The geography of the UK's creative industries 3/8/2016

Using DCMS data on the creative industries sectors, Nesta has produced a detailed analysis of where the creative economy is thriving in the UK. It has also produced a visualisation, highlighting hotspots by region. At first glance, the map reflects a familiar pattern: vibrant activity in and around London, plus some large English northern cities, Cardiff and Edinburgh. However, the detail is more nuanced:

  • Nine in ten of 228 metropolitan areas showed more rapid growth in the creative economy than other business areas between 2007 – 14.
  • The report identifies 47 cultural clusters in the UK, including places such as Peterborough, High Wycombe and Guildford which are less often viewed as creative hubs, and where the work is more led by technology.
  • Middlesbrough, Stockton, Southend, Warrington, Bournemouth, Exeter and Sheffield are also listed as having high growth in creative business, although there is not yet a high concentration.
  • London has proportionately little locally grown talent, research and knowledge exchange – these resources are imported from the rest of the country and overseas.
  • Northern clusters like Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield are particularly well served by work with universities.
  • The report also used data from meetup.com to track connectivity between cultural workers at different locations. Creative cities like Cambridge, Manchester and Edinburgh are much better at cross-connecting than creative conurbations such as Reading and High Wycombe.

The report concludes that investing in people and talent, the presence of universities and evolving networking are all important in keeping talent in emerging clusters and so allowing these areas to further develop. Nesta (map), Nesta (report)