Creative Economy Research

The United Kingdom's (UK) Creative Economy, which embraces the creative industries and the cultural sector, is a dynamic and vital part of the UK’s economy.

The sector ranges from major corporations to small and micro enterprises. It is increasingly clear, however that the arts and humanities are a vital element of the Creative Economy, bringing further creativity, insight and knowledge to a sector as rich and varied as it is successful and innovative.

In January 2017, AHRC appointed Professor Andrew Chitty as its first Creative Economy Champion who is working to foster new and exciting partnerships between academics and the rapidly growing creative industry. You can find out more on his Creative Economy Programme website

In March 2018 it was announced that more than £150 million will be jointly invested by government and industry to help the country’s world-leading cultural and creative businesses thrive as part of landmark Creative Industries Sector Deal.

UK creative industries - value
The Gross Value Added (GVA) of the UK creative industries was provisionally estimated at £91.8 billion in 2016, equivalent to almost £10.5 million for every hour. Since 2015, the GVA of the creative industries has increased by 7.6%. Between 2010 and 2016, GVA rose by 44.8% in the creative industries, compared to 22.7% in the economy as a whole during the same period. Updated: November 2017. Copyright: Creative Industries Council

The AHRC supports research and knowledge exchange in the creative economy, including:

  • The Creative Industries Clusters Programme
    Funded through the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), the £80 million programme will support 9 Research and Development (R&D) Partnerships between industry and groups of universities to respond to challenges identified by the creative industries in their cluster.
  • UK-China Collaborations in the Creative Industries
    The Creative Economy is of central and increasing importance to prosperity and growth in both the UK and China and a major opportunity exists to build a new era of collaborative research and innovation partnerships in the field.
  • Immersive Experiences
    The AHRC and the EPSRC are funding 32 new research projects exploring the future of Immersive experiences. They range from using VR to recreate the benefits of outdoor group singing, to exploring new immersive Circus experiences and allowing museum goers to virtually peruse priceless ancient texts that would otherwise be off limits
  • Creative Fuse North East
    This major project explores how the creative, digital and IT (CDIT) sector in the North East can be developed in order to play a leading role in the region’s economy.

During the last spending period (2011-2015), the AHRC spent circa £100 million on research related to creative economy interests.

Previous support included:

We made a short film about the AHRC Creative Economy Showcase in March 2014. The purpose of the event was to raise the profile of the UK’s creative and cultural sector and highlight its contribution to growth and innovation within the UK economy. The event brought the key players together to discuss the overarching challenges and future priorities. Watch the video below.