Bristol is one of four new Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy launched today by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
The centres will connect researchers with the UK’s vibrant creative sector, giving a £16m boost to the UK’s creative economy.
The Bristol centre, called Research and Enterprise in the Arts and Creative Technologies – REACT, is led by UWE Bristol with a consortium that includes the Universities of Bristol, Exeter, Bath and Cardiff and the Watershed Arts Trust.
REACT will also work closely with creative businesses, including SMEs, arts and culture organisations and other agencies.
REACT is directed by Professor Jon Dovey and based in Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio, enhancing its existing partnership with UWE’s Digital Cultures Research Centre. This unique city-centre studio, established in 2008, brings together artists, technologists and academics to explore the future of creative technologies.
Professor Dovey said: “Our Creative Economy Hub is all about building new relationships between academics and businesses. REACT is off to a flying start with six projects already in production taking humanities research and creating inspiring experiences for heritage visitors. Our projects combine academics and business to make innovative digital services. Research is finding new audiences and creative economy businesses are developing new products. We’re aiming to change the culture so that academics and creatives become part of one another’s world.”
The UK’s Creative Economy, which includes the creative industries as well as museums, galleries, libraries, orchestras, theatres, 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.
Minister for universities and science David Willetts 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.”
The other three lead institutions are the University of Lancaster, The University of Dundee and Queen Mary, University of London.