CREATIVE AND
DIGITAL INNOVATION
CLUSTER

Join this new industry cluster for long-term business support, networking and university expertise

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Upcoming Events

Summer Networking Reception

11th July, 14:30 – 17:00
Location: Canons House, Mitcham

Join us for our Creative and Digital Innovation Cluster Summer Networking Reception. Meet others working in the creative and digital industries from across South London and find out how you can get involved.

Find out more

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What is the Creative and Digital Innovation Cluster?

The Creative and Digital Innovation Cluster is a dynamic network of South London-based creative and digital businesses – connected by location and a drive to create a supportive business community.

Initially led by Kingston University and the University of Arts London, the cluster is an extension to the BIG South London programmes and networks, including the Creative Industries Network.

The aim of the Cluster is to build on existing creative and industry groupings, and facilitate connectivity among SMEs, sole traders, experts, and graduates from the creative industry and digital tech professions, to stimulate further creative collaborations, participatory methods, and digital innovation. The Cluster aims to support long-term business growth in the creative and digital sector in South London.

Who can become a member?

Creative and digital businesses in one of these South London Boroughs: Croydon, Kingston Upon Thames, Merton, Richmond Upon Thames and Sutton.

By becoming a member of the Creative Digital Innovation Cluster you can access:

  • Platform for growth
  • Networking
  • Peer learning
  • Peer support
  • Collaboration
  • Resource sharing
  • Expert support
  • Events, awards, competitions

The Creative and Digital Innovation Cluster is led and supported by a committee of business and academic experts.

Meet the leadership team

Robin Hutchinson

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Robin Hutchinson

Director of The Community Brain

Robin is a Director of The Community Brain, with much of his work focused on encouraging people to engage with ‘place’ not ‘space’ and influencing the design and regeneration of community assets, like the High Street.

He is a founding Trustee/Director of The Rose Theatre, Kingston, and Chair of the charity Creative Youth, organisers of the International Youth Arts Festival, held annually in Kingston.

Robin was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Kingston University for works in the arts and communities and an MBE in the 2015 New Years Honour’s list.

Professor Maria Chatzichristodolu

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Professor Maria Chatzichristodolu

Professor of Performance and Digital Transformation, Dean of Research and Knowledge Exchange, UAL

Maria Chatzichristodoulou is Professor of Performance and Digital Transformation, Dean of Research and Knowledge Exchange at Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Arts, and a scholar and cultural practitioner. She has worked as curator, producer, community organiser and performer in the UK, Greece and internationally.

As Associate Dean for Research, Business and Innovation at Kingston School of Art (KSA), Kingston University (2020-2024), Maria led KSA’s submission to 4 Units of Assessment in REF ‘21 with successful results and contributed to Kingston University’s KEF submissions.

She also co-led on the University’s restructuring of its research and Knowledge Exchange (KE) environment and the development of 4 new Research and KE Institutes (KERIs), as well as Kingston University’s policy work around the Future Skills campaign.

She is Principal Investigator of the UKRI-funded ‘Abundance Project’ (£1.3M), which aims to tackle health inequalities around mental health through mobilising cultural and green community assets.

Maria has led on KE projects funded by BIG South London Partnership (BIG Creative Industries Network, BIG Design Lab, BIG Creative and Digital Innovation Cluster) and the £1.4M ERDF project ACE IT (Accelerating the Creative Economy through Immersive Technologies), as well as research and innovation projects funded by the AHRC, Innovate UK, Art Council England, Erasmus, Creative Europe, regional funders and foundations.

As a scholar Maria works in the fields of live art, digital arts, socially engaged practice, creative health, curation, and creative industries policy /creative economy.

She is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media (IJPADM) (Taylor & Francis).

Dr Marcus O'Dair

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Dr Marcus O'Dair

Chair

Associate Dean of Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise at University of the Arts London – Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon

Marcus O’Dair is Associate Dean of Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise at 3 colleges within UAL – Camberwell, Chelsea, and Wimbledon Colleges of Arts. He was formerly Associate Professor of Music and Innovation at Middlesex University.

O’Dair has published academic work, largely on entrepreneurship and innovation in the creative economy, in edited collections including:

  • Jazz and Totalitarianism (Routledge, 2017)
  • Punk Pedagogies  (Routledge, 2018)
  • Business Transformation Through Blockchain (Palgrave, 2019)
  • Life Writing and Celebrity (Routledge, 2019)
  • The Canterbury Sound in Popular Music (Emerald, 2021)
  • Music by Numbers (Intellect, 2021)
  • Pataphysics Unrolled (Penn State University Press, 2021)

He has also published in peer-reviewed academic journals including:

  • Popular Communication
  • Strategic Change
  • Popular Music
  • IASPM@Journal
  • Life Writing
  • International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Journal of Risk Finance

His most recent book, Distributed Creativity (Palgrave 2019), is about the impact of blockchain technology on the creative economy. It was written as researcher in residence at Digital Catapult.

His previous book, Different Every Time: The Authorised Biography of Robert Wyatt (Serpent’s Tail 2014), was shortlisted for the Penderyn book prize and named a Radio 4 book of the week. O’Dair is also co-editor of Mute Records: Artists, Business, History (Bloomsbury, 2019).

Dr Peter Garside

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Dr Peter Garside

Head of Department – Associate Professor

Dr Peter Garside has over twenty years of experience working in the field of urban and regional development, providing economic assessments and evaluations for a wide range of public and private sector institutions. Projects include: a national scoping study of Community Land Auction Pilots, a review of the National Land Use Database and a national study on Back Garden Development for DCLG. Over the past decade he has undertaken a London wide study into affordable housing which provided material evidence for all boroughs to challenge national planning guidance and sub regional and regional economic analysis.

Recent research projects have focused on community health projects through outreach work by professional sports organisations (https://londonunited.org.uk/fan-activ) and the impact AHRC grants have had on community networks to help to build cultural infrastructure (http://cultureforumnorth.co.uk/resources/the-hidden-story/). Currently the lead investigator and collaborative research partner with the Felton Convening Partnership – FCP –  (https://www.conveningproject.com/). This is a 7 year collective impact project in West London designed to improve the outcomes for babies, children and young people through a system change approach. The FCP is primary focused on Mental Health and Wellbeing, Post 16 Outcomes and Early Years and SEND.

In addition, he has worked for a range of government departments, development agencies and the European Commission in order to understand the barriers to employment faced by underrepresented groups and to development interventions to overcome them. Currently, he is Associate Professor at Kingston University and  Head of Department of Geography, Geology and the Environment.

Marcus Harris

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Marcus Harris

Project Manager – Croydon Creative Enterprise Zone, Croydon Music City, Creative Industries and Culture

Jo Ennis

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Jo Ennis

University of the Arts London, Head of R&D and Innovation at University of the Arts

Bernett Thornes

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Bernett Thornes

Business Development Manager at Kingston University

Adam Thorpe

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Adam Thorpe

Professor of Socially Responsive Design at Central Saint Martins College, University of the Arts London

Adam Thorpe is Professor of Socially Responsive Design at Central Saint Martins College, University of the Arts London (UAL). He is Co Director of the Design Against Crime Research Centre and Coordinator of the UAL DESIS Lab (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability). He is Principal Investigator of the Public Collaboration Lab, a platform for teaching & learning, knowledge exchange and research focused on participatory design for social, service and policy innovation, delivered in partnership with London Borough of Camden (2015-present). Adam is the Lead Academic for MAKE, a maker space supporting creative collaboration between residents, students and other stakeholders in Somers Town (2018-present) and leads the EU H2020 funded T Factor research for UAL which explores the potential contribution of participatory approaches to temporary urbanism to more inclusive regeneration (2020-2024).

Yush Kalia

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Yush Kalia

Sales & Marketing Director at Dimension

Yush is the Sales & Marketing Director at Dimension, a 3D real-time content studio specializing in virtual worlds and virtual humans. With over a decade of creating experiences in mixed reality, he has worked with some of the biggest names in music, sport and film.

Saffron Saunders

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Saffron Saunders

CEO Startup Croydon

Saffron Saunders joins the board coming from the business support sector in Croydon. As the first female CEO of a business that has flourished in Croydon for 40 years, she is a keen advocate for Women in business and social mobility.

Having supported small business owners across the borough since 2013 in various guises, she has a wealth of knowledge and connections to enable small business owners to develop and evolve in the new digital landscape. Startup Croydon has recently opened a new Creative Digital Lab which includes a training facility to upskill local people on digital skills, an audio studio and a Virtual Production suite for Video and game production.

Professor Vali Lalioti

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Professor Vali Lalioti

Vali has led EU and Innovate UK-funded research projects and delivered Knowledge Exchange Professor with global business schools and consulting at FTSE-100 companies and non-profits in China, USA and Europe. Founder-Director of The Innovation Consultancy, Vali is at the forefront of cutting-edge developments in technology, design and the arts, including a ground-breaking VR/XR platform to help performers and live venues hit hard by Covid-19.

Manoj Nanda

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Manoj Nanda

Head of Business, Digital and Creative Technology, at the Richmond Business School at RHACC.

 

Manoj Nanda is the Head of Business, Digital and Creative Technology, based in the Richmond Business School at RHACC.

Experienced Leadership and Management Professional with a demonstrable and successful history of working within further and higher education providing subject leadership with digital technologies and technology-enhanced learning for teaching professionals.

Over a decade of curriculum design and development including AI, Web Design/Development, Data Science, Cybersecurity, Creative Media, VR and Digital Marketing. This has translated into a vibrant and practical skills offer for individuals, start-ups, SMEs and Charities.

Dr Kate Scott

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Dr Kate Scott

School Director of Research, Business and Innovation, Kingston University

I completed my PhD in 2010 at UCL under the supervision of Professor Deirdre Wilson. I then taught at UCL and at Middlesex University before joining Kingston in 2012. My background is in language and linguistics, but my interests are broad and encompass visual communication in various written and non-verbal forms. My publications include work on digitally-mediated communication (hashtags, emoji, memes and clickbait) and I am particularly interested in how context influences the production and interpretation of online communication.

I was Head of Department for Humanities from May 2019 to February 2021, overseeing courses in English, Creative Writing and Philosophy.

I am the School Director for Research, Business and Innovation at the Design School, KSA, and I am the research director for the Writing Cultures Group.

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Kingston University (KU) collects your personal and business information on this form to register you and your business for Creative Digital Innovation cluster, as necessary for GDPR legal basis 6(1)(b) 'contract' (i.e. the agreement you enter into with us). Personal data will also be created about you as part of the programme, e.g. records of attendance. BIG South London and Creative Digital Innovation cluster is delivered in partnership with Kingston University and University of the Arts London therefore all data shared on this form, and throughout your participation with BIG South London and Creative Digital Innovation Cluster may be shared with these parties. BIG South London and Creative Digital Innovation Cluster is delivered with the support of our programme facilitators, along with Merton Chamber of Commerce, The South East London Chamber of Commerce, Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Kingston upon Thames Chamber of Commerce and Croydon Council, therefore the company details and contact information shared on this form, and throughout your participation with BIG South London and Creative Digital Innovation Cluster may be shared with these parties. Your details will be stored in Wordpress and will be shared with the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames as part of regular programme monitoring or as part of an audit, as required through the funding arrangement. Your company details will be shared with other participants of the programme, but not your personal information unless you provide consent for this. Your data will be retained for five years from the end of the programme and then deleted. For more information about the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and your privacy rights, please go to https://www.richmond.gov.uk/data_protection
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