The UK's creative industries are a national economic strength. Since the turn of the decade, employment, exports and output growth has far surpassed that in other areas of the economy. Yet, behind this rapid growth lies structural challenges and business uncertainties. And while there has also been an increase in academic research on the creative industries, gaps in the evidence base still exist.
A new Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) seeks to address these issues and to develop good quality, independent evidence that will inform decision-making across the creative industries and underpin future policy decisions. The Centre will be led by Nesta – global innovation foundation – with SPRU as a lead partner. Dr. Josh Siepel is leading Sussex’s side of the project supported by Monica Masucci and Roberto Camerani.
The new Centre, officially announced in September by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) and launched at the Beyond Conference on 13 November 2018, will run in parallel with The Creative Industries Clusters Programme, forming part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. The Programme aims to bring together world-class research talent with UK companies and organisations to create jobs and drive the creation of innovative new companies, products and experiences that can be marketed around the world, significantly contributing to UK economic growth both regionally and nationally.
The PEC is a multidisciplinary policy and evidence centre, making use of a wide range of quantitative and qualitative methods, and undertaking activities spanning disciplines including economics, law, media and communications, cultural studies, sociology, management and organisational science, science, technology & innovation studies and geography. It will have a strong focus on methodological innovation, in particular bringing together novel data sets and combining research methods, such as data science and geography, and ethnography and social network analysis, to develop new interdisciplinary practices.
The PEC's work activities are organised into five overlapping workstrands, each led by an expert UK research centre, and coordinated through a Management Board, chaired by Nesta.
The ‘Creative Clusters’ workstrand is led by SPRU and will entail mapping and visualising the UK's creative clusters by mining official, open and online data sources, and plugging data gaps using a survey instrument based on that used in the AHRC-funded Brighton Fuse and Creative Fuse North East studies. They will investigate local spillovers between creative and other industries, and conduct foresight activities to engage industry and policymakers on future opportunities and challenges.
Other workstrands include ‘Skills, Talent and Diversity’, ‘Intellectual Property, Business Models, Access to Finance and Content Regulation’, ‘Arts, Culture and Public Service Broadcasting’ and ‘Creative Industries and International Competitiveness’.
Impact and outreach
The PEC aims to lead a step change in the quantity and quality of the evidence base regarding the economic wellbeing of the creative industries and how policy can best support it. As well as creating new peer-reviewed research and insights, the PEC will also signpost existing research to industry users and policymakers, thereby expanding the audience for academic research on the creative industries and the potential for future collaboration.
The nationwide reach of the consortium will ensure that creative businesses and policymakers at local, metropolitan, regional and national levels throughout the UK will profit from independent, quality policy advice. As a result, the UK's creative industries will benefit both directly from research and insight that addresses industry challenges and indirectly from policies that are grounded in a more robust evidence base.
Visit the Policy and Evidence Centre website: www.pec.ac.uk
Follow the PEC on twitter: @CreativePEC
- Cardiff University
- The Work Foundation – Lancaster University
- University of Newcastle Business School
- Edinburgh College of Art
- University of Edinburgh Business School
- University of Sussex Business School
- University of Birmingham
- London School of Economics and Political Science
- University of Ulster
- University of Glasgow
- Alliance Manchester Business School – The University of Manchester