Creative Hubs: Understanding the New Economy

British Council

A dynamic ecosystem of creative spaces and communities has developed over the last 10 years. They are guiding and supporting thousands of creative ventures, but are still largely misunderstood and often undervalued. The word ‘hub’ has become a universal but slippery term to label centres of creative enterprise, representing many different shapes, sizes and agendas.

This report concerns the creative hub, an idea that is commonly associated with other terms such as the creative city and the creative economy. Our aim in this report is to sift the hyperbole and slippery usage of the term ‘creative hub’ (and similar but different terms such as creative quarter, creative district, etc.) and refocus those tasked with making hubs successful operations. We review the history and usage of the idea of the hub, and the particularity of the UK experience, and consider which aspects of this could be translated into other settings; and crucially, which should not. However, we caution against a one-sizefits-all approach to creative hubs, especially one that may seek to generalise from what are particular, albeit enlightening, UK experiences.