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Creative Fuse sparks ideas and connections

12th November 2017

Picture:  Little Match Girl at Dance City

Creative Fuse NE is really getting into its stride now and NGCV is supporting the involvement of the cultural sector in the opportunities and activities which are rolling out across the region and will be sharing the learning and good practice as it comes through over the next year.

What's it all about?

The main aim of Creative Fuse NE is to unlock the potential of Creative, Digital, IT industry collaborations, driving innovation and growing the region’s economy.

The North East’s five universities (Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside), are leading the £5m initiative, which is supported by Arts and Humanities Research Council, European Union and Arts Council England funding.  They are working alongside CDIT businesses working with the cultural, voluntary, public and wider industry sectors. It involves a wide range of activity and support to encourage innovation, sharing good practice, building networks and collaborations and the promotion of new products and services and innovative working practices. 

What's on offer?

There are multiple partners and multiple strands of activities, so there are lots of ways to get involved, from information and knowledge exchange and networking to accessing funding, business innovation support and specialist advice. Depending on what funds are supporting activities, they can be specific to either Tees Valley, to the North East (Northumberland, Durham, Newcastle, Sunderland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside) or region-wide, so it is important to check eligibility with those leading the activity.

We produce an update for the cultural sector of all activities, click here to download the 7th November issue.  You can also click on the links below to find out more and sign up online to keep informed of what’s happening next:

Business Innovation Support Programmes – tailored to support CDIT and cultural businesses and practitioners to work through challenges and ideas to promote business innovation and practice, these ranges from 12 hour sprints to longer term support.  Some are generic, others will be specific (e.g. digital business, artists innovation, digital literature, cultural business, rural businesses in Northumberland).  Some are up and running and more are rolling out in the coming months, so make sure you sign up to get updates

Placement Schemes and Hothouse Projects – there are a wide range of student and graduate placement schemes, from a wide range of disciplines and durations, but all seeking to add value to the organisations and individuals they are working with and supported by a team of academics.  As well as placements, there are project based opportunities, where a student team will work on your project brief, supported and overseen by academics.  Those interested should check the links to find out more and talk to the university lead contacts to explore opportunities to host a placement or run a project

Innovation Funding – some initial pilots began in September and an open call ended on 16th October for more innovation pilots which will be announced soon and will involve a fusion of academics, CDIT and others on a whole host of topics. The learning from these pilots will be shared widely.

Events – Fuse holds a wide range of events to raise awareness of particular activities or general opportunities.  From launches in both ends of the region, to placement awareness raising events, hackathons and createathons, these are all opportunities to get involved in what interests you and make connections. An important event coming up is the Creative Fuse Tees Valley Launch and Mixer event on 30th November in Middlesbrough to engage business from CDIT and the cultural sector in Teesside and help make connections into the various offers (Click here for details and to register for your free place).  For all events coming up sign up online to make sure you get the latest news.

C.A.K.E Events – monthly themed events with expert speakers from a range of disciplines exploring innovation challenges from their sector and the innovative ideas coming forward to tackle these.  They run monthly and are open to anyone to attend and they help build connections and relationships as well as stimulate thinking, all with real cake available too. There have been 13 so far on everything from space, to housing and fashion. The next one, Christmas Cake (5.30-7.30pm on 7th December), will be an informal networking and drinks event, with quick fire sharing of ideas and passions and looking at ideas and projects moving in to 2018, register for your free place online here

Latest news and Blogs – you can find out the latest news on what’s coming up online here and also see feedback on activities and events that have happened on the blogs pages

How are we supporting cultural sector involvement in Fuse?

Cultural sector involvement was made possible by funding from Arts Council England, which provides match funding across the Creative Fuse NE programme. This means that freelancers, individual practitioners, micro-businesses and SMEs (including charities, social enterprises and Community Interest Companies) from the cultural sector can take advantage of the wide range of opportunities and support available.  In order to tell people about the opportunities, Tyneside Cinema applied for and won a £27,000 contract on behalf of NGCV to deliver a Cultural Sector Engagement and Dissemination Programme, delivered from May 2017 to October 2018 across the region. 

NGCV’s Partnership Co-ordinator, Declan Baharini, was appointed as the Cultural Sector Engagement Broker to roll out the engagement and dissemination with the cultural sector.  She is working with Fuse partners on awareness raising and networking events and sharing information, briefings and updates with leads from cultural partnerships, networks, organisations and individuals who can connect with the wider cultural sector.  The 7th November update can be downloaded here.

Declan is keen to promote involvement and said, “This is such a fantastic opportunity for individuals and organisations working in the cultural sector to both share their creativity and ideas with people from CDIT companies and academics, but also to link into universities and their research capabilities, as well as with CDIT firms to explore and take advantage of new approaches to support their own business innovation and develop new strands and services.  This could bring benefits for themselves as practitioners and companies, but also cultural consumers and participants and promote innovation and resilience in the wider cultural economy.”

“We are keen to get as much benefit from this programme as possible, so I encourage people to link into the Creative Fuse website and sign up for news of upcoming events, activities and opportunities, as well as read the updates I produce for the sector, which have the latest news.  You can access this through cultural partnerships and artform networks, or contact me directly to receive this.”

Contact: Declan Baharini, Cultural Sector Engagement Broker


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