Grand coalition formed to create a ‘Northern Creative Corridor’ - RSA

Grand coalition formed to create a ‘Northern Creative Corridor’

Press release

  • Arts and culture
  • Community and place-based action
  • Social innovation

London, 14 November - Today local leaders across the North of England alongside some of the leading figures in the creative industries, have come together to commit to developing a “Northern Creative Corridor” (NCC).

The partnership is intended to unlock the huge potential of the creative industries across the North of England.  A background briefing paper written by Creative PEC sets out that potential, which could raise the Gross Value Added (GVA) economic output across the region by an additional £10 billion each year.

Our work will be supported by a charter, which sets out the areas where local and sector leaders will collaborate in developing the NCC, including skills, finance, innovation, and communication. 

There are 30 signatories of the charter, including the mayors in Liverpool, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and the North of Tyne, and sector leaders including Creative UK, North-East Screen, the N8 Research Partnership universities, and Ubisoft, plus the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.   


The Rt Hon Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: "From the grassroots music venues that launched The Beatles in Liverpool to today's cutting edge screen facilities in Yorkshire and Salford's MediaCityUK, our creative industries have always thrived in the North of England. We know great things happen when creative industries work together, and the Northern Creative Corridor is going to maximise the potential of these sectors so communities across the region can benefit from new opportunities and investment." 

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire Combined Authority said: “We are united in our shared ambition to level up our towns and cities by turbocharging our cultural offer in the North of England. The route to regeneration, well-paid jobs and happier communities lies in building better places, with creative opportunities for all at the heart of our plans for economic growth. I look forward to further collaboration across the North of England, as we unleash our full potential and drive more opportunities for creative talent to thrive.” 

Tim Davie, BBC Director-General said: “This Charter makes clear the huge scale of the economic opportunity on offer for the North. By coming together as a cross-sector coalition, we are committing to putting the full weight of the creative industries behind the Northern growth agenda – with jobs, skills, investment, and innovation as the prize. The BBC is determined to play its part to the full.” 

Syima Aslam, CEO & Artistic Director of the Bradford Literature Festival, said: “My hope for the future would be that we have a better understanding of each other across communities and we stop seeing the North as the poor cousin of the South. We need to understand that, to retain, strengthen and develop our economic position in the world.

We need a connected country rather than a divided country. We need a country where young people in the north and young people from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds have the same chances because that is what actually unlocks the potential for the country.” 

Andy Haldane, Chief Executive of the RSA said: “There are pockets of creative genius right across the North of England. But the potential to nurture and grow these pockets into a Northern creative supercluster, by working in pan-regional partnership, is simply enormous. Unlocking that huge potential, through practical action, is the purpose of putting together this grand coalition of leaders from the region and the creative industries.” 

Hasan Bakhshi, Director Creative PEC said: “All the evidence suggests that neighbouring creative clusters can work together in key areas like workforce skills and access to finance to supercharge growth in their creative industries. The North of England’s creative industries grew in real terms by around 23 per cent between 2010 and 2019 before the pandemic. However, despite the presence of creative hotspots like Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle, the creative industries still only contribute around 3 per cent of the north’s economy, compared with just under 10 per cent in London and the Southeast. This illustrates the huge scale of the opportunity.” 

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said: “From Hull to Liverpool, from Bolton to Berwick, from Leeds to Carlisle, and everywhere in between, the north of England is home to innovative artists, writers, performers and producers who have the power to imagine new possibilities and create new worlds that touch all our lives. The development of a Northern Creative Corridor, with this impressive charter as its backbone, has the potential to harness that creativity and to propel economic growth across the north, benefiting the UK as a whole”.

Signatories to the charter have committed to making the North of England ‘one of the best regions in the UK for creative industries to thrive’. 

Next steps will involve a series of workshops in January and February 2024, to bring together policy, business, education, and civil society stakeholders, including creative industries and arts, culture, and heritage practitioners.

New policy and practice interventions will be co-designed and stress-tested across skills, finance, and innovation, to help realise creative corridors in different parts of the UK.  

The results of this activity and progress towards making the Northern Creative Corridor a reality will be reported at the time of the Convention of the North in March 2024. 

A full list of the signatories to the charter is below. 

  • Syima Aslam MBE, Director and Founder, Bradford Literature Festival
  • Professor Hasan Bakhshi MBE, Director, Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre
  • Sir Peter Bazalgette, Co-chair, Creative Industries Council / Chair Royal College of Art
  • Mayor Tracy Brabin, Mayor, West York shire Combined Authority
  • Dr Annette Bramley, Director, N8 Research Partnership
  • Mayor Andy Burnham, Mayor, Greater Manchester Combined Authority
  • Dinah Caine CBE, Chair of Council, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Nicky Chance-Thompson MBE, CEO, Piece Hall
  • Mayor Oliver Coppard, Mayor, South Yorkshire Combined Authority
  • Tim Davie CBE, Director-General, BBC
  • Cat Drew, Chief Design Officer, Design Council
  • Mayor Jamie Driscoll, Mayor, North of Tyne Combined Authority
  • Alison Gwynn, Chief Executive, North East Screen
  • Andy Haldane CBE, Chief Executive, the RSA
  • Darren Henley CBE, CEO, Arts Council England 
  • Charlie Kemp, Head of Creative Place, Tees Valley Combined Authority
  • Dr Henry Kippin, Interim CEO, North East Mayoral Combined Authority
  • Sir Richard Lambert, Chair, Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Alex Mahon, CEO, Channel 4
  • Carolyn McCall DBE, Chief Executive, ITV
  • Lord Neil Mendoza, Chairman, Historic England
  • Johnny Moore, CEO, Fulwell 73 UK
  • Dave Moutrey OBE, CEO, HOME
  • Caroline Norbury OBE, CEO, Creative UK
  • Dr Peter O'Brien, Executive Director, Yorkshire Universities
  • Lisa Opie, Managing Director, Ubisoft Reflections and Ubisoft Leamington
  • Professor Jane Robinson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Engagement and Place, Newcastle University
  • Mayor Steve Rotheram, Mayor, Liverpool City Region
  • Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England
  • Professor Katy Shaw, Director of Cultural Partnerships, Northumbria University Newcastle

Creative corridors

Working with Creative PEC and Arts Council England the RSA is bringing together leaders across regions in the UK to grow the impact of the creative industries, and creativity in industry.

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