There is a growing worldwide trend towards people and businesses choosing to work in shared spaces that foster new, more collaborative ways of working. Over the last year, we have been doing a lot of work identifying these creative hubs, understanding their role within our creative economy and finding out what they need to thrive.
Our first Creative Hubs Forum, held in February 2014, was an exploratory gathering to gauge how creative hubs best operate and what role the British Council could play in supporting their sustainability. We listened to contributions from the 40 hubs that attended and our UK Hubs Steering Group, and, in direct response to the needs they identified, we're piloting a number of key programmes:
- 3x3: A hubs exchange programme between the UK and Brazil;
- A Hubs Toolkit, developed in partnership with Creative England, which will outline the variety of business and funding models that exist for those looking to set up or support hubs;
- Hubs Mapping in collaboration with the European Creative Business Network (ECBN) and ADDICT (Creative Industries Portugal) to identify where hubs are situated across Europe;
- European Creative Hubs Forum: an opportunity for over 200 hubs from the UK and Europe, plus some from East Asia to gather and connect in Lisbon in January 2015. A partnership with ADDICT and Lisbon City Council.
This portfolio of projects aim to contribute towards a ‘hubs manifesto’, influencing European policies to help support and sustain our flourishing creative ecosystems. It also aims to spark further pan-European programmes for the British Council and our partners.
All of this work has relied upon building strong partnerships between the UK, Portugal and Spain. Our Hubs Steering Group and Hubs Committee have helped inform us along the way, while organisations like Creative England and ECBN have been devoting their time and energy throughout. Our local partner in Portugal, ADDICT, has been invaluable in developing a long-term strategy with us that will open opportunities in central Europe in 2015/16.
To buy tickets for the European Creative Forum, please visit this link.