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A network of more than 60 creative and commercial organisations has been established but plans for a “major creative moment” have fallen away. 

aerial view of London

Benjamin Davies

A taskforce marrying London’s creative and business sectors has developed 20,000 square feet of creative workspaces – about the size of the average warehouse - across the capital in the past year.

The Culture & Commerce Taskforce, convened last October to put creativity at the heart of London’s post-Covid recovery, has since established a network of over 60 creative and commerce organisations.

Collectively, they invested £780,000 into cross-sector projects, according to the taskforce’s final report, A Year of Fuelling Creative Recovery.


Lord Mayor of London and taskforce chair William Russell said the partnerships have helped London “get its buzz back”.

“Now, more than ever, our communities need us to work together to breathe new life into familiar spaces and help ensure London remains the best city in the world in which to live, learn, work and invest.”

But the taskforce’s final report is silent on one of its original goals -  hosting “a major creative moment” in London.

First reported in February, the creative moment – then understood to be a festival or showcase - was slated for the end of social distancing restrictions, potentially coinciding with UNBOXED 2022.

Neither City of London Corporation nor City Hall could confirm if a standalone ‘creative moment’ would still go ahead.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said the city's Let’s do London campaign has contributed an estimated £70m back into the economy since its launch in June.

“It is championing our businesses, cultural institutions and attractions which have suffered so much during the pandemic and working to reinvigorate central London with a curated programme of seasonal events and cultural activities.” 

Creating opportunities

London’s post-Covid recovery has been marked by several major investments linking cultural developments with enterprise activity.

In July, London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a £3m investment to double the number of Creative Enterprise Zones in the city. More recently, City Hall announced plans to transform London’s Royal Docks into ‘London’s cultural engine’. 

The City of London Corporation developed five projects aligning commerce and various facets of the creative industry. 

Create in the City, a call for cultural, civic and commercial organisations to establish creative enterprise hubs, hosted projects at free rehearsal complex NDT Broadgate.

Enhancing the City saw 40 commercial sites showcase creative activity, with shops, offices and public spaces filled with art to increase footfall, whilst Creative Skills gave information about creative career options and pathways to young people from backgrounds underrepresented in creative industries.

Taskforce member Tony Matharu told ArtsProfessional more than 400 young creatives engaged in the projects: “The Lord Mayor’s response has successfully stimulated economic activity, demonstrating collective benefits and the positive impact of partnership working.”

Fuelling creative renewal

Now at the end of its term, the taskforce says it has “demonstrated what is possible” when London’s whole ecology comes together to boost economic recovery.

It now plans to establish a digital knowledge bank to share insights and good practice.

Taskforce Chair Russell believes continued collaboration between business and cultural sectors can “truly fuel London’s creative renewal”.

Cultural organisations can benefit from access to new spaces, commissioning opportunities and skills development for staff through continued work with businesses, he added.

“By piloting many new initiatives which are supporting London, the organisations involved have helped accelerate recovery and deliver benefits for both sectors.”