This report charts creative hubs across England, looking first at geographical location and concentration. It details profiles of creative hubs in terms of business model, services, number of members and audience engagement.
By looking into creative hubs’ mission and common values, the researchers were able to devise a categorisation of roles creative hubs play in their communities: from leaders and advocates, activators and agents of change, to enablers and facilitators, to co-creators, co-producers, and co-curators.
The report also looks at the types of impact creative hubs have and how it aligns with the global Sustainable Development Goals. As drivers of the creative economy, it is important to acknowledge creative hubs, especially in 2021 UN Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development.
The research team also zooms in on the challenges and opportunities facing hubs, generally and in the content of the global health crisis. Finally, it provides five case studies of different hubs across England: a space arts in Southampton, Duke Studios in Leeds, Hackney Bridge in London, HQ CAN in Leicester, Real Ideas Organisation in Devon & Cornwall, and The Making Rooms in Blackburn.
This research exercise was commissioned by the British Council in early 2020 and postponed due to the effects of the pandemic in the UK. The research team restarted the work in October 2020, identifying more than 300 creative hubs and receiving input from 139.
Ellen O’Hara is a freelance enterprise coach, creative facilitator, strategist and published researcher with over 20 years of experience in the cultural, creative and social sectors.
Deepa Naik is an arts professional and researcher who has spent the last 15 years working within cultural and academic institutions across Europe.