Creative Fuse has now reached the end of its current phase.
Creative Fuse is a unique partnership led by Newcastle University, has brought together academics from the five universities in North-East England to work with firms in the creative industry. Since it was launched in 2016, Creative Fuse has worked with 277 firms across the region, in order make the region’s creative economy more resilient by bringing in academic expertise to enable the sector to grow.
The project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the European Regional Development Fund, and Arts Council England, has been instrumental in bringing together firms and academics from Newcastle, Northumbria, Durham, Sunderland, and Teesside Universities in working towards addressing industrial, commercial and social challenges faced by businesses in the creative sector.
Creative Fuse, which included 30 innovation pilots as a part of a £4m funding, has now reached the end of its current phase. It has been a success, with almost 23 jobs being created, and at least one organisation recently receiving a £100k funding boost.
This has been of importance not just to the firms, but for the industry and the region as a whole, since, as Project Director Mark Adamson mentions, London and the North-East have been the fastest growing regions for the creative sector. “Creative Fuse has shown that there is appetite and real opportunity to galvanise further growth in this key sector.”
A report published by Creative Fuse describes its achievements since its launch. Some of the innovative pilot projects taken up by the collaboration include WordNerds and Intogral, both of which utilise AI for different functions. With WordNerds, it is about understanding the tone about products and services on social media, whereas with Intogral, AI is used to classify museum collections.
Another popular innovation project is Full-blown Metal, based at of The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle. An SME with two full-time employees, it focuses on making a range of objects including sculptures and furniture using a patented blown metal technique. Following a partnership with academics from Newcastle and Northumbria Universities, they have been successful in diversifying and making aesthetic-led pieces of metal which absorb heat during daytime and release it at night.
Newcastle’s West End Refugee Service was yet another project under Creative Fuse. Its Skillsmatch project matches skills and interests of refugees in the North-East, whilst allowing them to contribute through volunteering when they are not allowed to work. This project, developed in collaboration with academics from both Newcastle and Teesside Universities alongside Roots and Wings Graphic Design, has received further funding of £100k after the initial pilot project ended.
Creative Fuse also held monthly themed C.A.K.E. events (Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange) to facilitate the exchange of ideas and develop the creative sector further.