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
- Peer learning
- Peer support
- 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
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
Professor Maria Chatzichristodolu
Associate Dean Research & Enterprise at Kingston University
I joined Kingston University in 2020 as Associate Dean Research & Enterprise following 5 years at London South Bank University (LSBU) as Head of External Development and Enterprise for the School of Arts and Creative Industries. At LSBU I was also co-founder and Director of the Centre for Research in Digital Storymaking and Head of Division of Creative Industries. I was Academic Lead on the part of LSBU on the successful ERDF Priority Axis 1 (Research & Innovation) funded project ‘Accelerating the Creative Economy with Immersive Technologies’ in partnership with LCC (£1.4 million) and P/I on an Innovate UK and AHRC funded KTP project with Footprint Scenery worth £277K. Before joining LSBU I lectured in Theatre and Performance at the University of Hull (2009-2015), where I was also Director of Postgraduate Studies for the School of Arts and New Media (2010-2013). While at the University of Hull I received 5 awards for Innovation in Learning & Teaching. I have also taught theatre, performance and new media at the University of London Colleges Goldsmiths, Birkbeck and Queen Mary, and at Richmond (the International American University in the UK).
As a cultural practitioner I have worked as curator, producer, performer and community organiser in the UK, my native Greece and internationally. In Greece, I was co-founder and co-director of the international Art and Technology Festival Medi@terra and co-artistic director of Fournos Centre for Digital Culture (1996-2002). Medi@terra was co-organised with the Hellenic Ministries of Culture and Development and was part of the Cultural Olympiad. In the UK, I worked as Community Participation Officer at The Albany in London (2003-5), and was co-convener of The Thursday Club at Goldsmiths, University of London (2006-2009). I have published and presented my research widely, convened numerous conferences and symposia, and curated festivals and exhibitions.
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
- 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
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.
Project Manager – Croydon Creative Enterprise Zone, Croydon Music City, Creative Industries and Culture
University of the Arts London, Head of R&D and Innovation at University of the Arts
Business Development Manager at Kingston University
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).