WARWICK DISTRICT CREATIVE FRAMEWORK
A collaborative strategy for creative sector growth
It is an exciting time for the people who live and work in Warwick District and for creatives across the region; Coventry is City of Culture for 2021, Birmingham will host the Commonwealth Games in 2022, and there are plans for the development of a Creative Quarter in Royal Leamington Spa. All promise to increase the number of cultural engagement opportunities over the next three years.
We are living in a time when Central Government, once again, recognises the importance of culture, which has resulted in unprecedented levels of investment, and the growth of housing continues to attract new creative workers, participants and audiences to settle in the area
Warwick District Council recognises the impact of its creative sector upon its economic and social goals. The area is fortunate to have a diverse, thriving creative community which contributes significantly to making Warwick District a great place to live, work and visit.
Earlier this year the Council commissioned BOP Consulting, an international consultancy specialising in culture and the creative economy, to explore the scale and impact of the cultural and creative sector in Warwick District – including Film, TV, Video, Radio and Photography, Museums, Galleries and Libraries, Music, Performing Arts and Visual Arts, Advertising and Marketing, Architecture, Design and Software Design.
BOP Consulting partnered with Warwick Business School to carry out the study and also consulted with the District’s cultural and creative sector via an online survey and workshops.
- Read the full BOP report: ‘Warwick District’s Creative Sector: Analysis of Impact and Strategy for Growth’
- Read the Press Release
SUMMARY OF REPORT
As well as several unique strengths and opportunities, the report identified certain challenges which threaten to restrict the growth of the creative sector:
- No united platform for the creative sector to speak with one voice and promote the district at a national level
- A lack of a cohesive and strategic plan for the whole district
- A lack of connectivity between artists and organisations
- A lack of available and suitable premises
- A lack of business networking opportunities
- Broadband quality is poor
- Limited access to talent and skills
To address these challenges and to ensure that Warwick District makes a positive impact on the sector going forward, the Council will act upon the recommendations of the BOP report and facilitate the development and implementation of a 5-year plan to support the growth of world-class creative cluster in the District.
Creative organisations, freelancers and residents will be invited to contribute towards the creation of Warwick District’s Creative Framework from November 2019. The Council aims to finalise and adopt the strategy from March 2020.
The Creative Framework will ensure that all stakeholders can benefit from the opportunities arising in the region over the coming years. The Council does not seek to duplicate the efforts of Warwickshire County Council, West Midlands Combined Authority, The University of Warwick and Coventry & Warwickshire LEP, but intends to complement work to ensure that the creative sector of the District achieves its full potential to fulfil the economic, social and cultural ambitions of local people.
It is the Council’s ambition for the Framework to provide a platform for the area’s creative community to promote and champion their work.
Want to find out more about the consultation process OR want to contribute to the development of the Creative Framework? Register your interest here.
More Findings from the Report
The Bigger Picture
In 2017 the creative industries contributed £101.5bn to the UK economy, an increase of 53.1% since 2010 (£66.3bn). This is now 5.5% of the total UK economy and creativity is consistently one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK.
The creative industries are expected to deliver close to £130bn GVA by 2025 and approximately one million new jobs could be created by 2030.
Arts Council England have found that for every £1 generated by the arts and culture industry, an additional £1.30 is generated in the wider economy.
Our Creative Sector
Warwick District has key strengths in performing arts, with two organisations, Motionhouse and Live & Local, holding National Portfolio Organisation status with Arts Council England. Others, from Playbox Theatre to Armonico Consort, the Loft to Heartbreak Productions, Leamington Music to Talisman Theatre and Arts Centre, and more besides, make up an impressively rich and varied performing arts sector.
Warwickshire Open Studios and Leamington Studio Artists, organisations sustained entirely by voluntary activity, help to underpin a similarly strong local visual arts offer. There are also numerous well-established cultural events, e.g. Art in the Park, Kenilworth Arts Festival, Leamington Music Festival, Warwick Folk Festival, and Warwick Words History Festival.
The Council supports the sector through provision of its own cultural facilities, including the Royal Pump Rooms, the Royal Spa Centre and Leamington Town Hall as well as project grants and support grants.
The widespread support for volunteering and educational activities shown by the creative sector reflects a robust ethic of volunteering within the District and makes a significant social contribution. Together, these create a strong sense of place and indicate that the district sees culture as important to its future.
Warwick District’s creative sector makes a significant contribution to the local economy. Overall, the creative industries contributed nearly half a billion pounds of Gross Valued Added (GVA) to the economy of Warwick District in 2017.
As well as encouraging investment in the District, the creative sector encourages tourism. Tourism brings over 3.8 million people to the Warwick District each year with a combined spend of over £282.6m.
In the NESTA report, The Geography of Creativity in the UK, Leamington Spa was placed at 17th in a ranking of growing creative clusters across the UK. This placed a town in Warwick District higher than any other creative cluster in the Midlands.
Around 130 of the UK’s best games businesses are based in the West Midlands - notably in and around Leamington Spa. At any one time, there are between 2,000 and 2,500 full time employees in 50+ games companies in and around Leamington, out of a total of 3,000- 3,500 games industry professionals across the West Midlands.
Warwick District’s creative sector supports 12,975 jobs which is considerably larger than its retail, accommodation & food services and manufacturing sectors.
17% of Warwick District’s creative sector workers are freelancers. The District also benefits from an unusually large number of workers in creative occupations outside of the creative industries. 70% of those in creative occupations in the District are not working in the creative industries – a much higher proportion than in Coventry (55%) or Coventry and Warwickshire (58%).
The majority (40%) of respondents to consultation indicated a lack of space is a major barrier to the development of creative businesses in the District, closely followed by a lack of networking opportunities.
In 2018 cultural organisations and practitioners based in Warwick District received a total of £3.4m from public authorities to support their work in the area and beyond.