Expertise helps local firms’ pandemic recovery

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A new report shows how local businesses have been helped to recover from the pandemic using expertise and advice from Goldsmiths.

A training session delivered by the Knowledge Exchange Team

The Local Government Association case study demonstrates how hundreds of firms in Lewisham directly benefited from support provided by the College, helping to create jobs, new products and services and increased turnover. 

And the report says that hundreds more creative firms were helped by Goldsmiths, which has “helped to create a welcoming environment and infrastructure for the sector to thrive”.

The case study submitted by Goldsmiths reports on how the College worked with Lewisham Council to support creative businesses to achieve their full potential and unlock the creative potential among business owners in other sectors.

This included working as part of Lewisham’s Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ) and its year as Borough of Culture.

These projects formed part of Goldsmiths’ Knowledge Exchange activity, building on our research base to create meaningful exchanges with local businesses and cultural organisations. It was also part of Goldsmiths’ Civic University Agreement, which provides a framework for key local organisations in Lewisham to work together.

The case study is part of evidence from the Commission on Culture and Local Government, set up to demonstrate the contribution made by local council funded cultural activities.

The case study sets out how Goldsmiths set up a range of initiatives including the Creative Business Exchange which brought together creative businesses as a forum for information exchange and showcasing

The projects highlighted in the case study were led by academics in Goldsmiths’ Institute of Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, drawing on expertise in other departments such as Computing and the Institute of Management Studies. Students from across the College supported the projects through outreach and engagement activity, student internships and consultancy.

Discussing the impact of this work, the case study says: “Our projects have helped to cement Lewisham’s status as a key hub for the creative industries. By supporting the council to engage meaningfully with creative businesses, we have helped to create a welcoming environment and infrastructure for the sector to thrive.    

“We have helped to ensure that the CEZ and Borough of Culture initiatives have been successful and maximised the benefits for creative businesses and independent small to medium-sized enterprises. We have supported business owners across the borough to celebrate their culture and diversity, which for many businesses is the root of their success.  

“By engaging proactively with businesses including in-person visits, we have helped to ensure a more representative cross-section of businesses have received support through council-funded programmes, driven by ambitious targets around engagement across demographics.” 

The report also sets out how this work will be taken forward, with more personalised and positive collaborations identified as important elements to sustain. 

Commenting on the findings, Professor David Oswell, Pro-Warden for Research, Enterprise and Knowledge Exchange said: “The projects outlined in the LGA Culture Commission case study show how Goldsmiths’ academic expertise has a truly meaningful impact on the local community and economy. They help underpin the role that creativity and culture play in unlocking economic growth, and the benefits of anchor organisations collaborating to deliver meaningful interventions locally.

"This project supports Goldsmiths’ Civic Strategy. With our partners, we are committed to work on our shared vision aimed at improving the lives of those living, working, creating and learning in the locality."