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Funding boost for creative industries in three areas of South Wales

18 July 2023

Woman with harp looks to the distance with river in the background.
Rhondda Cynon Taf-based harpist, actor and singer, Bethan Nia. Credit: Kirsten McTernan

Creatives in three local authorities are to benefit from funding which aims to nurture local talent and extend the benefits of Cardiff’s creative cluster across the region.

Cardiff University’s Centre for the Creative Economy is working in partnership with Newport, Monmouthshire and Rhondda Cynon Taf local authorities on a new Creative Industries Cluster Hubs project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

It is hoped the three pilot hubs will drive investment and extend the benefits of Cardiff’s thriving creative industries across the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR). While specific plans are being finalised, these could include opening physical spaces where creatives can collaborate, initiatives to develop local skills, networking opportunities and investment in new research and innovation.

This latest project builds on the legacy of Cardiff University’s Clwstwr project. Clwstwr was a research and development programme to embed innovation in the media sector in South Wales. From 2018-23, Clwstwr funded 118 R&D projects with industry creating new products, services and experiences for the screen and news sectors.

Jess Mahoney, Head of Creative Cardiff, said: “Since 2015, Creative Cardiff has worked to tell the story of Cardiff's creative sector, bringing together artists and innovators for collaboration and connection, and helping define the cultural identity of the city. Creative Industries Cluster Hubs will build on this work, helping to extend the reach and impact of the city's thriving creative cluster. This will connect new talent with future opportunities and shine a light on the  creative practitioners and enterprises active in communities all across the Cardiff Capital Region.”

Rhondda Cynon Taf Councillor Bob Harris, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities, said: We recognise the importance of the creative industries to the regeneration of the county borough and are looking forward to strengthening our offer for local creative talent.This work will include developing our partnership with the University of South Wales to provide creative businesses with the skills they require to take advantage of sector opportunities within the Cardiff Capital Region.”

Councillor Jane Mudd, Leader of Newport City Council, said: “Newport has a thriving cultural scene with some incredibly talented and creative people working in a range of fields including art, music and theatre. I’m delighted that the city is set to benefit from pilot funding for a creative hub. The idea of bringing creative individuals together and opening up new opportunities is very exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing this promising project in action.”

Monmouthshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Inclusive and Active Communities, Councillor Sara Burch said: “Monmouthshire has a rich and talented creative community and Monmouthshire County Council is keen to develop the existing networks and opportunities for the creative economy. It is important to ensure there is space for meaningful conversations with the sector, so we can develop a clear vision and collective purpose for the future. The cluster pilot project is a welcome opportunity for us to create the conditions for the creative economy in South Wales to grow.”

Rhondda Cynon Taf-based harpist, actor and singer, Bethan Nia said: “I believe it is very important that wherever you live you have the same opportunities and are able to work as an artist in your own area. That you have the same opportunities to perform and exhibit and to have a career in the place you choose to live, and that is why this project is so important.”

The project will be delivered between now and December, with project evaluation undertaken by February 2024.

Cardiff University's Centre for the Creative Economy creates a space for much-needed research and engagement projects focused on the creative industries in Wales. Within the Centre, three specific programmes of work are being delivered: Creative Cardiff, established in 2014;  Clwstwr (2018 - 2023) and Media Cymru (2022 - 2026).

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