Why Regional Creative Corridors Would Power Up the UK’s Creative Sector

7 March 2024 | 6 min read

Author: Rob Quinn, CEO



The latest report from Newcastle University’s Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre – Geographies of Creativity, published in December 2023 – offers food for thought.


The paper provides a comprehensive overview of the UK’s creative industries, focusing on geographical distribution and presenting new data. It also identifies key areas with high creative sector growth potential and draws attention to the emerging importance of smaller creative microclusters.


Creative Corridors
Central to the study is the concept of ‘creative corridors’, envisioned as interconnected regions fostering growth and collaboration in creative industries. One of the report’s most promising ideas is a Northern Creative Corridor, highlighted as a promising initiative aligned with the UK’s broader ‘Northern Powerhouse’ ambition.


A Win-Win for the Creative Sector
The idea of a Northern Creative Corridor is a cohesive and cooperative creative network across the North of England. The report suggests that such a corridor – and others like them across different parts of Britain – could leverage each area’s distinct cultural assets and economic capabilities, address regional imbalances and unlock creative potential. Achieving these goals would be a win-win for the UK’s creative sector as a whole.


A £10bn Boost by 2030
The economic and cultural potential of creative corridors is substantial. Taking the idea of a Northern Creative Corridor as an example, the report states: “If the creative industries’ 3% contribution to gross value added (GVA) in the North were to rise to be half of London and the South East’s 10% share of GVA, it might lead to a GVA boost of £10 billion by 2030.”


Beyond economic uplift, creative corridors would spur innovation, attract investment and generate employment, establishing different areas as hubs of creative excellence. They also present a collaborative opportunity for businesses, governments and educational institutions to drive a new wave of innovative and economic dynamism into different regions.


Encouraging Signs
The report suggests that the omens for a Northern Creative Corridor are particularly promising. It states: “When comparing Northern creative businesses to those based in London, it turns out that London’s creative businesses are, on average, much more likely to report sourcing new ideas from other London businesses than from businesses anywhere else in the UK. In contrast, Northern businesses appear more likely to get their ideas from the rest of the UK – with regard to ideas from local sources, they are similar to the national average. This is auspicious from the perspective of building a creative corridor in the North, as it indicates an openness to ideas on the part of its creative industry companies, which is conducive to greater regional coordination.”


Fulwell73 boosts Sunderland 
The positivity is reinforced by the recent announcement by leading TV production company Fulwell 73 (Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, The Kardashians, One Direction, Michael Mcintyre, Jack Whitehall, and Elton John have all made shows with Fulwell). Fulwell recently announced that it would launch one of Europe’s largest filmmaking complexes in Sunderland in partnership with Cain International, creating 8,450 jobs across the North East over the next decade. Sunderland city leaders have described the plans as “the single most significant development announcement to come out of the North East in decades”. 


The Geographies of Creativity report focuses on the current landscape of the UK’s creative industries and reveals the transformative potential of geographic clusters, particularly that of a Northern Creative Corridor. As beacons for economic and cultural development, such creative hotspots could be pivotal in enhancing the UK’s creative and economic narrative. So, let’s hope these creative clusters continue to thrive and develop. We’ll be supporting their development however and whenever we can.

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Julian Davies

Julian Davies

Managing Partner at Redfin

Managing partner and Chartered Accountant with 30+ years of experience in marketing, media, and creative industries. He leads the Redfin team, offering expert advice on growth and profitability. Former owner manager of an agency acquired by a listed group; his industry insights are second to none. Off duty, you might find him on the golf or tennis court, determined to master new tricks.
Shelley Watkin

Shelley Watkin

Client Finance Director at Redfin

A qualified Chartered Accountant with 20+ years of experience in the marketing services sector. During her 5+ years at Redfin, she served as Client Finance Director offering invaluable insights into strategic and commercial matters. Shelley has also assumed the role of Finance Director for various creative agencies, guiding them through successful sales processes. If she gets free time after managing her children’s busy schedules, she likes to chill out doing yoga and gardening.