We were live at the launch of the York Creative Industries’ Strategy 2019-2024 on Wednesday evening (December 5).
The event, at bar 1331 on Grape Lane, was to introduce the city’s first strategy of its kind. And it has a bold ambition:
The aim of the creative industries’ strategy is to build on York’s existing strengths and to deliver a bold, ambitious plan that will position the city as one of the creative powerhouses in the North of England. It will be a cornerstone of the York Economic Strategy and the commitment to “a fresh loud statement of cultural and visual identity.
Video interview: Steve Brown
Here’s Steve Brown, managing director of Make It York, on getting the city behind the initiative and what it could mean for the future.
Video interview: Heather Niven
Heather Niven, head of Science City York, talks about what the work revealed about York’s creative sector.
Video interview: Prof Damian Murphy
Here’s University of York’s Damian Murphy on the major investment coming the way of immersive and interactive screen technology in the city.
Now is the time
Heather finishes with a rousing call:
In order to realise the vision and ambition for the next five years, work needs to take place collaboratively, quickly and with ambition.
The city needs to be bold and brave. It needs to reach out to the UNESCO Creative City Network and maximise the opportunities of York’s unique position as the UK’s only City of Media Arts. Now is the time for York to become a leader for innovation in media arts and immersive technologies in the UK.
Now is the time for York to be audacious.
An audacious challenge
Heather borrows a word from York Mediale director Tom Higham – it is an ‘audacious’ challenge.
This is what the new strategy will set out to do:
• Create a sector that is worth £195 million to the York economy by 2024 (an increase of 32% from 2015/2016 when the economy was valued at £140.4 million).
• Increase the number of creative and digital businesses in the city by 10% to 620
• Ensure that NESTA recognises York as a ‘creative cluster’ and one of the most significant creative ‘second cities’ in the UK
• Place York as one of the leaders within the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (currently numbering 180 cities across the world
• Encourage creative businesses to feature strongly in York’s forthcoming major developments: York Central, The Guildhall and The Castle Gateway project.
• Assist the two universities in developing their creative offering and reputation as well as their engagement with employers within the creative industries sector.
• Contribute significantly to the economic development, growth and prosperity of the city.
Business development and visibility
Heather is back on her feet talking about developing our creative businesses.
Many businesses do not appreciate how Research and Development and Intellectual Property are exploitable and protectable assets, she said.
Onto a “biggie” – visibility.
“We need to be recognised universally as a creative city,” Heather says. “We’ve got the talent we just need people to know about it.”
York needs to get the word out locally, nationally and internationally. UNESCO could play a role
How do we encourage residents to be ambassadors for the sector? We need to get the story out there, Heather said.
York Technology Conference plan
Computer science student Scott is explaining there weren’t many networking opportunities between tech students and businesses in York.
His idea was to get undergraduates together with tech businesses. So they have launched a York Technology Conference to
- increase student employability
- improve collaboration
- showcase York’s student body
- increase commercial awareness
- and develop students’ soft skills
Businesses can help with funding, workshops, and providing speakers.
Multi-million pound investment
Professor Damian Murphy of the University of York is talking at the launch now.
The university, in partnership with Screen Yorkshire and the British Film Institute, has been awarded £5.5m to develop a creative cluster around the screen industry. Called Creative Media Labs the project is particularly aimed at digital storytelling in the interactive and immersive age.
The funding will support film, TV, games and related art and media in the city. York is one of only nine cities to get the money.
“We are able to draw down investment for infrastructure for our city – that’s really rare,” he said.
It will go to create space in the city for immersive and interactive projects, Damian says.
“What York does really well is old buildings and heritage.” Yes, the story is about a digital future, but also about heritage, the past and tourism.
In 18 months time they will be able to invest in a place where digital companies can come together to work – and to play.
An incubator programme
Olivia Chatten of York Science Park is introducing work undertaken with the Ideas Group about launching an incubator space for young creative businesses.
Ann Gurnell of the Ideas Group says a new Incubator Hub Programme would be ‘a small seed that would spread from one space at the Innovation Centre at York Science Park to other developments’.
One of the recommendations of the strategy is to “assist the creative industries in developing a ‘creative hub and spoke model’ – a suite of collaborative, public facing places with individual attributes”.
The four themes
Science City York surveyed 140 businesses, ran four workshops, and undertook a large review of all the policies involving people like Nesta and the City of York Council.
Four things were important:
- Talent pipeline
- Business development
A £140m industry
It’s the beginning of a journey, says Heather Niven, head of Science City York in her introduction.
The creative sector in the UK is contributing over £260bn to the economy.
In York the sector contributes £140.4m to the city.
The opportunity in a nutshell
With festivals like Aesthetica Short Film Festival, the York Mediale – and being the UK’s first and only city with a UNESCO City of Media Arts designation – the opportunity is there:
The city has a substantial opportunity through its creative industries to differentiate itself from other cities – to capitalise on the creative cluster and create a reputation as a city where ideas are nurtured and advanced.
York’s creative folk are assembled
We’re live at 1331 on Grape Lane ready for the launch of the city’s first Creative Industries’ Strategy.
Lots of the movers and shakers in the city are here, including Heather Niven of Science City York, and Steve Brown, head of Make It York.
Many of the people here have contributed to the strategy, which looks at growing the city’s creative sector over the next five years.