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Informing policy for the creative industries

20 March 2023

Newcastle University and the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) have been named as new hosts of the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (Creative PEC). This comes as the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) confirmed £11 million in funding to allow the Creative PEC to continue its work for a further five years.

Funded by the AHRC, the Creative PEC provides independent research and policy recommendations for the UK's creative industries.

It launched in 2018 with the aim to drive innovation and growth across the creative sector by linking those at the forefront of the creative industries with the best academic minds in the country, to collaborate and develop on new projects, products and experiences.

Informing policy

To make good, impactful policy decisions on how to support the creative industries and ensure the UK remains a world leader, we need robust evidence and independent advice. The Creative PEC is at the heart of these debates providing an impartial, reliable and challenging voice.

Newcastle University Business School main building seen from Barrack Road on a sunny day

In its new cycle of funding, the Creative PEC will have a twin hub structure with the Northern Hub at Newcastle and the Southern Hub at RSA House in London.

Hasan Bakhshi, Creative PEC Director, who will join Newcastle as a University Professor said: “Over the past five years, the Creative PEC has helped bring about a step change in the quantity and quality of evidence available to inform policies for the creative industries. As well as publishing new research, we have embedded our researchers in the design, planning and implementation cycles of policies. In our next phase of work, our ambition is to work with our colleagues at Newcastle University and the RSA to undertake this “embedded knowledge exchange” activity in both our Northern and Southern Hubs.”

Following the announcement of the move Giorgio Fazio , Newcastle University Business School’s Professor of Macroeconomics and Research Director for the Creative PEC, explained: “Research in the next phase of the Creative PEC will be powered by a new Research Unit hosted at Newcastle University, a consortium delivering regular State of the Nation reports incorporating both key trends commentary and “deep dives” into emerging topics, and a large and diverse network of PEC Research Fellows."

Our goal is to become the national and international reference point for research on policy for the creative industries.

Giorgio Fazio, Professor of Macroeconomics and Creative PEC Research Director

The creative industries are a UK success story, growing at double the rate of the overall UK economy between 2011 and 2019, with 400,000 additional jobs created since 2015.

Giorgio continued: “The new research unit will build on the strengths of Newcastle University Business School in the area, such as the work on the internationalisation of the UK creative industries as a partner of the PEC since 2018 and Creative Fuse North East, led by Jonathan Sapsed.”

The work will also be supported by Dr Sara Maioli, Director of Postgraduate Research, and Jonathan Jones, lecturer in Economics. Both are from Newcastle University Business School and will be supporting the Creative PEC over the next five years.

Following an application process in which nine bids were considered, Newcastle University and the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) were selected for their expertise, inspiring vision and ‘twin hub’ structure.

Professor Stewart Robinson, Dean of Newcastle University Business School, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the RSA on this next phase to the Creative PEC and to be hosts of the Northern Hub. This cements our position, under the leadership of Professor Hasan Bakhshi and Professor Giorgio Fazio, as a leading research and policy advice centre both nationally and internationally for the creative industries.”

Since 2018 Nesta has hosted the Creative PEC, and it will continue to do so until the end of May. They are wholeheartedly supporting the Creative PEC team to make a seamless transition to Newcastle University and the RSA.

The future

The next phase of the Creative PEC will build on its previous successes, growing the evidence base by:

  • addressing industry and government identified priorities
  • advancing research into the longer-term challenges and opportunities facing the sector

It will do this by:

  • producing its own new research
  • acting as a platform for policy-relevant research produced by others
  • engaging policymakers through embedding researchers in policymakers’ planning and design cycles

In addition to this activity, Creative PEC will convene a new multi-disciplinary network of researchers working on topics that are relevant for policies to support the creative industries. As well as sharing knowledge and insight, the research network will be commissioned throughout the lifetime of the award to undertake timely research to address industry and policymaker needs.

Giorgio added: “At present, we are concentrating on the transition of the Creative PEC from Nesta to Newcastle and the RSA and on operationalising our consortium of excellent research partners. We will soon start reaching out to colleagues in the UK and elsewhere to work with them to develop an ambitious national and international network of researchers at the service of the creative industries.”