South African Cultural Observatory

Creative hubs: Lighthouses for the new urban economy

BY 13.12.16

“Creative hubs are fast becoming a worldwide phenomenon…They have become a new way of organising creative economy innovation and development”

The British Council commissioned this research to equip creative hubs with an evidence base to illustrate the invaluable role they play in the economy, particularly to policy makers and high level stakeholders.

The Creative Economy team been working with hubs for over five years, both in the UK and internationally, developing projects like European Creative Hubs Networkand Creative Hub Making Vietnam, as well as developing resources like the Creative HubKit.

Authored by Professor Andy Pratt (City University of London), Professor Jon Dovey (University of West of England, REACT, creativeworks, The Watershed) and associates, the report features interviews from a spectrum of creative hubs from across the UK.  It focusses on Fusebox, Roco Creative Co-op, Site Gallery and BOMas working case studies, delving into a variety of business models, symbolic of the wider community of hubs.

The report also outlines a template for creative hubs to begin evaluating themselves which, if every hub utilises, provides a compelling picture to high level stakeholders.

“Hubs [have] become nests for freelancers and micro SME’s to gather, connect and collaborate”

The research not only outlined the unique nature of hubs within an economy (and society), but also confirmed that a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not apply to these complex ecosystems, they are all as unique as fingerprints, dependent on their community and cultural needs that surround them.

“Our research shows that creative hubs can produce a wide range of impacts including, jobs, new products and services, talent development, regional talent retention, informal education, urban regeneration, research and development, new networks, innovative models of organisation, quality of life enhancements and resilience".

Creative hubs have been popping up across the country and the globe in the last 20 years and have fast become a protective and nurturing infrastructure for creative practitioners and organisations. By supporting hubs, we support the wider creative economy.

Read the report in full here

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