Creative industries innovation in seaside resorts and country towns

01 September 2022

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Lucy McFadzean, 

Lucy McFadzean

Research Associate at The University of Exeter

Gabriella Giannachi, 

Gabriella Giannachi

Professor in Performance and New Media and the University of Exeter

Joanne Evans

Joanne Evans

Impact and Partnership Development Manager - Creative Industries at the University of Exeter

Read our four page policy brief for key recommendations based on this research:

Insights for Policymakers: Creative Industries Innovation in Seaside Resorts and Country Towns


The creative industries in Devon and Cornwall have proven themselves to be agile and resilient during the Covid-19 pandemic. The creative SMEs included in this study were often relatively small, and had diverse portfolios, meaning they were quickly able to adapt to changing working conditions.

In addition to this, changing working practices as a result of the pandemic largely benefitted those rural and dispersed creative SMEs we spoke with. In particular, the increased ease with working remotely and online, opened creative SMEs in Devon and Cornwall to new clients, talent and creative opportunities.

However, the creative industries in Devon and Cornwall, like many other rural UK areas, are according to the report authors in need of investment in infrastructure in order that they might scale-up, innovate and grow. This report has been a part of making the case for increased investment that recognises the distinctive position of geographically dispersed, rural creative industries SMEs in the UK, who face unique challenges to their growth and innovation. The report also points to the need for more support for such regions in terms of access to skills, transport links and coordinated Creative Industry networks.

This research was commissioned by the AHRC- funded Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) from the The Centre for Intermedia and Creative Technology (CICT) at University of Exeter.

Photo by Benjamin Elliot via Unsplash