The role of the university in enhancing creative clusters

29 September 2022

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Dr James Davies, 

Dr James Davies

Research Fellow, City-REDI, University of Birmingham

James Davies joined City-REDI in November 2021 as ...

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Dr Matt Lyons

Dr Matt Lyons

Research Fellow at City REDI, University of Birmingham

Matt Lyons is an economist specialising in sub-reg...

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Universities are important for driving growth in their local creative industries. At the same time, the creative industries is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, and in many places offers opportunities for creating new high quality jobs and developing local skills.

This paper explores the relationship between higher education institutions and the creative industries by comparing two different areas, the West Midlands Combined Authority and the Cardiff Capital Region.

The authors identify a significant skills shortage in both areas which is holding the creative industries, and the wider economy back. They also found that higher education is increasingly relied upon by national policy makers to improve skills in their regions, a role that was previously assigned to industry.

This over-reliance on higher education has put pressure on universities to deliver in many different areas, from innovation and R&D to upskilling the local workforce. With responsibility for higher education lying with the Department for Education, but business growth and innovation sitting within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, there is also fragmentation at the national policy level.

The authors conclude that higher education institutions are being ‘pulled in too many directions’, with more pressure coming from the ongoing fall out from Covid-19 and a post-Brexit shortage of skilled workers.


Thumbnail image by Korng Sok on Unsplash and hero image by Charlie Seaman on Unsplash