As always, 2016 was another busy year for the Creative Quarter, so we thought we’d bring you a few of our highlights!
We started the year as proud owners of the Enterprising Britain Award for Improving the Business Environment – which recognised the Creative Quarter as one of Britain’s best business environments. Nottingham also had a great start to the year, after being named a UNESCO City of Literature in December 2015.
The month started on a high with the news that 10% of the UK’s best creative companies are in Nottingham’s Creative Quarter – with App Institute, GameCity, Jeanie Finlay, Lockwood Publishing and Wellington Films listed in the Creative England 50 report (CE50). CE50 celebrates the best companies and brightest creative talent leading the pack for creative industries across England and the 50 were chosen by a panel of industry experts. February also saw the Creative Quarter lit up for Light Night with the area a hive of processions, markets, artists’ installations, music, light shows and workshops!
March was all about working together as Nottingham, Derby and Leicester launched an initiative called The Power of 3 (Po3) to attract investment and promote opportunities in all three cities…and the Creative Quarter led a forum event for the city’s Cultural Education Partnership, bringing together schools, educators and cultural organisations. We also moved into Sneinton Market – Nottingham’s newest space for creative and digital businesses!
This month saw Sneinton Market Avenues transformed into a festival of fashion as Spotlight on Nottingham’s Independent Fashion kicked off Nottingham Fashion Week (22-30 April) – featuring an eclectic mix of music, lifestyle and independent fashion, organised by the Creative Quarter, in partnership with Nottingham BID and One BC. Watch the video April also saw the start of our amazing partnership with talented bloggers from Nottingham Trent University, who have been working with us ever since!
The Creative Quarter celebrated its 3rd birthday with the launch of our 3 Year Report – outlining what the initiative has achieved since it launched in May 2013. We also held a Housewarming at Sneinton Market to celebrate with many of those who make the Creative Quarter possible. May saw the opening of Space2 on Dakeyne Street in the Creative Quarter – a £6m creative industries centre now home to Dance4 and Confetti – after Nottingham City Council’s renovation of the former Victorian hosiery factory. Plus, the final square of concrete was poured by Councillor Jon Collins at the Discovery building – a new £30m bioscience building at BioCity.
This month saw the launch of Nottingham’s School of Print at Cobden Chambers – thanks to the hard work of Cobden Place, Dizzy Ink and Tom Camp, together with 248 backers who answered their Kickstarter call. June also brought more incredible culture to Nottingham with neat16, the Nottingham European Arts and Theatre Festival, featuring 27 days of world-class theatre, dance, literature and more from 17 May-12 June.
July saw the Creative Class of 2016 being announced – a diverse range of businesses praised for their innovation, dedication and exciting work in Nottingham. The month was all about apprenticeships too with Lauren Lynch joining the Creative Quarter as our new Marketing Assistant and a special event to help Creative Quarter-based businesses benefit from apprenticeships, organised by us, Nottingham Jobs Hub and Nottingham City Council at Broadway in Hockley. July also saw the launch of It’s in Nottingham’s Summer of Independents campaign – celebrating Nottingham’s independent businesses.
Debbie Bryan was crowned Nottingham’s Best Independent Business 2016 as part of It’s in Nottingham’s Summer of Independents campaign. August also saw the It’s in Nottingham Summer Sofa, a huge purple sofa, make it’s way around Nottingham’s independent business districts.
A series of short films featuring Nottingham’s independent shopping areas was launched – showcasing shops and businesses from Hockley to Derby Road. There’s plenty to shout about after all, with Nottingham having the largest number of independent shops outside London! The month also revealed that Nottingham is set to see a £5.5 billion annual boost from its rising number of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) which will create 10,000 jobs by 2020.
This month saw Nottingham chosen as one of only four places in the UK to take part in a three-year national research study into how the arts and culture can improve lives and communities. The first annual Nottingham Independents Festival was held on 1 October – celebrating Nottingham’s amazing independent businesses and shopping areas. October also saw the return of the Nottingham International Microfilm Festival with a great line-up of events and screenings at venues around the city! Plus of course, October was the 10th anniversary of Nottingham’s legendary Hockley Hustle. Last but not least, the Lace Market conservation area was added to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register, which will help bring more support and funding to preserve the area’s important architecture.
An initiative that puts the city’s creative and cultural sector at the heart of Nottingham’s future got underway in November with the news that Nottingham’s Strategic Cultural Partnership (SCP) appointed creative consultancy Bird & Gorton to produce a 10 year cultural framework for the city. We also helped Christmas get underway in the Creative Quarter with a festive event at Sneinton Market – celebrating the fact we reached our target of 50% occupancy by the end of the year – early!
2016 ended on a high for Nottingham and Derby’s creative and digital businesses, with the launch of The Big House programme – a three-year, £5 million tailored support programme for the sector, funded by the ERDF and The Arts Council. The month also saw Sneinton Market Avenues go from strength-to-strength with even more businesses moving in and the new Shop at Sneinton Market doing booming business! We smashed our target to be 50% occupied by the end of the year and units are going fast! Watch the video to find out more from just some of the creative and digital businesses already here!
Here’s to 2017 and another great year for everyone who makes Nottingham’s Creative Quarter such a special and unique place!