Posts Tagged ‘Clusters’

Attracting and retaining creative talent in medium-sized towns. The strategy in Barnsley, UK

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

barnsley3Attracting and retaining creative talent in Barnsley (partner in the URBACT project Creative Clusters in Low Density Areas) is set against a backdrop of a deprived post-mining economyt, with a small but emerging creative sector. Located inside the triangle Manchester-Sheffield-Leeds, in Northern England, regeneration investment in Barnsley has provided key venues for culture and creative industries locally but these have struggled to attract occupants and audiences and there is a clear need for more focused activity, building on from a current mapping exercise and strengthening this emergent economic sector by understanding its needs and the challenges it faces.

Sector development is already happening, and over the last few years a stronger connectivity across the sector has been helped by social media. This ‘conversation’ has enabled individuals in the sector to connect naturally, and the public sector to ‘tune in’ to what is going on, and contribute where appropriate. Key to this has been creating environments for discourse and allowing free use of this – both cost and restriction free! The sector has been able to stimulate its own informal skill sharing and networking via these platforms.

There is a need to animate the sector if it is to grow stronger and keep talent local. This includes animating the places and spaces that we have built with cultural and sector development focused events such as networking, and encouraging sector led ‘guerilla’ activity across all venues and places as well as programmed activity.

The networking programme gives access to speakers, ideas and spaces that wouldn’t usually be freely available and brings interested parties from outside of the area to experience first hand a positive event and atmosphere. The events also encourage a sense of ownership of the sector and its physical assets, which in turn builds confidence, pride and word of mouth promotion. High profile events developed locally but for a local, regional and national audience are also important – Northern Futures, Small World and Barcamp Barnsley present the town in a positive and proactive way.

To summarise, we are aiming to attract creatives with the animation of our spaces, and our openness to ideas, and retain them with a strong, supportive infrastructure and a sense of ownership. The sector is encouraged to have its own voice, be confident and connected, get on everyone’s radar and be a friend to many. It isn’t about just throwing money at the sector – providing an ecosystem to encourage creativity is fundamental.

Tracey Johnson –
Sector Specialist Creative and Digital Industries
Barnsley Development Agency – URBACT Partner

Creativity and Innovation in Europe

Monday, July 26th, 2010

creative1A few months after the presentation of the Green Paper on Cultural and Creative Industries the European debate has been more centred on innovation, rather than creativity. In a document produced for the European Commission Enterprise & Industry Directorate-General called “New Cluster Concepts Activities in Creative Industries” the core definition of creative industries is linked to art, music, culture, writing and fashion. This approach is mainly metropolitan-based.

The document also states a big difference between creativity and innovation: “Art and culture and most other creative industries are not driven by neither research, nor new solutions based on new knowledge from users; creative industries are basically taste-driven and most creative workers aspiration is to set new standards for users taste and choice”.

As appealing as this theory can be, for us, the two words are connected. We don’t have one without the other. In small and medium-sized urban areas the main difference is to have an integrated strategy connecting creativity, innovation, sustainability and education.
And that’s why Education was the subject of our last Creative Clusters project thematic workshop in Reggio Emilia. For the partners, it was the opportunity to learn with one of the world references. The degree of specialisation and educational development in Reggio Emilia is impressive, and the feeling from outside is that Reggio Emilia has the future guaranteed. Obviously, things are always most complicated, but one thing is for sure, Reggio has a huge advantage when competing with other places: Innovation.

Read more:

Miguel Silvestre
Creative Clusters Lead Partner

URBACT Creative Clusters in the European Forum on Cultural Industries in Barcelona

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

efciThe Portuguese city of Óbidos and INTELI–Intelligence in Innovation Centre, respectively Lead Partner and full partner of the URBACT network on Creative Clusters, were invited to attend the European Forum on Cultural Industries that took place in 29-30 March 2010, in Barcelona. The objective of the event was to discuss the importance of cultural industries within the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the European Union. There were also presented the general lines of the Green Paper on Cultural and Creative Industries.
The forum was structured around five key lines of discussion: the financing of the cultural industries; the professionals of the cultural industries (new skills derived from the digital mutation, training challenges, mobility of talent); internationalisation (local production in global markets, internationalisation and cooperation strategies); intellectual property and the management of rights; and spatial development (the role of cities as pro-active frameworks for local creative clusters).
The Mayor of Óbidos, Telmo Faria, presented a communication on the so-called Creative Óbidos strategy in the framework of the URBACT Creative Clusters Network in the session dedicated to “Culture in the European Local and Regional Development programmes”.
In the closing session the Ministers of Culture of Portugal, Spain, Finland, French Community of Belgium and the Minister of State of the Federal Chancellor, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media of Germany presented their views on the development of the European cultural industries. The European Commissioner for Education and Culture, Androulla Vassiliou, emphasised the excellent example of the Town of Óbidos in the framework of the development of culture and creativity-oriented policies.
The informal meeting of Ministers of Culture of the EU took take place after the Forum, on the 31st March 2010.

Catarina Selada – INTELI

Thematic workshop in Romania: Creative Clusters “Diversifying Local Economic Base and Opportunities to Young People”

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

logo-creativeThe thematic workshop Creative Clusters: diversifying local economic base and opportunities to young people will take place in Mizil, Romania (October 29-30, 2009), in the ambit of the URBACT Network “Creative Clusters in Low Density Urban Areas” that reunites 10 cities from all over Europe, in which Óbidos is the Lead Partner.

This event will be the first of a series of Thematic Workshops that will be organised during the next 2 years centred on the other themes addressed by the network: events and cultural agendas as catalysts; promoting the creative city: a new range of facilities and infrastructures; creative entrepreneurs and talented people: attraction and retaining; setting the basis: creative education environments at local levels.

Aside from the symposium, the signature of the Óbidos Charter – A Pact for Creativity by an additional number of Romanian councilmen who have become associated to the movement and objectives of the network will be an important moment of the event.
We recall that in the Óbidos Charter strategic orientations were defined and an action plan was put in place in what concerns the promotion of creativity in public policies at a European, regional and local level.

David Vieira

Welcome to the human technology city

Friday, July 31st, 2009


JyvaskylaURBACT Creative Clusters Network has recently been reinforced with the participation of Jyväskylä [130,000 inhabitants], a youthful, lively and international city located in Central Finland. The site of many education-related firsts in Finland, Jyväskylä is known as a “city of schools” hosting two Universities: the University of Jyväskylä and the JAMK University of Applied Sciences and a number of innovative cross-field research institutes. The city is also famous for its many buildings designed by Alvar Aalto and the home of the annual Jyväskylä Arts Festival.


As in the whole Country Jyväskylä is very active re-shaping mature industries and promoting new productive realities throughout knowledge, technology and creativity. This range embraces clusters such as Forest Industry Future, Bioenergy cluster, Nanotechnology, Ubiquitous computing, New generation machines and equipment, the EduCluster [on education activities], the so-called wellness sector on technologies around sports and health sciences, or tourism and experience management. The vision for the area is to build an innovation ecosystem setting people at the core: that is the meaning of the place-brand “the human technology city”.


Within the URBACT framework Jyväskylä is appearing as a benchmark in innovative learning systems, new cluster readings for urban economies; and innovative facilities and venues for creative industries and activities.

Miguel Rivas