Young, dynamic and creative: the future of the West Midlands

We are one of the youngest and most diverse regions in Europe which offers us limitless opportunities. We are the home to one of Europe’s largest digital and creative clusters with Greater Birmingham recognised as the most entrepreneurial city outside London with over 32,000 new startups registered in the past 2 years.

Our creative industries will contribute to further development over the next 20 only if we capitalise on our unique selling points. To do this we need bold leadership that is not afraid to try out new ideas and back entrepreneurship. The Mayor needs to support the creation of integrated partnerships across the Combined Authority area pulling in public, private and education sectors to put in place an ambitious strategy to fuel the Creative Ecosystem of the region. The Creative Economy has the capability to add billions to our GVA using the innovation strengths of this sector to drive new solutions, inspire new opportunities and deliver new efficiencies.

We need a mayor who will unashamedly champion the region, create a voice for the sector so we are part of the national dialogue around the creative economy, we want to be part of the international delegations and visits and have to position ourselves to become the come to region for inspiration, innovation and advice ­ a trusted source and one of the world¹s most liveable cities by 2031.

Written for The People’s Plan.

New Thinking, Essential Change in the Creative Industries

I will be speaking at this conference on Thursday 16 June at Birmingham City University. Register for free at eventbrite.

An essential conference for creative, cultural and digital organisations of any size, put on by Creative City Partnership, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership with support from Birmingham City University.

  • Discover new money and ideas to help your creative organisation grow
  • Industry professionals discuss their challenges and tips for success
  • Have your say about what’s important to you. What’s holding you back?

Opportunities – Attendees will have access to current funding initiatives and will have a chance to influence future plans for sector support & growth.

Seminars on the Future of the BBC

With the BBC entering one of the most challenging periods it has ever faced, the Creative Industries Federation is holding three events to investigate the role of the Corporation in the creative industries and what any change in its scale and scope might mean for British cultural life in the future.

We want to hear from the diversity of our membership – from orchestras to video gamers and dancers to movie-makers and recording labels.

The aim is to gather evidence that will form part of a submission to the Government’s Green Paper review. There will be round-table discussions in Manchester and Birmingham followed by an event with an expert panel, and discussion from the floor, in London, kindly hosted by King’s College London. Members will be given priority.

Manchester – Wednesday September 9, 12-2pm
Birmingham – Monday September 14, 12-2pm
London – Wednesday September 23, 2pm-4pm

For full details and to register, click here.

You’re invited: Creative Birmingham | 30th September | The third in 2015 event series

Title: Talent Transformation – How to recruit and retain the best talent
When: Wednesday 30 September – 5.30pm for 6pm start to 8.30pm
Where: Birmingham City University, Top Floor, Curzon Building, 15 Bartholomew Row, Birmingham, B5 5JU
Event Chair: Michelle Wright – Co-Owner, Gough Bailey Wright

Speaker Panel: 
Noel Dunne – Director, Creative Alliance
Kate Bruges – Co-Director of Talent J. Walter Thompson
Ollie Purdom – Director, Pitch Consultants
Joel Blake – Consultant, Mentoring and CSR Specialist
Anjna Raheja – Managing Director, Media Moguls
Jaspal Sohal – Head of Games and Digital, Creative England

RSVP here

Bringing together the creative industries community in Birmingham, across the public and private sector.

Young and In Brum

Here are some messages from last year that are as relevant in 2015 as we grow the creative economy in Birmingham and the West Midlands region. Last year the Young and In Brum article in The Drum magazine highlighted our direction of travel and this year we really are gearing for a bigger growth in the creative economy.

The West Midlands is at the centre of a creative jobs boom with over 20,000 new roles in just three years 2011-2013.

  • 9% of regional GVA and growing
  • Creative Economy larger in employment terms than construction and primary industries
  • Digital industries are outperforming engineering, financial and business services 

This increase has been hailed as evidence that the region, traditionally known as a manufacturing heartland, is also able to attract and nurture creative firms, particularly those in the IT and computer software industries.

The number of jobs in the creative industries rose from 78,000 in 2011 to 94,000 in 2013 in the West Midlands, an increase of 20% over three years.

In the same period, the overall total number of jobs in the region rose by just 3% illustrating the key role creative industries can play in creating wealth and employment in the region.

The biggest rise was in IT, software and computer services, where employment shot up from 29,000 to 43,000, up by 48%.

There was also a significant increase in jobs in music, performing arts and visual arts, up from 10,000 to 12,000.

And the number of jobs in film, TV, video, radio and photography rose from 6,000 to 9,000.

Almost a quarter of the UKs Computer Games workforce is located in the region. We know about Codemaster, but what about “Team Football” who have an official contract with Fifa or “Flix Interaction”, they are helping this sector to grow and are putting us on the international stage. It is estimated that tax breaks on video games production launched last year will create more than 5,000 UK jobs but these jobs will not just fall into our region we have to find, nuture and grow new developers if we want to be in this particular game!

Other parts of the country have also seen an increase in creative jobs but the national rise is just 10% over three years compared to our 20%.