-funding the city's new Digital Film and Media Festival as a step forward.

In today's Media & Marketing page Brian Woods-Scawen, chairman of Culture West Midlands, also warns that improving the region's image is urgent and vital to securing economic prosperity.

Media, page 29

Agenda, pages 8 & 9
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 5, 2007
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