by Ian Shires on 20 January, 2012
How can we help stimulate growth in the creative arts sector? That was the main theme of last night’s Regeneration Scrutiny Panel.
Currently the creative and digital sector in Walsall employs under 2,000 which represents 2% of employment in the borough. The national average is 5% so there is plenty of scope for growth.
To help us to understand this sector and its potential a number of key stakeholders, drawn from Walsall’s New Art Gallery, Wolverhampton University, Walsall Community College along with the Head of Libraries Heritage and Arts, Head of Arts and Events and the Principle Creative Development Officer, gave members of the panel an insight into the shear length and breadth of the opportunities which already exist within the borough.
The debate moved on to just how the sector could be stimulated and covered a diversity of needs ranging from what support businesses need the creation of incubation units from existing as well as new building. The development of the much talked about Gigaport. Creating the right atmosphere for creativity. The creative use of existing green spaces in order to put Walsall back on the map for festivals and major events and much more.
“To say that it was fascinating would be an understatement” said the chair of the Regeneration Panel councillor Ian Shires “and the debate will go on. We have two work groups looking at how businesses can be stimulated and what needs to be done to sustain them.”
The potential for the creative industries sector needs to be unlocked and the panel is planned to gain the views of the Performing Arts Colleges within the borough and, most importantly, engage with those who have already set up businesses in the town to help us understand their needs and stimulate growth in this exciting area.
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