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Summer School 2010: What Will I Learn?

The Creative Clusters Summer School 2010 focuses on three areas of learning.

    Creative entrepreneurship. Understanding the needs of small businesses in the creative economy

    Managed workspaces. In-depth insight into the planning, development and operation of workspaces for creative enterprise. We visit a wide range of projects: from dedicated high-spec new build to ‘walk-to-work’ conversions for local enterprise. We consider office, retail, residential and community uses, and we look at social as well as commercial funding models.

    Reframing the narrative in hard-pressed areas. In today’s ruthless economic environment, places that get left behind will stay behind unless the story about them changes radically. We visit former industrial sites that have completely reinvented themselves, and participate in the place-making process in areas that are just starting to face up to these challenges.

When money is hard to find, economic development depends on deploying two key resources: under-used property, and the creative energy of local people. The Creative Clusters Summer School shows how this can be achieved.

Creative Entrepreneurship

The key to developing a local creative economy lies in identifying and supporting creative entrepreneurs. But businesses that trade in creative goods and services often have a profile that is hard for government and investors to recognise, and their needs can be very different from those that trade in physical goods. And it is often not apparent how traditional businesses can take advantage of the new opportunities offered by the creative economy.

The School will visit creative entrepreneurs in their workspaces, and, in small focus-groups, discuss their practical business needs. We will go on to discuss with experienced business mentors what public-sector interventions are most effective in supporting the next generation of creative businesses.When high-street occupancy rates are dropping to levels not seen for thirty years, we look at strategies to support small-scale creative retailers. And we examine development opportunities within Britain’s Asian communities.

    Platforms to market: sales and exports.
    Setting up and managing entrepreneur networks.
    Skills: developing the talent pool.
    Connecting the creative industries and other businesses.
    Finance: picking winners or creating the environment for success?
    The creative high street: support for arts and design retailers.
    The British Asian creative economy: building investment and entrepreneurship in minority communities.

Managed Workspaces


Managed workspaces have proved to be a highly effective way of supporting creative enterprises, helping to retain talent and providing a focus for the local creative economy. We look at how regeneration professionals can take advantage of the stagnant property market to provide low-cost affordable workspace.

Some of the UK’s first and most advanced workspace projects are based in Yorkshire, and we will be visiting a range of them.

The School focuses on practical development issues:

    Core components: offices, retail, live-work.
    Tenancy policy: who should be included?
    Tenant services: what to provide?
    Ownership and management structures.
    The role of the workspace manager.
    Workspace animation and connecting with the community.

The Creative Clusters Summer School will de-mystify the cluster concept and demonstrate practical,
low-cost measures to support the local creative economy.

Reframing the Narrative

In the fiercely competitive global stage on which all places now compete, success will only go to those that inspire loyalty and commitment, places with a culture of innovation, openness and collaboration.Workspaces, incubators and other entrepreneur support programmes will not on their own guarantee a creative economy. It is critical that they operate in the right local and regional context.

But how can this be kick-started? Small towns are finding it particularly hard to catch up: a couple of bad stories in the press and suddenly a town can be labelled a failure for a generation. We examine how rennaissance towns and comeback cities can start telling a new story about themselves.

    Huddersfield: a ‘small town with big ideas’ – once the centre of the world wool trade, now
    rebuilding itself around services and new media. Civic and business leaders give us their inside story.

    Sheffield: replacing coal and steel with creative and digital industries. We tour the world’s first
    Cultural Industries Quarter, including the state-of-the art Electric Works, with the key players behind it.

    Dewsbury: an ancient market town and wealthy textile manufacturer. We meet the planning team and community leaders who are confronting some unique image challenges, as they unveil their twenty year master-plan.

    Saltaire: from abandoned mills to UNESCO World Heritage site, specialising in arts and design retailing. We meet the entrepreneurs and activists who are driving change.