Westminster Media Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
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Next steps for creative clusters in the UK - progress, opportunities for support, and role in local and national economic recovery

Morning, Wednesday, 28th April 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference is examining next steps for creative clusters in the UK.

Areas for discussion include:

  • the Creative Industries Cluster Programme - progress and next steps
  • support - the impact of the DCMS Valuing Culture and Heritage Capital, government initiatives during the pandemic, and priorities for established creative businesses, new entrants, and SMEs
  • research and innovation - priorities for the creative industries
  • economic recovery - the role of the creative sector nationally, regionally and at a local level
  • the global marketplace - how the UK creative sector can be helped to compete and secure international talent

The conference is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from the DCMS; DIT; HMRC; Ofcom; the Isle of Man Government; and the Welsh Government.

The agenda:

  • Supporting creative industries in the wake of the pandemic
  • Progress so far with the Creative Industries Cluster Programme and next steps going forward
  • Harnessing the potential of the creative industries to support post-pandemic economic and social recovery
    • Supporting creative businesses, new entrants and SMEs, and entrepreneurs in creative fields
    • Growing the UK creative talent pipeline and unlocking the potential of creative skills
    • The role of local authorities in supporting local creative economies
    • Creative microclusters - policy priorities for levelling up localities outside established clusters
  • Research and innovation in creative industries - knowledge exchange and joining up pools of expertise, intellectual property, investment, and coordinating with the R&D Roadmap
  • The UK’s creative sector in the global economy
    • Supporting UK creative businesses in competing on a world stage
    • Access to international creative talent post-Brexit
  • The way forward for the creative industries and innovation in the UK

Key areas for discussion:

  • the Creative Industries Clusters Programme - progress and next steps in light of challenges brought about by the pandemic and the new regulatory environment post-Brexit
    • keynote contribution from: Caroline Norbury, Chief Executive Officer, Creative England
  • creative R&D, innovation and investment:
    • policy:
      • priorities for the DCMS’ Valuing culture and heritage capital project, and how to best advocate the contribution of creative clusters as part of the cultural value mix
      • the opportunities for clusters to benefit from implementation of major policy and public investment initiatives such as the UK Research and Development Roadmap
    • collaboration between sectors and stakeholders - the role of creative clustering in joining up pools of expertise and improving knowledge exchange between sectors and stakeholders
    • resilience - priorities for research and innovation to support the creative sector’s capacity to thrive virtually and withstand disruption, including the impact of AHRC initiatives such as:
      • Audiences of the Future - aiming to double the UK’s share of the global market around creative immersive content by 2025
      • Boundless Creativity - on innovative ways for the creative industries to adapt to the new normal, and evaluating changing cultural consumption patterns
      • keynote contribution from: Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director: Audience of the Future, UKRI and Creative Economy Champion, Arts and Humanities Research Council
    • IP - key issues and policy priorities for clusters and the wider creative economy, with changes introduced by the completion of the UK’s transition from the EU
  • supporting recovery in the creative economy - looking at creative clusters and the wider sector:
    • emergency funding for the creative sector - assessing its effectiveness and allocation, and what more is needed in the wake of the pandemic and Brexit
    • the self-employed and freelancers - making sure that this key group in the creative workforce can benefit from initiatives such as the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
    • hard-hit regions and sectors - identifying priority areas and ensuring sufficient support for creative areas outside of London and the South East 
  • supporting wellbeing and the wider economy - the role of creative clusters, and how they and the rest of the sector can be empowered to reach their potential to contribute:
    • SMES and creative entrepreneurship:
      • what is needed to encourage and support start-ups and scale-ups
      • the role of business-led innovation
    • levelling up localities:
      • microclusters - assessing their role and, following the recent report from the Creative Industries PEC, priorities for funding and further support for their development, particularly more widely than London and the South East
      • connectivity - upgrading key enabling infrastructure, including digital networks and transport links, for local creative economies, and potential dovetailing with the Levelling Up Fund
    • creative skills - growing the domestic talent pipeline:
      • identifying gaps - broadening the evidence-base for and understanding of creative skills requirements
      • education and training - ensuring coordination with schools, colleges and universities, careers guidance, and the impact of new technical qualifications such as T Levels
      • diversity and inclusion - encouraging people from a range of backgrounds  to train in creative fields and technical roles
    • social recovery and wellbeing - with the Government identifying the role of creative clusters in helping to address loneliness and mental health issues exacerbated by the pandemic:
      • making a positive impact - how can creative clusters most help, and what avenues does the potential for positive societal impact open up for their development
      • priorities for funding - where should government funding for local arts and cultural groups be directed, and how should organisations be making their cases for support
  • global benefits and outreach for UK creative clusters - assessing the experience of positioning the UK’s creative sectors in the global landscape post-Brexit in terms of:
    • practicalities - including the financial impact of adjusting to the new regulatory and funding landscape, for instance through the setting-up of the Global Screen Fund in place of Creative Europe
    • overseas creative talent - priorities for the immigration and visa system in attracting and supporting talent from abroad to come work in the UK

Relevant developments:

  • The Creative Industries Clusters Programme - launched in 2018 alongside the Creative Industries Sector Deal and bringing together creatives, researchers and businesses with the aim to boost productivity and enhance output in the sector
  • Valuing Culture and Heritage Capital: A Framework Towards Informing Decision Making - launch of the major new DCMS exercise to formalise the measurement of the impact of culture and heritage assets and make findings publicly-available as a tool for policy decision-making
  • the creative industries and the national economy:
    • government benchmark figures showing the sector having brought in almost £112bn to the UK economy in 2018
    • 2020 data showing the sector to be growing five times faster than the rest of the economy
  • microclusters - with the recent report from the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre, Creative radar: Mapping the UK's creative industries:
    • finding over 700 creative ‘microclusters’ located outside of the UK’s larger clusters
    • recommending that more investment is directed towards encouraging their development alongside larger ones established in London and the South East
  • UK Research and Development Roadmap - government plans for investment and improvement for the UK’s R&D system and the spread of hoped-for economic and societal benefits
  • government support during the pandemic - including:
    • the £1.57bn The Culture Recovery Fund and a new Culture Recovery Board,  and the £500m Film and TV Production Restart Scheme
    • More than £18 million awarded in final grants from first round of Culture Recovery Fund - over 90% of grants from the latest round of the Cultural Recovery Fund have been awarded to heritage projects outside of London
    • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme - covering 80% of profits up to £2,500 per month, and using average profits from 2016-2019 to inform the size of the grant
    • The Levelling Up Fund - £4bn announced in the Spending Review, including upgrades to town and community centres and arts and culture facilities

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from DCMS; the Department for International Trade; HM Revenue and Customs; Ofcom; the Isle of Man Government; and the Welsh Government.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as representatives from Arts Council England, creative, digital, media and technology business along with their suppliers and advisors, universities, research institutions, local government, private and public investment and funding bodies, third sector organisations, skills bodies, intellectual property and media lawyers, academics, analysts and commentators, organisations and individuals representing the views of consumers and citizens, regulators, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Caroline Norbury

Chief Executive Officer, Creative England

Professor Andrew Chitty

Challenge Director: Audience of the Future, UKRI and Creative Economy Champion, Arts and Humanities Research Council


Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson

Chair, Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, LGA

Dr Josh Siepel

Senior Lecturer, Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex Business School

Tamara Cincik

Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Fashion Roundtable

Fiona Latter

Creative Enterprise Scale Up Programme Lead, West Midlands Combined Authority

Niall Santamaria

Senior Investment Manager, Edge Investment