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Insights and Inspiration from CDF Network

Plymouth Illuminate Festival
Plymouth Illuminate Festival

CDF Network case studies amongst those highlighted in Creative PEC guidance for Local Authorities

The Creative Industries Policy Evidence Centre (Creative PEC) has published a suite of resources designed for those working in Local Authorities (LAs) who are considering investing in their creative industries as part of the government’s Levelling Up agenda via the Shared Prosperity Fund. It can be used as a portal for accessing useful research and critical insights about the creative and cultural sector, with resources including:

CDF Network

The Creative PEC case studies include a number of projects connected with the Cultural Development Fund (CDF) Network projects in Creative Estuary, Wakefield and Plymouth, including:

Thames Estuary Production Corridor

The Thames Estuary Production Corridor initiative was highlighted as a high priority by the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission in its June 2018 report to Government. In January 2019 the Creative Estuary project was awarded £4.3m from DCMS, through the Cultural Development Fund to unlock long-term, transformational, culture-led growth and establish the region as a world-class creative hub, delivering across three main areas of activity from Southend to Margate:

  • Cultural programme and new commissions
  • Placemaking, new cultural infrastructure and new Planning policy
  • Skills, training and leadership programmes, with new models and routes into employment in the creative industries.

Emma Wilcox, Project Director, Creative Estuary said:

“Working across local government boundaries on a shared regional vision has been critical to our success and impact. Our work through Creative Estuary has demonstrated how an ambitious vision and strategic, place-based intervention, intended to make a long-term difference to the cultural and creative life of a community and its economic fortunes, can create a step change.”

CDF Network – Plymouth

Ten years after publication of its first Culture Strategy, Plymouth’s creative and cultural sector now accounts for nearly £70m of economic output per year and has secured more than £50m investment in the sector by outside funders in the last five years alone. This success has led to a renewal of the Plymouth Culture Plan for 2021-2030, which aims to develop a diverse and resilient creative and cultural sector to position it as “the driving force or economic and social prosperity in Plymouth.”

As one of the five first round Cultural Development Fund (CDF) projects which form the pilot CDF NetworkPlymouth secured £3.5m from DCMS, with a further £2.5m from funding partners, to deliver an ambitious programme of activity focused on delivering and supporting:

Production Park – Wakefield

Production Park is a Yorkshire based family-owned SME founded in 1991 specialising in production, technology and education for the live events industry. It has grown to become the largest cluster of live events businesses in Europe.

In 2005, Production Park built Europe’s first arena rehearsal studio in South Kirkby, Wakefield, now home to a thriving community of live events businesses and freelancers, with up to 700 people on site during busy production periods.

Skills and business development programmes delivered through Creative Wakefield for Wakefield Council as part of its Cultural Development Fund programme have helped to support jobs growth and career development initiatives in partnership with Production Park, including its Backstage Academy and XPLOR research and innovation centre.

Lee Brooks, Managing Director of Production Park, says: “What tends to be underestimated are the range of career options available in the creative sector and the varied markets we serve. The artists on the stage or the screen are the focal point of an enormous and complex operation with a huge range of demand for varied expertise and careers.”

Watch Jim Farmery of Production Park and Backstage Academy discussing their work with Wakefield Council through CDF at our panel discussion at Creative Coalition 2022, Creating Cultural Centres outside London, together with representatives from all of the CDF Network projects.

Supported by DCMS and Arts Council England

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