Creative Industries 

The creative sector is a key part of the West Midland’s economy with 10% of the UK games industry and substantial strengths in Advertising, Marketing & Design.

Creative Industries in our area

Greater Birmingham has a large, growing and dynamic creative economy, employing nearly 50,000 people and generating £4.1 billion GVA per annum, almost 9% of the total GVA of £46.8bn. It has a substantial advertising, marketing and design sector, including web, product, fashion design, PR and data analysis and it also supports design led thinking as a ‘catalyst of growth’ for all sectors. A mix of digital media expertise – from young and diverse to major companies – means the region is well placed to develop a new mixed media kind of storytelling, combining for example, virtual & augmented reality (VR/AR) with theatre and tourism.

It has emerging potential in High-End Film & TV Production and expertise in next Generation Content Creation – including the application of virtual and augmented reality to anything from live theatre and tourism to manufacturing.

It also has the largest high-value Designer-Maker, Jewellery and crafts cluster in UK, includes handcrafting for the automotive sector. Birmingham has arguably the most significant cultural sector outside London with a focus on Performance, Theatre, Dance & Music. Creative expertise is a recognised catalyst of growth across all sectors with 50% of all creative workers embedded in non-creative businesses. Together, our creative sector, Digital & Tech sector and leading universities provide a world class offer.

Creative economy statistics for GBSLEP geography are here.

Creative sector regional stats are available here.

OUR IMPACT (2020 / 2021)

  • £3m investment into Creative Content Hub infrastucture in Birmingham (total project cost £18m) which has helped attract £14m investment in TV employment from the BBC and encouraged a number of major businesses to relocate to the region.
  • Birmingham Hippodrome access all areas investment which includes rebuilding entrances to make the venue COVID-19 safe. 
  • £1.3m Creative Sector Scale-Up programme – played a key role in the success of this through early work with Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and key stakeholders.
  • £75,000 funding towards feasibility studies to develop a World Cultural Centre and a new Science and Industry Museum for the region that will help promote Britain to international visitors
  • Cultural Zones – eight cultural organisations awarded a total of £77,000 to build capacity and unlock investment to help with the visitor economy.

OUR YEAR AHEAD (2021 / 2022)

  • Delivering a COVID-19 recovery creative sector support programme with our partners.
  • Establishing a Creative Industry data portal to improve information sharing and networking during recovery.
  • Generating creative cross-sector collaboration, in visualisation technology, product innovation and new market openings.
  • Continue working with Film Birmingham and regional partners to attract film and TV production to the region.
  • Support and promote creative careers skills for new entrants.
  • Support provision of suitable workspace and facilities to reimagine our town and local centres.
  • Support the REP’s Openhouse Project.

West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy 

GBSLEP has been worked closely with creative sector businesses and intermediary organisations to identify their key challenges and opportunities. These have been published in the West Midland’s Creative Sector Recovery plan, part of Local Industrial Strategy (LIS):

  • Action 1: Develop Specialist Creative Sector Business Support and signposting
  • Action 2: Cluster Development and Cross-regional Collaboration
  • Action 3: Align education and training provider offers with industry needs
  • Action 4: Creative Sector Training & Access to work prog
  • Action 5: Creative Innovation Programme
  • Action 6: Creative Sector Building Programme
  • Action 7: Leverage Cultural Action Zones to support recovery across our High Streets, places and communities
  • Action 8: Restarting & sustaining Cultural activity across the region’s places and communities

GBSLEP, along with many other industry, public sector and education institutions are now working together to implement these actions, helping our creative businesses recover, survive and thrive in our post-Covid world.

The wider LIS plan can be viewed here. 

A specialist creative sector advisor is available within our Growth Hub here.

Details of our work with the cultural sector and placemaking can be viewed here. 

To hear more about the work GBSLEP is doing for the sector, or to be a part of our creative industry forum please contact: