Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Creative industries clusters programme

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) launched the Creative Industries Clusters Programme in 2018. The £120 million investment continues to drive innovation and growth across the UK’s creative industries, to encourage a new type of applied research.

£120 million
2018 to 2023
Partners involved:
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Nesta, Creative Industries Federation, Creative England, British Film Institute, Tech Nation, University of Birmingham, Cardiff University, The University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, Work Foundation at Lancaster University, London School of Economics, The University of Manchester, Newcastle University, University of Sussex and Ulster University.

The scope and what we're doing

The programme is being funded by the UKRI Challenge Fund and delivered by AHRC on behalf of UKRI.

From screen industries and digital storytelling to fashion and video games, some of the UK’s best performing and world-renowned creative businesses are receiving a major boost thanks to the Creative Industries Clusters Programme.

The programme comprises nine research and development  partnerships based around clusters, and an independent Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre led by Nesta with partners:

  • Bristol and Bath Creative Research and Development
  • Business of Fashion, Textiles and Technology (Stratford, Thames Gateway, Lea Valley)
  • Clwstwr (Wales)
  • Creative Informatics (Edinburgh)
  • Future Fashion Factory (Leeds and nationwide)
  • Future Screens Northern Ireland
  • InGAME (Dundee)
  • StoryFutures (London and Home Counties)
  • XR Stories (York and Humber).

The programme brings together world-class research talent from across the UK in a first-of-its kind research and development investment. The funded projects will accelerate growth in a range of creative sectors including:

  • broadcast and screen industries
  • fashion textiles and technology
  • fashion design innovation
  • data and design
  • animation and video games
  • digital storytelling
  • creative audio visual.

Why we're doing it

The programme was funded in response to the UK government’s Industrial Strategy.

The aim of the programme is to create jobs and drive the creation of companies, products and experiences that can be marketed around the world, significantly contributing to UK economic growth both regionally and nationally.

Opportunities, support and resources available

Immersive storytelling development at the storyfutures academy

A new £10 million centre, the StoryFutures Academy will support the development of cutting-edge creative training and research programmes in immersive storytelling to build the UK creative talent pool. It will be part-funded through this programme.

The National Film and Television School and Royal Holloway University will run the centre, which will develop skills by offering experimental labs, workshops, placements and courses and support and co-fund 60 immersive productions with a focus on storytelling.

Creative industries policy and evidence centre

This vision of the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence centre is to provide independent research and authoritative recommendations to aid policy development for the UK’s creative industries, contributing to their continued success.

The centre will be led by Nesta and involve a consortium of UK universities, and other partners from the creative industries.

Keep up to date with Creative Industries Clusters

Keep up with Creative Industries Clusters opportunities at their news page.

Subscribe to the Creative Industries Clusters newsletter for details of latest events, calls for research, funding and grant opportunities and news on cluster projects and research.

Past projects, outcomes and impact

Last updated: 27 July 2023

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