With news that the creative art industry contribution in the UK has grown by £390m in one year to £10.8bn, Plymouth is set to tap into this and harness the power of creativity with Ignite – A Festival of Creativity.
While Plymouth sees a high numbers of graduates in creative subjects – some 2000 a year, many are not staying to live and work in the city after they graduate. Throughout June, Ignite will shine a spotlight on nurturing, growing and keeping this talent in the South West, through a month-long programme of events, activity, networking and debates.
Ignite is a joint initiative between Plymouth College of Art, the University of Plymouth, Real Ideas Organisation and Plymouth City Council.
Supported with funding from the Cultural Development Fund through Arts Council England and DCMS, Ignite is the inaugural event, launching the three-year iMayflower Project. It aims to showcase the creative talent produced in the city, to encourage more potential students to think of a future in the creative industries, support the start-up of creative enterprises as well as highlighting the benefits of using these skills to current city employers and looking at ways to bring the city’s wider creative community together.
iMayflower is an exciting £3-million-pound project which brings together key partners to drive growth in the creative sector within the city. It includes a range of diverse events aimed at raising awareness of the opportunities within the sector - bringing jobs, business growth, innovative funding and providing training, opportunities and interest to a wide range of people.
Ian Hutchinson, Head of Projects and Partnerships at Plymouth College of Art said: “The creative industries are the UK’s fastest growing sector, increasing by almost 45% since 2010, and growing by 7.6% in 2015-16, which is more than twice the growth rate for the UK economy as a whole. Part of the reason for this growth is the tenacity and innovation of our creative graduates, who are not just artists, but creative problem solvers, offering skillsets that are more resilient to future automation than other graduates.
“Creative graduates have a key role to play in the growth and innovation of businesses across the South West, which is why we’re thrilled to collaborate on this opportunity to showcase what they can offer to the region.
“From digital design and prototyping skills for local manufacturing to data visualisation and cutting-edge marketing techniques, it’s vital that we retain these skills within the South West. Ignite is a showcase for the talent, ingenuity and potential of Plymouth’s creative graduates, something that we can all take pride in.”
Underpinned by the Degree Shows from Plymouth College of Art and the University of Plymouth, the Ignite programme will examine how creativity can be harnessed to create a sustainable, inclusive economy that is at the heart of a bright future for Plymouth.
Lindsey Hall, Chief Executive, Real Ideas Organisation said: “Plymouth abounds in creative talent. It is in our schools, communities, colleges and universities.
“Ignite celebrates this talent, wherever it is in the city, shining a spotlight on all the wonderful, challenging, entertaining and diverse work being made. Most importantly, Ignite is inclusive; graduate shows sit alongside creative industry networking; live streaming from the Royal Opera House connects with business start-up events for young tech creatives.
“It really is a case of creative talent fuelling the economy – light the touch paper and watch it burn bright!”
The University of Plymouth’s Professor Chris Bennewith agrees: “Ignite will help to further showcase the fantastic talent of our final year students, as they come to the end of their undergraduate journeys and go into further study, employment or an entrepreneurial endeavour.
“Plymouth has a huge wealth of talented creative graduates coming out of education and into the workforce each year (not only from the University). We know that many of them would love to stay in the city and the region after graduation, but feel they need to look elsewhere for the great jobs for which they are qualified or the opportunity to start up their own businesses.
“We need to provide them with the opportunities and incentives to stay. They are an essential component of the city’s future success.
“Through Ignite, iMayflower and our wider work to boost the creative economy, we are helping enable more and more of them to remain in Plymouth and use their talents and energy to help the city realise its potential.”
Council leader Tudor Evans said: “It’s show time! We’re showing off the best and brightest that Plymouth has to offer and I am chuffed to bits that Ignite – which is the first major initiative to come out of the iMayflower scheme – is enabling talent to truly shine.
“We’ve got bags of talent right here. These young people are creative, they’re acquiring skills us people of a certain age can barely dream of and we want them to stay, to flourish and to help Plymouth build its digital creative sector.
“But don’t take my word for it – go and see for yourself”
Highlights of the festival include: the University of Plymouth’s Art, Design and Architecture Graduate Show from 8-15 June and Plymouth College of Art's Degree Shows from 15-20 June. A special Industry night on 13 June opens the doors for local businesses to come and explore how they can connect with creative talent in the city. On 28 June there will be a live screening of the Royal Opera House Bridge Annual Conference; ‘The Thriving Child’ will look at how the arts, creativity and culture can help children and young people face up to social and economic disadvantages.