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16 August 2011
Cardiff is part of a prestigious new Knowledge Exchange Hub for the Creative Economy, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council that will drive forward creative and digital innovation and bring benefits to education, society and business.
In partnership with the University of the West of England (UWE), the universities of Bristol, Exeter and Bath, as well as Bristol’s Watershed and a wide range of creative industry partners, Cardiff will become part of the new Research and Enterprise in Arts and Creative Technologies Hub (REACT) for Bristol, the South West of England and South Wales.
In total four new hubs were announced by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and represent an investment of some £16M over four years. The Hubs will have the task of building new partnerships and entrepreneurial capacity in the creative economy and increasing the number of arts and humanities researchers actively engaged in research-based knowledge exchange.
Professor Ian Hargreaves, Chair of Digital Economy in the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and Cardiff Business School will lead the Cardiff team’s involvement. Last year Professor Hargreaves completed a review of creative industries in Wales for the Welsh Government publishing the report The Heart of Digital Wales. Recently he led an independent review of intellectual property, announced by Prime Minister David Cameron, and his report Digital Opportunity was published in May 2011.
Speaking about the new REACT Hub, Professor Hargreaves said: "This is an outstanding result for Cardiff, our partner universities and businesses in the South-West and Wales. The work undertaken by the Hub will have a direct impact on the creative economy and deliver substantial benefits for businesses and education."
The REACT Hub will be directed by Professor Jonathan Dovey of UWE’s Digital Cultures Research Centre and based in Watershed's Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol. Welsh partners in the project include Chapter, Welsh National Opera and the Do Lectures, an organisation based in Cardigan.
Other Hubs will be led by the University of Lancaster, the University of Dundee and Queen Mary, University of London. The UK’s creative economy – which includes the creative industries as well as museums, galleries, libraries, orchestras and theatres – is, relative to GDP, probably the largest creative sector in the world. As the major focus of AHRC’s new knowledge exchange and impact strategy for 2011-2015, the Hubs will encourage significant interactions between research and the Creative Economy which will generate wider social, economic and cultural benefits.
Chief Executive Officer of the AHRC, and chair of the assessment panel which made the awards, Professor Rick Rylance said: "The UK is outstanding at many things and leads the world in some. Of these the quality and innovation of our research and the dynamism of our creative economy are two that stand out. These AHRC Creative Economy Hubs offer the opportunity to unite these sectors to the benefit of both sides and the country as a whole. The successful consortia emerged from an exceptionally strong field. We congratulate them; look forward to working closely with them over the next four years; and to welcoming the results of their work."
David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science said: "Interaction between businesses and universities is crucial for driving growth. It enables businesses and organisations to benefit from our world-class research base, gaining new knowledge and ideas. This major investment will not only enrich the creative industries but is also a vote of confidence in the excellent arts and humanities research at our higher education institutions."
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