British Council Creative Economy

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Creative and Cultural Districts in Thailand

This report presents insights into four creative districts in Thailand, to better understand the unique features of their creative ecosystems and focusing on the interlinks between hubs and the neighbourhoods.
Creative Cultural Districts Thailand

Creative hubs have featured greatly in our programming, as partners, collaborators, producers and researchers. We focus on nurturing networks of hub leaders who share, learn, innovate and support each other towards strengthening their communities, and when appropriate, we help facilitate platforms for dialogue between these largely grassroots (and sometimes informal) organisations and the relevant policy makers.
Big or small, rural or urban, creative hubs almost always respond to a local need, bringing about potential for social and economic advancement in their areas.

In Thailand, the Government’s 4.0 policy has highlighted the creative economy as a key driver for advancing Thailand’s growth, by promoting innovation and creativity in all sectors. At the same time, the Creative Economy Agency was established in 2018 to lead Thailand’s creative economy agenda. This opportune context has sparked increased public and private investments in innovation and creativity agendas, with a recorded emphasis on creative districts and, more recently, creative hubs as catalysts for social and economic changes.

This deep dive into the interlinks between hubs and the neighbourhoods they are nestled within was a timely exercise. The research was commissioned in September 2019 as part of The British Council’s South-East Asia regional Creative Hubs for Good programme. In Thailand it sought to explore the role of creative hubs in the development of cultural and creative districts.

The research was carried out in the latter part of 2019, before the covid-19 virus crisis had stunned the world. The team who led the project is part of the Designing Social Innovation in Asia-Pacific network:

  • Joyce Yee is Associate Professor in the School of Design, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.
  • Yoko Akama is Associate Professor in the School of Design, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Khemmiga Teerapong is a lecturer in the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, Bangkok University, Thailand.
  • Viola Petrella is a PhD student at Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.

This report presents insights from a six-month study into four creative districts to better understand the unique features of their creative ecosystems. The four districts are Songkhla Old Town, Chiang Mai (the city and the Wua Lai area), Charoen Krung in Bangkok and Sakon Nakhon.

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