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Creative Corridors

Grand coalition formed to create a ‘Northern Creative Corridor'

Published on: 14 November 2023

Newcastle University joins local leaders across the North of England and leading figures in the creative industries to commit to developing a “Northern Creative Corridor”.

Huge potential

The partnership, led by the RSA, is intended to unlock the huge potential of the creative industries across the North of England.  A background briefing paper written by Creative PEC, which is led by Newcastle University and the RSA, sets out that potential, which could raise the Gross Value Added (GVA) economic output across the region by an additional £10 billion each year.

The work will be supported by a charter, which sets out the areas where local and sector leaders will collaborate in developing the NCC, including skills, finance, innovation, and communication. 

There are 30 signatories of the charter, including Professor Jane Robinson, Pro Vice-Chancellor Engagement and Place at Newcastle University, Hasan Bakhshi, Director of Creative PEC, mayors in Liverpool, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and the North of Tyne, and sector leaders including Creative UK, North-East Screen, the N8 Research Partnership universities, and Ubisoft, plus the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.   

Professor Robinson said: "Accelerating the growth of the creative sector represents a huge opportunity for the North of England which we can realise by working together. Universities will play their part supporting the evidence base, meeting the future workforce needs of the sector, and widening engagement through their cultural venues."

Hasan Bakhshi said: “All the evidence suggests that neighbouring creative clusters can work together in key areas like workforce skills and access to finance to supercharge growth in their creative industries. The North of England’s creative industries grew in real terms by around 23% between 2010 and 2019 before the pandemic. However, despite the presence of creative hotspots like Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle, the creative industries still only contribute around 3% of the north’s economy, compared with just under 10% in London and the Southeast. This illustrates the huge scale of the opportunity.” 

Economic opportunity

The Rt Hon Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: "From the grassroots music venues that launched The Beatles in Liverpool to today's cutting edge screen facilities in Yorkshire and Salford's MediaCityUK, our creative industries have always thrived in the North of England. We know great things happen when creative industries work together, and the Northern Creative Corridor is going to maximise the potential of these sectors so communities across the region can benefit from new opportunities and investment." 

Tim Davie, BBC Director-General said: “This Charter makes clear the huge scale of the economic opportunity on offer for the North. By coming together as a cross-sector coalition, we are committing to putting the full weight of the creative industries behind the Northern growth agenda – with jobs, skills, investment, and innovation as the prize. The BBC is determined to play its part to the full.” 

Andy Haldane, Chief Executive of the RSA said: “There are pockets of creative genius right across the North of England. But the potential to nurture and grow these pockets into a Northern creative supercluster, by working in pan-regional partnership, is simply enormous. Unlocking that huge potential, through practical action, is the purpose of putting together this grand coalition of leaders from the region and the creative industries.”

Signatories to the charter have committed to making the North of England ‘one of the best regions in the UK for creative industries to thrive’. 

Next steps will involve a series of workshops in January and February 2024, to bring together policy, business, education, and civil society stakeholders, including creative industries and arts, culture, and heritage practitioners.

New policy and practice interventions will be co-designed and stress-tested across skills, finance, and innovation, to help realise creative corridors in different parts of the UK.  

The results of this activity and progress towards making the Northern Creative Corridor a reality will be reported at the time of the Convention of the North in March 2024. 

The full list of signatories is available here.

Press release adapted with thanks to RSA and Creative PEC


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