Events Calendar

Build Back Creatively?

05 May 2021 — 11:00am to 1:30pm

Venue: Online Event

The Audience Agency, in partnership with the Creative Industries Council, invites you to a free online event to explore ways that local authorities can harness the power of their creative and cultural industries to reignite local economies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What we'll be talking about
As restrictions are lifted, “building back better” will be an enormous task, but evidence suggests that councils who support their vibrant creative and cultural industries will recover from the havoc wrought by COVID-19 more quickly and deliver better outcomes for the people they represent.
Before the lockdowns, the UK’s world leading creative industries were growing five times faster than the economy as a whole in clusters right across the country. They create high-value, future-proof jobs, fuel innovation and drive global exports alongside inward investment. Culture-led regeneration can revive highstreets, promote social cohesion and create places where people want to live.

But how can this be done in a way which includes, engages and enriches our communities while at the same time delivering economic growth? What opportunities are new government funds such as The Towns Fund, Levelling Up Fund, Community Renewal Fund and eventually the Shared Prosperity Fund opening up, and how can we work together to make the most of them?

The Audience Agency, alongside industry experts from the Creative Industries Council, will show how councils can support their creative and cultural industries and why they should be at the heart of local recovery plans. In this event we will:

  • Share latest evidence and industry insights
  • Discuss examples of pioneering practice

Introduce the Build Back Creatively Toolkit, the Audience Agency’s simple and practical new model informed by work with Local Government Association, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and with councils across the country.

Who would find this event valuable:

  • Councillors and officers with responsibility for economic development, regeneration, creative economy and culture
  • Creative economy, culture and tourism leads for LEPs
  • Leaders of local destination marketing, inward investment and enterprise support organisations


  • Chair of the Creative Industries Council Regions and Clusters Groups on why council support matters
  • Experts from The Audience Agency
  • Councils that have done this well

Background thinking: The drive towards localism
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated lots of trends, including a resurgence in localism; refocusing the design of communities around the needs of the people who live in them. Embracing these trends will help councils deliver local regeneration more successfully and help applications to new government funds such as new ‘Levelling Up’ fund, the Community Renewal Fund and eventually the Shared Prosperity Fund.

The drive towards localism is driven by different trends:

  • The need to address the decline of the high street as a result of the rise of online shopping.
  • The shift to homeworking by those who are able to do so.
  • A drift of people from cities to the countryside as they look for more space and a better quality of life.
  • Responses to climate change as government and local councils repurpose the built infrastructure on a more human-centred scale enabling active travel, communities to gather and children to play.
  • New approaches to local economics such as ‘The Preston Model’ or ‘The Totnes Pound’ which aim to generate wealth locally and keep it within the local economy.
  • ‘Flatpack democracy’ which enables local people to have more of a say in their politics.

This drive to localism has a symbiotic relationship with the creative industries; they can both make localism work better for local people and they will benefit from it themselves:

  • All forms of the creative industries, especially those dependent on audiences, need to find new ways of connecting with those audiences.
  • A strong creative offering enhances local communities and makes them more liveable.
  • Creativity is enhanced by input from local communities.
  • The creative industries need space to work which is available in run-down areas.
  • The impact of digital technologies which enable new ways of consuming creative and cultural content.

Thanks to the LGA for supporting the content of this event.

Event Details

This free event will explore ways that local authorities can harness the power of their creative and cultural industries to reignite local economies and re-engage communities.
From 11:00AM to 1:30PM