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AHRC gives £16m boost to the creative economy

06/21/2012 00:00:00

​The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has launched its four Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy to connect researchers with the UK’s vibrant creative sector.

Watch the video of the launch here.

The UK’s Creative Economy – which includes the creative industries as well as museums, galleries, libraries, orchestras, theatres, etc. – is, relative to GDP, probably the largest creative sector in the world. As the major focus of AHRC’s new knowledge exchange and impact strategy for 2011-2015, the Hubs will encourage significant interactions between research and the Creative Economy which will generate wider social, economic and cultural benefits.

Over the next four years an investment by the AHRC of some £16m will enable the KE Hubs to build new partnerships and entrepreneurial capacity in the Creative Economy and increase the number of arts and humanities researchers actively engaged in research-based knowledge exchange.

The four lead institutions and the Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy are:

Lancaster University – The Creative Exchange
University of Dundee – Design in Action
Queen Mary, University of London – Creativeworks London
University of the West of England – Research and Enterprise in the Arts and Creative Technologies (REACT)

Each is leading a consortium that includes other universities, creative businesses, including SMEs, arts and culture organisations and other agencies. Partners include BBC, Microsoft, TATE Liverpool, SAGE Gateshead, all of the Scottish art colleges, the V&A and other industry partners including IBM and Bellemedia.

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science said: “The AHRC’s four KE Hubs represent an incredible opportunity for the UK’s innovative and world-leading creative sector to collaborate with the excellent arts and humanities research at our higher education institutions. This interaction between businesses and universities is crucial for driving growth. The work of the four Hubs will enable businesses and organisations to benefit from our world-class research base as well as enrich the creative industries."

John Newbigin, Chair of Creative England, said: “There's a worldwide recognition that, in the 21st century, valuing knowledge and nurturing creativity are both crucial to economic prosperity and the well-being of communities.  These four hubs will provide a valuable and eminently practical forum in which that virtuous circle of relationships can be fostered and better understood.”

Chief Executive of the AHRC Professor Rick Rylance, said: “The UK is outstanding at many things and leads the world in some. Of these the quality and innovation of our research and the dynamism of our creative economy are two that stand out. These AHRC Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy offer the opportunity to unite these sectors to the benefit of both sides and the country as a whole. We look forward to working closely with them over the next four years and to welcoming the results of their work.”

After the four-year period of AHRC funding each KE Hub will have made arrangements to develop the legacy of its work, including sustaining partnerships, delivering economic impact and continuing other major benefits.

Speakers at the launch event in London included: Sir Adrian Smith (Director General, Knowledge and Innovation), Jude Kelly OBE (Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre), Professor Sir Alan Wilson (Chairman of the AHRC), and Professor Rick Rylance (Chief Executive of the AHRC).