One of the key factors in London’s success as a hub for business is the unique cross-pollination that exists between different sectors – and nowhere is this more evident than East London. Below, Jodie Eastwood – London Coordinator at CreativeWorks London – looks at the importance of the creative sector to the UK economy, and invites you to an event at Hackney House on 13th September…
2012 has been an unprecedented year where London has truly embraced all aspects of its creative economy – from Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond’s ambitious sculpture for the Olympic Park becoming an iconic landmark of the London Olympic games, to the hugely successful London 2012 festival celebrating the best in dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, film, heritage, digital innovation and more.
If there was ever a time to be a creative business in London that time is now. London’s creative economy is truly flourishing in the face of considerable economic uncertainty, assisted by government policy and investment.
The creative industries have often been looked upon as the poorer sibling of the service and banking sectors. But under closer inspection you can begin to see that it is not only a major employer but a huge economic generator with a turnover of over £18bn in London alone.
London’s commercial creative industries also generate substantial wealth for the UK economy. The official data from the Mayor’s Office, published in 2010, showed that the creative industries in London employ 386,000 people, plus 411,000 people who work in creative jobs outside the creative industries, totalling 797,000.
So what is happening to build upon the success of this flourishing sector and how can creative businesses work more efficiently and intelligently in order to keep ahead of the economic downturn?
Creative businesses have been increasingly adopting research and development as a way in which to innovate. With the introduction of R&D tax credits what was normally the domain of bluechip companies, is now being accessed by multiple creative sectors to produce some interesting results.
Researcher and fashion designer Philip Delamore alongside the London College of Fashion has been developing an online tool that will allow an untrained user to measure their body size and shape, from their own home, using a standard digital camera or webcam. This exciting project could potentially create a whole new business model allowing the retailer to obtain payment from customers before the products are produced reversing the standard cash flow dynamics of the retail sector.
In response to this drive forward in R&D, and to encourage the up-take by more creative businesses, the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) has funded four Knowledge Exchange Hubs in the UK. Creativeworks London (led by Queen Mary, University of London and The Culture Capital Exchange) is one of the hubs, created to help bring together the capital’s research community with its cultural and creative industries and communities to develop unique collaborations that will in turn make vital contributions to London’s creative economy.
Just ten days before their formal launch and due to high levels of interest, Creativeworks London, supported by TCIO, is hosting ‘Pop-In’, an informal open house event at Hackney House from 4pm on the 13th September.
Over the course of the next four years, Creativeworks London has funding to support London’s cultural and creative businesses to engage more deeply with its research community by offering initiatives such as: creative vouchers schemes, PhDs-in-residence schemes and creative entrepreneurs-in-residence to enhance the business potential for collaboration and innovation.
This informal session is primarily aimed at cultural and creative industries companies who are interested in finding out more about the future plans of, and working with, Creativeworks London on developing the richest possibilities and potentials for research and industry collaborations in the coming years.
To attend this free informal pop-in event and meet some of the Creativeworks London team please RSVP by 10th September to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jodie Eastwood is the newly appointed Creativeworks London Coordinator. Jodie has over ten year experience working with businesses and academia within the creative economy. Creativeworks London aims to connect research in the arts and humanities with a range of creative and cultural organisations to generate new and exciting business opportunities.