Over the last decade, the creative and digital sector has grown faster than the UK economy. By 2019, C&D accounted for 5.9% of total economy. As the sector grows and evolves, the need for a different kind of workplace and community emerges. One more suited to the creative businesses that occupy it.

These communities are creative hubs.

What is a creative hub?

Creative hubs come in all shapes and sizes. They are physical spaces, hives of offices, studios and co-working spaces. They’re used by creative businesses, freelancers, and creative networks, usually locally-based, but occasionally regional or national. Creative hubs form networks of creatives, providing opportunities for collaboration and change. A recent study by the British Council found ‘building communities’ and ‘enabling creativity’ were the core purposes for UK creative hubs.

Sometimes these hubs connect and cluster. Either in formal networks – like the Impact Hub, a network of co-working spaces, now present in almost 100 cities worldwide. Or, in more informal networks that share ideas and opportunities between networks. 

Local communities see the benefits of hubs, too. Hubs bring jobs, introduce new products and services, provide education and develop local talent. They make their local areas better places to live and work.

The study also found that hubs often align with UN Sustainable Development Goals such as: Good Health and Wellbeing (Goal 3), Quality Education (Goal 4) and Decent Work and Economic Growth (Goal 8). With hubs commonly naming creative, cultural, social and economic impact as key drivers, by their very nature they’re dedicated to supporting their local community to grow and thrive alongside them.

Liverpool’s place in the UK Creative economy

Liverpool is considered to be one of the UK’s strongest creative and digital clusters, particularly for games and creative media content. The region is a model for technology and is home to the only SME-led eHealth cluster in the UK. Liverpool’s creative and digital sector has grown 55% since 2009, outpacing the 17% national growth of the sector. Producing over £2.2bn in the City Region in 2019, the creative and digital sector is a vital part of Liverpool’s economy.

As the sector grows, so does the number of jobs they create. It is innovative by nature, creating new types of work and pushing boundaries. These are the jobs of the future, and they are growing rapidly.

It’s no coincidence that Baltic Creative opened its doors at the beginning of this growth period in 2010, providing affordable workspaces and business incubation. Baltic Creative turned run-down warehouses in an underused part of the city into a vibrant creative hub, now home to over 180 creative and digital businesses. This regeneration was a catalyst to Baltic Triangle becoming the heart of Liverpool’s creative scene.

Post-COVID, the flexible, community-focused approach of hubs may represent a new way of working. With more remote workers than ever before, hubs offer spaces and networking opportunities those without traditional office settings may need. With economists predicting a steady recovery for the sector, hubs will continue to provide the spaces and networks for creative businesses to thrive.

Creative Hubs Connect

Baltic Creative has partnered with the Creative Hubs for Good programme to be key drivers for good across the region. The partnership includes Mereka Connect, an organisation in Malaysia, who developed the platform alongside five other Southeast Asian (SEA) countries. Facilitated by the British Council, the partnership connects Liverpool City Region’s digital and creative organisations with businesses in SEA, creating opportunities for trade, learning and collaboration. 

Sign-up here to join the platform and start connecting!

Copy and research provided by Wordscape.