British Council

Creative Hubs are much more than just a ‘shop front’ – they are places where creative work happens, and as Malaysia’s creative economy thrives and grows their future holds great potential. Rachael Turner, MadLab

In Malaysia, creative hubs are numerous, spread across the country, and extremely diverse - by type of community, mission or business model. Yet, awareness around their potential and positive impact on local communities remains relatively low.

This research exercise was commissioned in September 2019 as part of the Hubs for Good programme led by British Council Malaysia. The aim was to produce an analysis on the sustainability and potential social and economic impact of creative hubs across the country. It builds on a number of reports from previous years: ‘Mapping Creative Hubs in Malaysia’ (2017) which came out of ‘Connecting Creative Communities: Creative Hubs in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines’ (2017).

The research was carried out in the latter part of 2019, before the COVID-19 crisis. Over two weeks, Rachael Turner of Manchester Digital Laboratory (MadLab) travelled all over Malaysia, interviewed over 30 hub staff and more than 100 community and members of the public in an effort to understand the typology, impact, needs and challenges of creative hubs across the country, from George Town, Ipoh, and Kuala Lumpur in the Peninsular, to Sabah, and Sarawak in East-Malaysia.

The Hubs for Good programme in Southeast Asia has also commissioned several creative hubs research reports; read about the role hubs play in cultural and creative districts in Thailand and learn more about the social impact of creative hubs in the Philippines.