Insights into how Lewisham can fulfil its creative potential

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A new report from Goldsmiths, University of London explores what further support would help creative businesses to thrive in the Lewisham area.

A borough buzzing with creativity: Musician Bella Barton performing at the Pure Gold 2021 degree show.

Academics from the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship (ICCE) received funding from Lewisham Council and the Lewisham Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ) – an initiative of the Mayor of London ­– to examine the impact of Covid-19 on creative workers in the newly designed area, which covers New Cross and Deptford.

The report, entitled ‘SHAPESLewisham and the Shape of Lewisham: Connectivity, Communication and Construction in a Creative Enterprise Zone’, draws on a range of evidence including an analysis of panel discussions and in-depth interviews with filmmaker Martina Trlik and musician Oggie Ekaragha about the key challenges facing creative workers in the borough during the pandemic.

Read the full report online.

A number of common themes emerged from the discussions including: the role of physical space in a digital age, challenges around access to funding, relationships between the local community and new arrivals, the cost of housing, links to local educational institutions, transitions from education into creative careers, and mental health and wellbeing.

By talking with those building their creative lives within the Lewisham CEZ, the research offers new insights into how best to support the ambitions of creative practitioners in the borough.

The recommendations of the report are centred around three themes:

  • Connectivity; the importance of facilitating interaction between long-term residents of Lewisham and new arrivals,
  • Communication; the need for local authorities and other stakeholders to more effectively signpost information about knowledge, skills, and funding provision to creative workers, and,
  • Construction; clear pathways for creative support through primary, secondary, and tertiary education, continually interacting with creative enterprises

The report was written by Dr George Musgrave and Dr Michael Franklin, who together run the Creative Entrepreneurship Cluster within ICCE, working alongside Adrian Leisewitz, an independent scholar and music marketing professional.

The authors of the report said: “At this time of significant growth opportunities but also critical challenges to the creative industries and creative education, we hope this report makes a productive impact on policy and evidence for Lewisham, London and the UK. We are hugely thankful for the incredible contributions of our interviewees whose insights are fundamental to this research, as well as Sian Prime whose support has been vital.”