Geographies of Creativity

06 December 2023

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Dr Josh Siepel, 

Dr Josh Siepel

Senior Lecturer in the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex Business School

Josh Siepel is Senior Lecturer at the Science Poli...

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Dr Alejandro Ramirez-Guerra, 

Dr Alejandro Ramirez-Guerra

Research Associate at Newcastle University Business School

Alejandro is a Research Associate in the research ...

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Dr Sawan Rathi

Dr Sawan Rathi

Research Fellow in the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex Business School

Dr Sawan Rathi is working as a Research Fellow (Po...

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A Creative PEC State of the Nations report

Place matters when it comes to creativity.

Where do creative clusters arise and what can policymakers do to optimise intervention? This first report in our new State of the Nations series explores three different levels of the UK’s creative industries geography: microclusters, clusters, and corridors.

The research shines a light on the role of microclusters in the creative industries, and explains why creative clusters are good targets for intervention and investment, and a key engine for economic growth in the UK.

Nearly 70% of all the UK’s creative industries’ gross value added (GVA) is concentrated in London and the South-East. This constitutes a ‘supercluster’ with considerable benefits for the UK economy; attracting talent, investment, infrastructure, supporting knowledge exchange and fuelling economic growth. The new research identifies seven broad areas - ‘creative corridors’ - within the UK which have the potential to bring supercluster style benefits.

The findings are based on the latest available data sets, that uncover new evidence on the UK's creative clusters, from updated mapping of microclusters to experimental analysis on identifying creative corridors. They build on the Creative PEC’s extensive research in this area, in reports like Creative Radar, which mapped business activity and identified creative clusters.

Watch the recording of the launch event

We held an online event to launch the report. The lead author Dr Josh Siepel (University of Sussex and Creative PEC Research Consortium Partner for R&D, Innovation and Clusters) discussed the findings with an expert panel of industry and policy leaders working in the creative sector. The panel was made up of: Syima Aslam from Bradford Literature Festival, Dr Jen Ballie from V&A Dundee, Lauren Lucas from the Local Government Association, and Professor Sara Pepper from Cardiff University.

Watch the recording of the event on the Creative PEC YouTube channel.

State of the Nations

The report is the first in the Creative PEC’s new ‘State of the Nations’ series, which uses the latest data to inform policymakers on how best to support the creative sector across four thematic areas. Regular reports on each area will be published annually over the five years of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funding period. The forthcoming reports will be launched as follows:

  • Clusters (Sussex University) December 2023 – this report
  • Internationalisation (Newcastle University) March 2024
  • Arts, Culture and Heritage Sectors (Sheffield University) April 2024
  • Education, Skills and Talent (Work Advance) June 2024
About the authors and acknowledgements

The report’s lead author is Dr Josh Siepel (University of Sussex and the Creative PEC) alongside Dr Alejandro Ramirez-Guerra (Newcastle University and the Creative PEC) and Dr Sawan Rathi (University of Sussex)

The report was designed by Mike Green at Green Doe. Thanks to Creative PEC policy, operations and communications teams for editing, proofing and other support.

PEC State of the Nations Geography Insta 1080x608


Publication reference numbers
DOI : 10.5281 zenodo.10245530


Report design by Mike Green/Green Doe Ltd

Hero image by Benjamin Elliott on Unsplash