Although the pandemic might seem like last year’s problem, the reverberations have continued to impact this country’s greatest asset – our cultural and creative industries. In the last few months, we’ve also seen the additional impact of the cost of living crisis, whilst the ramifications of Brexit continue to linger on. It has been a very difficult year for our sector.
Throughout 2022 however, Creative UK has been flexing our muscle, in both quiet and noisy ways. Behind the scenes we continue to meet regularly with government ministers, parliamentarians and officials; providing information, evidence and data on the challenges and achievements of the cultural and creative industries, whilst also actively and practically supporting businesses and individuals access the skills, investment and networks they need to thrive.
If I were to pick a few highlights I would mention spearheading the sector’s response to addressing bullying and harassment, and the subsequent establishment of the Independent Standards Authority with industry leaders; our advocacy for our very important freelance community, (and I encourage you to fill in our survey about freelancing to identify key priorities that need imminent action); the Breakout partnership, our talent development with Netflix UK to fuel the next generation of feature filmmakers; the £7m we invested in high growth creative companies in 2022 and finally, the second edition of our spectacular Creative Coalition Festival, featuring industry brilliance including Rebecca Ferguson, Jed Mercurio, Lemn Sissay and June Sarpong.
I want thank our incredibly loyal and active members, partners, and stakeholders and our amazing board, advisory groups and UK Council for your expertise, energy and wise counsel. Creative UK is a myriad of partnerships and relationships; it is the generosity of spirit within that network that is the manifestation of real power.
Of course, there will continue to be challenges ahead, but the Creative Industries have the ability to imagine solutions to problems that the rest of the world have yet to conceive. What do we say to 2023? We say bring it on!
Have a wonderful festive period and see you in the new year!
Caroline Norbury OBE, Creative UK CEO
Over three days, Creative Coalition Festival 2022 brought together over 200 speakers in 64 free-to-access events, and members had the opportunity to engage with Rt Hon Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Opposition, and Julia Lopez MP, Minister of State.
We hosted three Regional Receptions in London (National Theatre), North East (The Common Room) and East Midlands (Derby QUAD) for our members, with speakers and performers including: Rt Hon Nadine Dorries MP – Secretary of State for DCMS, Sadiq Khan – Mayor of London, Mayor Jamie Driscoll – North of Tyne Combined Authority, and soul-singer, Tawiah. With thanks to our event sponsors including Youtube, British Business Bank, British Esports Association, Crystallised and Marketing Derby.
We relaunched Student membership, providing content, events, and opportunities to launch the creative careers of our Federation members’ students. In the past year, we engaged with over 1,500 students and offered 20 students the paid opportunity to write original content for us. Find out more about becoming a member here.
In 2022, Creative UK’s landmark debt fund, Creative Growth Finance (CGF) has boosted the Creative Industries with investment of over £11million since its inception. So far, the fund, in partnership with Triodos Bank, has helped 25 companies reach their next growth stage with loans between £100,000 and £1m.
Through CGF, we funnelled £1 million into Dimension Studio this year; a leader in the creation of virtual worlds and volumetric content. The studio has since worked on some major projects including Disney’s Pinnochio, Whitney Huston biopic, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, and Sony Picture’s Bullet Train.
In September, Coronation Street upped the technology stakes for soapland by using virtual production to bring a major storyline to life. Enlisting the help of Recode XR Studio – a specialist virtual production studio built by Carbon Digital with money invested from CGF – the soap filmed an explosive rooftop scene using the studio’s ‘volumetric wall.’
Our regional support programmes continued to enable key growth and mobility for creative communities and companies this year. We launched our new Greater Manchester programme, providing specialist support to creative SMEs, sole-traders and start-ups. After three years of prosperous success, our Ideate Plymouth programme came to a close, having supported a host of 22 companies across the region who work in immersive technology. Lastly, our North of Tyne Culture and Creative Investment programme is half-way through its two-year partnership with the North of Tyne Combined Authority, providing vital investment options to enterprises in the region. So far, nearly £850,000 has been allocated to Venture Stream (an e-commerce and digital marketing agency), Tiny Dragon Productions (early-stage creative company) and Do Gooder (Newcastle based, female-founded, purpose-driven strategy and creative agency) to highlight a few.
2022 has been an exciting year of activity for our Creative Enterprise team. They hosted the first ever in-person Creative Enterprise Gala which was attended by 350 people at the Barbican Conservatory in London. The event celebrated four years of Creative Enterprise with cohort participants, delivery partners, corporate supporters and investors. Another first: the team delivered a conference for beneficiaries of their inaugural Female Founders programme. Taking place in Bristol, previous cohorts had the opportunity to network and share experiences – see what the Female Founders had to say here! Creative Enterprise also released the second volume of One Thing I Know; an inspirational book of hard-earned insights from 33 creative entrepreneurs in the world of TV, Film and video games. Download your free copy.
This year, Filming in England launched their brand-new Studio and Build Space Directory. With an all-new look and functionality, the directory gathers the full range of studios and build spaces facilitating high-end TV and feature film across England, outside of London. The Filming in England Summit happened with over 100 attendees. Curated specifically for Local Authorities, the virtual event was packed with informative sessions and essential industry speakers, aiding Local Authorities with production projects and the benefits to their regions. A wide range of subjects were addressed, from screen tourism to student filmmaking. Finally, the team also launched the first instalment of their new Regional Filming Hubs. With hubs in the East & South East, Midlands, North and South West, the meetings bring together important stakeholders with a shared vision to strengthen England’s film-friendly production environment.
In a year of great change, we penned an open letter to Prime Minsters Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, setting out the sector’s economic priorities and providing recommendations ahead of the emergency budget and autumn statement. We worked with the Labour Party’s Business Engagement team to help launch Labour Creatives – a new network which creates opportunities for creatives to influence the shape of Labour’s policies on the Creative Industries.
We launched the UK’s largest freelance survey. Working closely with members, partners and nine Combined Authorities, Redesigning Freelancing sets out our vision for freelancing and aims to design an industry-led Freelance Framework containing resources to inform and promote best practice. Working with DCMS, we convened a series of industry roundtables addressing Bullying and Harassment and we are supporting the development of training and best-practice resources for the Creative Industries, as well as establishing an Independent Standards Authority with Times Up UK.
We championed creative education by convening senior political advisors at the Department for Education, together with our members, to discuss priority concerns. We responded to the HE reform consultation announcement and our submitted response stressed the importance of protecting our creative talent pipeline at all levels.