Sophie Dishman

Creative Futures Launch

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On Monday November 23, four students from the University of Sunderland went to the House of Commons for the Creative Futures launch. 

Creative Futures: Ten Steps to Support A Creative Economy is a report put together by Million+.

It highlights the success of the creative industry within the UK and shows how universities can underpin the success of the industry.

The Vice Chancellor of the university, Shirley Atkinson went to represent the university at the event.

She said: ““The Million +  project consists of a group of universities who advise the government on where and how they could invest to support our creative economies and to support our students with delivering excellent graduates into the workplace.”

Ms Atkinson mentioned the National Glass Centre in her speech.

The centre is home to many students and academics. It allows students to deliver workshops to the public and means that staff can work with visiting artists to further their own research and skills.

The Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at the university, Graeme Thompson was another guest speaker at the Commons.

He talked about the cultural heritage of the city of Sunderland and mentioned many popular projects within the North East region.

Mr Thompson is chair of a £2m project to bring major arts and cultural events to Sunderland and South Shields called Cultural Spring.

The Fab Lab and the University of Sunderland media platforms; SR News, Fashion North, Northern Lights, Sportsbyte and the award-winning Spark radio station were also mentioned in his speech.

Mr Thompson said: “We’re working with the Music, Arts and Culture Trust and one of our local theatres – The Customs House in South Shields, to deliver life-changing interventions in areas with the lowest levels of engagement with arts and culture.”

He added: “Our staff and student of course benefit from the university’s involvement in all of these activities.

“The chief executive of Arts Council England has described the University of Sunderland as one of a new generation of place-makers – recognising that cultural ambitions can make life better for those living and working in the locality.”

The university is also backing a new £10m Centre for Enterprise and Innovation on its City Campus which will be home to the Fab Lab. The centre will launch in 2016.

Julie Elliot, the MP from Sunderland Central also attended the launch event. She is also part of the Culture, Media and Sport committee.

She said: “Universities play a major role and are one of the big players in the city”.

Ms Elliot added that the Creative Futures project would “bring expertise” to the city of Sunderland.

The report has suggested that a successful creative economy needs talent, space and investment. It asks the government to consider ten steps to ensure that the UK remains a “winner” in the creative industry, whilst helping universities to improve in the future.

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