Supporting South London’s creative sector

Croydon Digital Lab

It’s great to see Christopher Smith, UKRI Sector Champion for the Creative Industries and Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, recent show of support for the creative sector in his new blog “How our creative industries make society better”.

Not only does the blog highlight the integral role that the creative sector plays in creating a better society, but also the strong economic contribution the sector makes in the UK. He estimates that the sector accounts for something like 6% of the UK economy and is worth more than £100bn.

The Creative Sector is an important part of the local economy here in South London. Last year we commissioned an Industry Cluster Analysis report to look at which sectors were driving growth in South London. This highlighted the Creative Sector as a growth area for the region with the cluster including a wider range of activities related to arts, publishing and production, advertising and market research.

In recognition of the value and worth of the creative industries in South London, we’ve invested in both physical assets and collaborative partnerships across the boroughs.

Alongside our Borough Council partners, we’re creating ten flexible workspaces in South London. One of these workspaces – the Croydon Creative Digital Lab – will provide a state-of-the-art hub for the creative community. Opening Autumn, it will provide a range of industry-standard tools such as a video editing and post-production suite, audio recording and editing, an events space and an LED wall video studio. Based in the heart of Croydon, it’s set to support and catalyse a new generation of creative talent to develop sustainable businesses.

Our Creative Industry Network, led by Kingston University, has supported over 40 local creative businesses. As well as creating a valuable peer-to-peer network, it provided a training programme around business resilience strategic planning, bid writing and project management. The feedback on the Network has been second to none: “A network of creatives is already in itself such a valuable thing! Everyone, from tutors to students in workshops were supportive, open-minded, truly interested in understanding, and suggesting solutions for individual challenges faced by creatives.”

Chris’ blog also highlights the need to invest in skills, an agenda close to our heart here at BIG South London and the South London Partnership. AI poses a huge challenge and opportunity to the creative sector – like it does many other sectors, but he sees the creative as the sector to take us forward.

The creative sector could be transformative with the right investment across skills, research and development and facilities. It cuts across disciplines and has the potential to provide solutions in, for example, healthcare and is an exciting growth area for us here in South London.

It’s vitally important that we continue to nurture this industry, offer opportunities for growth and “invest in skills”.

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Paul Kirkbright



Posted 24/08/23

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