Regional Createch Clusters: Unleashing Opportunities and Tackling Challenges

2nd June 2023
3.00 – 5.00 PM UK Time
Online via Zoom

Webinar Video Recording

Organised by The Centre for Sustainable Design (®) at the University for the Creative Arts in partnership with Trevor Davis & Associates Ltd


In today’s rapidly evolving world, the integration of technology into all aspects of the Creative Industries and Cultural Economy has given rise to a new wave of high-growth businesses known as Createch. Professor Christopher Smith, Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK, in the introduction to the 2023 UK Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre State of Creativity report, defines Createch as the “special combination of creativity and technology in creative industry sectors”. Examples include businesses offering specialised generative artificial intelligence tools for TV, film and game development studios, and organisations creating immersive virtual reality experiences for the audiences of tomorrow.

The profile of Createch is rising quickly. Internationally, this intersection of creativity and technology presents a unique opportunity to drive regional economic growth and innovation. Previous UCA research shows how £1bn of Venture Capital investment flowed into UK Createch in 2020 alone, and how Createch is likely to continue with double-digit growth to deliver a UK Gross Value-Add (GVA) of over £225bn by 2030.

The latest research from UCA, Createch Surrey, takes a regional perspective looking at Createch in the UK county of Surrey. Surrey is located in the South East of England, and has both large rural and built-up areas.  Surrey is also home to an established games cluster, and there are many TV and film production facilities near the region too. Significantly, UCA research shows that Createch businesses are spread across the region, not just concentrated where the existing gaming businesses are. Hence, nurturing a Createch cluster brings economic and placemaking benefits in all parts of the county.

Although there are challenges with obtaining accurate data on the economic performance of Createchs, UCA research suggests that the 2019 Gross Value Add (GVA) for Createch and the supporting ecosystem in Surrey was £2.6bn, about 6% of the Surrey GVA (£46bn). For comparison, the GVA for film and TV in Surrey in 2019 was £4.3bn and game publishing was £1.2bn (excluding retail sales). Perhaps more significant than the absolute GVA figure is that Createch has been consistently delivering double digit growth rates for the last five years and looks set to accelerate going forward as market demand for tools to support virtual production, digital fashion, immersive gaming, and such increases.

Target Audience

The webinar is focused on the opportunities and challenges involved in establishing and growing regional Createch clusters. As such it is targeted at business leaders, regional and national policymakers, and investors interested in cluster development in the Cultural Economy and Creative Industries. The webinar will be suitable for those that have limited experience of Createch.

Event Objectives

To present the findings of the latest UCA research into Createch that highlights opportunities and challenges for business incubation and growth, regional economic development, and placemaking associated with Createch clusters. The event will share lessons learnt and best practice examples from the keynote speakers. In addition, the event will provide excellent networking opportunities for existing Createch clusters or those that are considering establishing a regional cluster.


The webinar is co-chaired by:
Professor Martin Charter, DirectorThe Centre for Sustainable Design (®)Business School for the Creative IndustriesUniversity for the Creative Arts (UCA)
Trevor Davis, Managing Director, Trevor Davis & Associates Ltd

15.00 Welcome
Professor Martin Charter, Director, The Centre for Sustainable Design ®, UCA

15.10 Overview of latest UCA research
Professor Martin Charter, Director, The Centre for Sustainable Design ®, UCA
Trevor Davis, Managing Director, Trevor Davis & Associates Ltd


15:40 The Potential of Regional Createch Clusters: Economic Growth and Innovation
Dan Murray, Head of Economy and Growth, Surrey County Council

15:50  Building a Regional Collaborative Ecosystem
Frederic Degouzon, Director, Strategy & R&D, L’Ecole de Design Nantes Atantique 

16.00  Role of Regional Policy
Charles Freeman, Consultant and Associate, Southern Policy Centre

16.10 The Entrepreneur’s Perspective
Nick Inoue, CEO, GroundWaves

16:20 Panel discussion moderated by Professor Martin Charter & Trevor Davis

16.50 Summing up and next actions

17.00 Close

** The programme may be subject to change


Createch entrepreneurs, Createch founders and CEOS, investors in the Creative Industries, stakeholders in the UK Creative Industries (local government, LEPs, central government departments, the Creative Industries Council, UKRI, academia), anyone with an interest in the intersection of creativity and technology


The event is free of charge but please email your name, affiliation, and position to Ros

Further information

For more information contact:
Ros Carruthers
The Centre for Sustainable Design ®
Business School for the Creative Industries
+44 (0) 1252 892772


This research is funded by UKRI via an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) grant awarded to UCA. UK Research and Innovation is a public body funded by the UK government.