Economic Geography Research Group

Fostering research in Economic Geography

Download Working Paper 03.09 (PDF, 165KB).

2009 Working Papers

Working Paper 03.09

Enabling or inhibiting the creative economy: the role of the local and regional dimensions in England

Dr Caroline Chapain & Dr Roberta Comunian


This paper addresses issues regarding the development of creative and cultural industries (CCIs) in England from a local and regional perspective. London and the South East are widely regarded as the centre of the national creative economy. In recent years large investments and support have tried to bridge the gap between the capital and other English regions in developing CCIs. Integrating findings from two separated research projects in Birmingham and Newcastle-Gateshead, this paper explores factors that enable or inhibit the creative industries outside of the Capital. One of the crucial issues relates to the specific position of each urban and regional context in relation to London and the possibility of building a critical mass of CCIs outside of the South-East. The paper discusses the importance of idiosyncratic factors relevant to creative individuals in their location decision. In addition, an important dimension of CCIs’ dynamic lies in the multi-scale nature of the geographical supply-chain and collaborating work undertaken by companies. Our findings question current regional policies and their understanding of the local and regional dimension as being limited to the idea of geographical clusters. Therefore, the paper calls for a wider approach which takes into account the importance of the regional infrastructure and the “knowledge pool” necessary to the development of CCIs, but also personal and operational connections of the CCIs within and outside their region.