British Council Creative Economy

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8 December 2016

Creative hubs: Lighthouses for the new urban economy

Our latest research considers the definition, value and impact of creative hubs on the wider economy, particularly in times of financial and political uncertainty.

Todos, Lisbon

“Creative hubs are fast becoming a worldwide phenomenon…They have become a new way of organising creative economy innovation and development”

This piece of research was developed in response to requests from hub managers, city policymakers and funders in the UK.  It aims to simplify what creative hubs are, their value within the creative and cultural ecosystem, their international potential and how high level stake holders and policy makers can support them. 

The Creative Economy team been working with hubs for over five years, both in the UK and internationally, developing projects like European Creative Hubs Network and Creative Hub Making Vietnam, as well as developing resources like the Creative HubKit.

Authored by Professor Andy Pratt (City University of London), Professor Jon Dovey (University of West of England, REACT, creativeworks, The Watershed) and associates, the report features interviews from a spectrum of creative hubs from across the UK.  It focusses on The Fusebox, Roco Creative Co-op, Site Gallery and BOM as working case studies, delving into a variety of business models, symbolic of the wider community of hubs.

The report also outlines a template for creative hubs to begin evaluating themselves which, if every hub utilises, provides a compelling picture to high level stakeholders.

“Hubs [have] become nests for freelancers and micro SMEs to gather, connect and collaborate”

The research not only outlined the unique nature of hubs within an economy (and society), but also confirmed that a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not apply to these complex ecosystems, they are all as unique as fingerprints, dependent on their community and cultural needs that surround them.

“Our research shows that creative hubs can produce a wide range of impacts including, jobs, new products and services, talent development, regional talent retention, informal education, urban regeneration, research and development, new networks, innovative models of organisation, quality of life enhancements and resilience’.

Creative hubs have been popping up across the country and the globe in the last 20 years and have fast become a protective and nurturing infrastructure for creative practitioners and organisations. By supporting hubs, we support the wider creative economy.

You can read the report in full here