Newcastle University has been chosen with the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) as the new hosts of the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (Creative PEC) to provide independent research and policy recommendations for the UK’s creative industries.
The Creative PEC is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which has confirmed £11 million in funding to allow the Creative PEC to continue its work for a further five years. Newcastle University and the RSA take over as hosts PEC from Nesta, the UK innovation agency for social good.
The PEC supports the growth of the UK’s creative industries through the production of independent and authoritative evidence and policy advice. It is part of the UK government’s industrial strategy and comprises a consortium of universities and one joint enterprise from across the UK (Birmingham; Cardiff; Edinburgh; Glasgow; LSE; Manchester; Newcastle; Sussex; Ulster and Work Advance).
George Freeman, Minister of State at the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, said:
“Our dynamic creative industries are a national treasure, attracting major investment and creating exciting new technologies, companies and careers in creative clusters all round the UK. This additional funding for the Creative Industries PEC will help allow yet more brilliant British creative industry talent from Tyneside to Tenby, and Belfast to Bathgate, to flourish for years to come.”
AHRC executive chair Professor Christopher Smith said:
“Through its role as a centre of excellence for research and evidence PEC is a critical resource for the UK’s world-leading creative industries. The wide range of research and policy expertise provided by Newcastle University and the RSA means they are ideally suited to being the new PEC hosts.
“We very much look forward to the exciting next stage of the PEC’s development and to reinforcing its important role in the sector.”
According to a joint press release by the AHRC, Creative PEC, Newcastle University and the RSA, the university and the RSA were selected for their expertise, inspiring vision and ‘twin hub’ structure – with a northern hub in Newcastle and a southern hub in London – which will bring huge benefits to the whole of the UK’s creative sector.
“The creative industries are a UK success story, growing at double the rate of the overall UK economy between 2011 and 2019, with 400,000 additional jobs created since 2015. To make good, impactful policy decisions on how to support the creative industries and ensure the UK remains a world leader, we need robust evidence and independent advice. The Creative PEC is at the heart of these debates providing an impartial, reliable and challenging voice.”
Creative PEC director Hasan Bakhshi said:
“Over the past five years, the Creative PEC has helped bring about a step change in the quantity and quality of evidence available to inform policies for the creative industries. As well as publishing new research, we have embedded our researchers in the design, planning and implementation cycles of policies. In our next phase of work, our ambition is to work with our colleagues at Newcastle University and the RSA to undertake this ‘embedded knowledge exchange’ activity in both our northern and southern hubs.’”
The Creative PEC has provided evidence to inform policy on subjects as varied as R&D funding, creative skills education in schools and universities, the role the creative sector can play in tackling the climate emergency and how the creative industries can help narrow regional economic disparities, says the joint press statement .
Since its inception in 2018, it adds, Creative PEC has published a new independent research paper at a rate of one every month providing the data and evidence needed to support the creative sector.
The next phase of the PEC will build on its previous successes, growing the evidence base by addressing industry and government identified priorities and advancing research into the longer-term challenges and opportunities facing the sector. It will do this by producing its own new research, acting as a platform for policy-relevant research produced by otherss and engaging policymakers through embedding researchers in policymakers’ planning and design cycles.
Newcastle University pro-vice-chancellor for humanities and social sciences, Professor Nigel Harkness, said:
“As one of the consortium members for the first phase of the Creative Industries PEC we are delighted to be the host university for this vital second phase of the PEC’s work. We look forward to working closely with our partner organisations and the RSA to realise the significant benefits in the new dual-hub structure which connects London and the North East.
“The PEC will also draw on and enhance Newcastle University’s significant place-based policy expertise, developing partnerships with our Insights North East and Creative FUSE teams from its base in our Business School to inform policy for the creative industries over the next five years and beyond.”
Creative FUSE is a partnership between the North East’s five universities – Newcastle, Durham, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside – where academics work alongside industry, cultural organisations, charities and the public sector to explore how creative, digital and IT firms can have a sustainable future in the region, adding value to the region’s broader employment base.
Andy Haldane, chief executive of the RSA, said:
“We are delighted to be co-hosting the Creative PEC at this hugely important time for the sector and the economy. By combining the very best analysis and research, with the RSA’s on-the-ground programme of work, we believe we can realise the enormous potential of the creative industries to grow jobs and skills, income and exports, health and happiness, in communities right across the UK. The UK needs a creativity revolution and the PEC can be its centrepiece.”
In recognition of the growing availability of data in key areas of policy, over the next five years Creative PEC will introduce set piece UK-wide ‘State of the Nation’ reporting in each of four high level priority thematic areas led by the four organisations that will make up the research consortium: R&D, innovation and clusters (Sussex University); creative education, skills, talent (Work Advance); internationalisation (Newcastle University); and the arts, cultural & heritage sectors (University of Sheffield).
In addition, Creative PEC will convene a new multi-disciplinary network of researchers working on topics that are relevant for policies to support the creative industries. As well as sharing knowledge and insight, the research network will be commissioned throughout the lifetime of the award to undertake timely research to address industry and policymaker needs.
Newcastle University Professor of Macroeconomics, Giorgio Fazio, who will be the research director of the Creative PEC following its move said:
“Research in the next phase of the Creative PEC will be powered by a new research unit hosted at Newcastle University, a consortium delivering regular state of the nation reports incorporating both key trends commentary and ‘deep dives’ into emerging topics, and a large and diverse network of PEC research fellows. Our goal is to become the national and international reference point for research on policy for the creative industries.“