Bazalgette: creative industries should work with museums to build creative clusters

Report recommends £500m support for regional growth
Patrick Steel
A report led by former arts council chairman Peter Bazalgette has suggested the creative industries should look to strong “institutions” like museums to build creative clusters to strengthen regional growth.

The Independent Review of the Creative Industries, commissioned by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and published last week, found that around half of growth and jobs in the creative industries is centred in London and the south East of England.

“It is not that London is too big but that other centres are too small,” Bazalgette writes. “We are failing to harness the creative talents of all our communities.”

The report’s key recommendation is that support for regional growth should be prioritised with a £500m Creative Clusters Fund awarded in competition to areas that focus on the creative industries.

The report holds up Wakefield as an example, where the local authority has transformed derelict space into creative hubs alongside the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Hepworth Wakefield, Production Park, which is Europe’s largest live music production facility, and the redevelopment of Rutland Mills to create 74 music studios.

“Research shows that it is more effective to build on existing strengths and activity rather than attempt to build brand new clusters in cold spots,” the report says.

“Existing assets could be as diverse as a regional forte in a creative sub-sector, strong “institutions” like museums or higher education institutions; the fragmentation of a large creative company into a community of small to medium sized enterprises; or even the perception that an area is a fashionable place to be.”

In August, the government announced the Creative Industry Clusters Programme, an £80m programme led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to support eight research and development partnerships between universities and the creative industries.

The creative industries constituted 5.3% of the UK economy in 2015, comparable to the construction or Information sectors, growing by 34% between 2010 and 2015. The report forecasts the gross value added by the creative industries could be £128.4bn by 2025, compared with £87.4bn in 2015.

Links and downloads

Independent Review of the Creative Industries

Creative Industry Clusters Programme

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