Three new initiatives to start the year in Bristol.

Channel 4 – Channel 4 officially launched its Creative Hub in the city last night (15th Jan). Looking back it was early 2017 when I first met DCMS at the beginning of the process to put Bristol forward as an out-of-London location. The benefit to Bristol is twofold, both the presence of the broadcaster within the city’s ecosystem and also the validation of the city as a significant media hub, already attracting new companies.

Creative Workforce for the Future – Part of the narrative of the C4 pitch was a strong desire to improve diversity and inclusion within the media sector. I co-authored a skills development programme, also launched yesterday, Creative Workforce for the Future. This initiative looks to both generate pathways for underrepresented groups into the industry, and crucially also to improve HR and recruitment practice for the participating businesses – seeking to generate a sustained positive impact on company behaviours in the West of England.

Creative Scale Up – Creative businesses often struggle to access traditional business support and investment. Creative Scale Up (also linked to similar initiatives in West Midlands and Manchester) aims to take a series of cohorts of companies, all at a particular inflection point of growth and expansion, through a multi-layered programme of assistance. For Watershed I’ll be facilitating a peer-to-peer network, allowing the participants to learn from the experiences and insights of others who have encountered similar issues and opportunities.

The media sector in Bristol is currently booming, particularly in natural history / wildlife / environmental content (e.g. BBC just announced 150 more jobs at NHU), and the interventions above by national, regional and local government are positive exemplars of strategic policy in support of that growth. I’m delighted to have been part of defining both the opportunity and the public sector response (and nice to have some projects closer to home too).

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