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BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are among those to sign a charter committing them to support at least one cross-regional initiative in the North of England next year.

An evening view of Media City in Salford
The BBC previously moved a significant amount of its operations to Salford in 2011

University of Salford

Close to 30 organisations have signed up to a joint commitment to boost creative and cultural activity throughout North England.

In September, it was announced that as part of a partnership between Arts Council England (ACE), Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (Creative PEC) and Royal Society of Arts (RSA), a 'prototype' creative corridor model will be established by next summer.

Today (14 November), it was revealed that local leaders across North England and prominent figures in the creative industries have committed to a charter to push ahead with the idea.


Among the 30 signatories are Director General of the BBC Tim Davie, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, West Yorkshire Mayor Tracey Brabin, Chief Executive of Channel 4 Alex Mahon, Chief Executive of ITV Carolyn McCall and Director of the N8 Research Partnership universities Annette Bramley.

The charter sets out a range of areas where local and sector leaders will collaborate in developing the Northern Creative Corridor, including skills, finance, innovation, and communication. 

It also commits signatories to contribute to the administration and development of the corridor and to support at least one cross-regional initiative in 2024.

Initiatives pursued through the partnership aim to "provide economies of scale and scope in the creative industries and beyond" and "avoid duplication of spending or fragmentation of incentives and initiatives already in place", the charter states.

Supercharged growth

Hasan Bakhshi, Director of Creative PEC, said: “All the evidence suggests that neighbouring creative clusters can work together in key areas like workforce skills and access to finance to supercharge growth in their creative industries. 

"The North of England’s creative industries grew in real terms by around 23 per cent between 2010 and 2019 before the pandemic. 

"However, despite the presence of creative hotspots like Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle, the creative industries still only contribute around three per cent of the north’s economy, compared with just under 10 per cent in London and the Southeast. This illustrates the huge scale of the opportunity.” 

Andy Haldane, Chief Executive of RSA, said: “There are pockets of creative genius right across the North of England. But the potential to nurture and grow these pockets into a Northern creative supercluster by working in pan-regional partnership is simply enormous.

"Unlocking that huge potential, through practical action, is the purpose of putting together this grand coalition of leaders from the region and the creative industries.” 

A series of workshops in January and February 2024 will be held to co-design potential policy and practice interventions to help realise creative corridors in different parts of the UK.  These will bring together policy, business, education, and civil society stakeholders, including creative industries and arts, culture, and heritage practitioners.

The results, alongside progress towards making the Northern Creative Corridor a reality, will be reported at the Convention of the North in March 2024.