Creative United has recently contributed to three important reports which look at the economic and social impacts of the creative and cultural industries in the UK.

Cultural Cities Enquiry

The Cultural Cities Enquiry came together in March 2018 to develop a new model to help culture flourish in cities in the context of diminishing public funding in UK. The enquiry looked at ways we can increase the ability of our cities to use culture and cultural assets to drive inclusive growth, providing opportunities for the next generation of artists and creatives, as well as generating revenue.

The resulting report outlines how UK cities can make greater use of cultural assets to promote thriving communities and to compete successfully for talent, tourism and investment, to develop new income streams to support culture for the long term.

Creative United met with the inquiry team to share our perspectives and learning on best practice when supporting arts and cultural organisations to become more resilient. We discussed the challenges faced by not-for-profit and community-based arts organisations, such as loss of local authority funding, and the need to improve business skills and capacity in order to face those challenges.

As part of recommendations to build organisational strength and resilience, the report outlines the work Creative United has undertaken with the Prosper business support programme, and the conclusions drawn from our own report. The Prosper evaluation highlighted the need for business support within the creative sector and the positive impact that support can have. Over the two-year period of the Prosper programme, 18% of the creative businesses that participated had launched new products or services and a further 50% planned to do so. In addition, 17% had diversified their funding and a further 67% planned to do so.

The Cultural Cities Enquiries report outlines some practical and innovative recommendations for local authorities, public bodies and organisations to take this forward.

Creative Land Trust

In London, a new independent organisation, the Creative Land Trust, has been launched with the aim of protecting and increasing affordable artist workspace in the capital. Retaining the creative community in London is central to the city’s success. The creative industries contribute £47bn per year to the economy and account for one in six jobs in London.  However, a shortage of affordable workspaces, rising rents and the insecurity of short-term leases threaten the future of the capital’s creative workforce and artist community.

Supported by The Mayor of London, Arts Council England and Outset Contemporary Art Fund, the original concept and proposals for the establishment of a land trust as a means of building and protecting the provision of affordable workspace was set out by Creative United in its influential and timely ‘Making Space’ report, published in 2016.

The funding will enable three models of securing property –

  • the Creative Land Trust purchasing property and leasing it to the studio providers;
  • taking on joint ownership with a studio provider and giving the provider the option to buy back the building over time,
  • receiving properties through a transfer of ownership to the Trust, and then leasing the space to a studio provider.

It aims to secure 1,000 affordable workspaces in its first five years, helping artists to flourish and helping to maintain London’s status as an international cultural capital.

Mayor of London’s Cultural Infrastructure Plan

Our recent programme, Premises Ready, is included in the Mayor of London’s new Cultural Infrastructure Plan. Premises Ready had the aim to provide free information, training and support to would-be venue owners; helping them get the knowledge they need to understand leases, business rates, funding, business planning and licensing.