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Creative Communities

Capitalising on creative communities to foster sociocultural growth


The digital and creative industries grew more than twice as fast as the rest of the UK economy between 2011-2019 and contributed £115.9 billion in 2019.

The GW4 Alliance and the wider Wales and West regions are an established powerhouse in cultural, digital and creative industries, employing 85,000 people across almost 11,000 businesses. Nesta has identified it as one of the top creative clusters in the UK.

The sector is made up of nine sub-sectors, with the region having major strengths in architecture, film & TV, IT software and computer services, journalism and publishing. Our academic expertise to support these spans arts and humanities, social sciences, law, engineering and computing and links across our strategic priorities.


Our unique alliance

Our GW4 universities are home to multi-million-pound, multidisciplinary investments which include Bristol and Bath Creative R&D, Clwstwr, and two Strength in Places Fund awards in this sector in Media Cymru and MyWorld which are already run with the region’s other universities.

Our partners in this work include Aardman, BBC, BT, Netflix, Ffilm Cymru, Silverback Films and many SMEs and micro-organisations that typify the sector. We have also formed a strategic partnership with the National Trust in the region, where our work includes developing new approaches to conservation and curation to ensure its places and collections remain sustainable and relevant in the long term.

Our alliance is unique in spanning local governments, urban and rural areas, a capital city and a devolved nation. Our geographical position, along with our complimentary investments, strengths in research and teaching mean we can work across sectors to build a critical mass in the region.

We can use these strengths to create a shared infrastructure that will turn our world-leading research into real world impact and regional strategies to create jobs, level up our communities, and increase the quality and quantity of our cultural output.

This sector needs a wide range of traditional creative skills, digital skills, and expertise in technology to sustain itself and grow. But this is threatened by a skills and talent gap in the region. Our established excellence in doctoral training means we can work with industry, local government, FE colleges and universities to build capacity in creative skills that can create future-proof jobs and support creativity in other sectors.

Stats from UK Government


University of Bath
University of Bristol
Cardiff University
University of Exeter