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A tale of two cities

17 November 2015

Dick Penny

The director of one of the UK’s most successful cultural centres will today (17 Nov) share his insights on how Cardiff can best develop its creative economy and how collaborations with Bristol could help amplify the two cities’ profiles.

Dick Penny, director of the Watershed in Bristol – widely regarded as a leading digital creativity centre - will address an audience at an event hosted by Cardiff University’s newly-launched Creative Cardiff network.

He’ll share his insights on how Bristol has positioned itself as one of the UK’s most cutting-edge cities, with a thriving creative sector, a reputation for seizing the digital opportunity, and an international profile both culturally and commercially.

Hosted in an historic Grade II listed building at the gateway to Bristol's Harbourside, the Watershed has become a unique cultural and creative economy hub for the Bristol city region. Its role as a ‘connector’ for different industries across the whole city, and its strong networks amplified through diverse cultural programmes, have helped cement it as a leading centre for innovation and collaboration.

Speaking ahead of his talk, Dick Penny said: “Bristol and Cardiff have many things in common but they are not the same. They have different, often competing histories, but if there is something to learn from my experiences in Bristol it is that we are both small cities. This is great in terms of liveability but not so good when you are trying to create profile in the shadow of the behemoth that is London.

“A few years ago I listened to a presentation about city regions in Europe - one example was Copenhagen - Malmo. Two cities in different countries, linked by a bridge. So the challenge here is what can Bristol and Cardiff do together that benefits us both?”

Sara Pepper, Director of Creative Economy at Cardiff University, said: “Having just launched the Creative Cardiff network, it’s an apt time to be welcoming Dick to Cardiff to help unpack the ecology of Bristol’s creative landscape and look at how we can learn from the Bristol experience.

“The audience of creators, freelancers, innovators and decision-makers from industries spanning arts to technology will be quick to quiz him on what Cardiff should be doing to cement itself as a thriving creative scene, and how we can foster the same spirit of open collaboration which marks Bristol out as a unique centre of creativity.”