AHRC Creative Communities Programme launches at Northumbria University

The AHRC Creative Communities research programme is a £1.5million UKRI investment into cultural partnership research, the future of cultural recovery and levelling up across the UK.

Directed by Katy Shaw, Professor of 21st Century Writings and Director of Cultural Partnerships at Northumbria University, the Creative Communities research programme will explore how culture can address regional inequality and help level up the UK. The programme will carry out significant outward-facing research and engagement work to profile case studies of exemplary co-creation and partnership working across all nations and regions of the UK.

A creative community describes a group of people who come together around a shared challenge or theme to create, act and share, or a concentration of creatives operating in a shared locale. Creative communities operate on relationships of trust, shared goals and objectives and generate spill-over benefits for people and communities. By identifying, responding to, and articulating their own needs, creative communities use partnership working to open up opportunity.

Across the first year of activity, the Creative Communities programme will aim to capture for the first time an account of the innovation ecosystems operating across our regions and nations. It will consider how, where and with what effect these can be scaled, shared or supported to engage the public with research through new methods of stakeholder working and community led insight gathering. Culminating in a deep dive report launching May 2023, we will profile examples of good practice and make recommendations that will highlight the cross-council reach of our research and aspiration as a funder of the future.

Creative Communities will build on the policy-facing work done by AHRC Boundless Creativity, which explored themes of innovation and R&D in shaping the growth, recovery and renewal of creative industries in the UK, and other projects and centres.

Director Katy Shaw said about the programme launch

“The decision to base the programme here at Northumbria is testament to our sector-leading reputation in partnership working. Collaboration in teaching and learning, research and impact, knowledge exchange and public engagement is a stylistic trait of how we take on the challenges of tomorrow at Northumbria University.

We are delighted that UKRI and AHRC are joining us in realising that vision through the Creative Communities programme. I look forward to working with a diverse range of creatives, audiences and organisations across the regions and nations of our United Kingdom in the months ahead.”

Prof Andrew Wathey CBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at Northumbria University, said:

“The creative communities programme is a vital recognition of the role that the arts and humanities can play in enabling the creative economy.

Creativity and Culture are not just important in building economic recovery, they are vital for our national wellbeing. The pandemic, and the lockdowns we all endured to combat it, have taught us again the true value of arts and culture in our lives, and in defining what it means to be human.”

Creative Communities is one of five major AHRC programmes launched across 2021-2022. There is more information about the programme across our website, but you can start with the about section.


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