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Centre producing research and policy recommendations on arts, culture and the creative industries will be split across two hubs in England, one in the North and one in the South.

King's Walk on Newcastle University's campus, looking towards the Arches with the Student Union building on the left
Newcastle University will host the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre's Northern Hub

Sarah Cossom/Creative Commons

The Arts and Humanites Research Council (AHRC) has announced the new hosts of the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (Creative PEC) from May 2023 will be Newcastle University and the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). The centre has been hosted by innovation foundation Nesta since it establishment in 2018.

The AHRC said a total of nine bids were considered, with Newcastle University and the RSA selected for their expertise, inspiring vision and proposed "twin hub" structure.

It said the establishment of a Northern Hub in Newcastle and a Southern Hub in London will bring "huge benefits to the whole of the UK's creative sector".


Alongside the announcement of the new hosts, the AHRC, which funds the centre, has confirmed it has set aside £11m to allow it to continue its work for a further five years.

Challenges facing the sector

For its next phase, the AHRC has said it wants the centre to further grow the evidence base for arts, culture and the creative industries by addressing industry and government identified priorities, and advancing research into the longer-term challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

It will do this by producing its own new research to act as a platform for policy-relevant research produced by others, and it hopes to engage policymakers through embedding researchers in their planning and design cycles.

Creative PEC Director Hasan Bakhshi said that over the past five years, the centre has helped bring about a step change in the quantity and quality of evidence available to inform policies for the creative industries.

“As well as publishing new research, we have embedded our researchers in the design, planning and implementation cycles of policies," he said. 

"In our next phase of work, our ambition is to work with our colleagues at Newcastle University and the RSA to undertake this embedded knowledge exchange activity in both our Northern and Southern Hubs.”

'State of the Nation' reports

The centre will also introduce UK-wide 'State of the Nation' reporting in four high-level priority thematic areas. The work will be led by four organisations that will make up the centre's research consortium.

Sussex University will explore research and development, innovation and clusters. Research and advisory firm Work Advance will cover creative Education, skills, and talent. 

Meanwhile, Newcastle University will investigate internationalisation, and the University of Sheffield will examine the arts, cultural and heritage sectors.

In addition the centre will convene a new multi-disciplinary network of researchers working on topics that are relevant for policies to support the creative industries. 

As well as sharing knowledge and insight, the research network will be commissioned throughout the next five years to undertake timely research to address industry and policymaker needs.

Arts and Humanities Research Council Executive Chair Professor Christopher Smith said: “Through its role as a centre of excellence for research and evidence PEC is a critical resource for the UK’s world-leading creative industries.

“The wide range of research and policy expertise provided by Newcastle University and the RSA means they are ideally suited to being the new PEC hosts.

“We very much look forward to the exciting next stage of the PEC’s development and to reinforcing its important role in the sector.”