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Potential for Creative Industries in Walsall

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.

Don’t let the debate stop here. We really do want your comments, ideas and views so don’t hold back get in touch.


6 Responses

  1. Andy Kruczek says:

    As a creative business based in the Borough (and as someone born in the Borough and having spent most of my life living here) I find it somewhat sad that my contribution to this debate is this retrospective note, made after stumbling across this report via the YamYam.

    As one of a number of independent creatives that had no inkling of yesterday’s meeting, it concerns me that my voice has not been heard. I would have been really interested in contributing to the debate and bringing the not inconsiderable experience and knowledge I have (from 30 years of working in creative industries) to the table. I would be grateful for a copy of minutes from the meeting and the opportunity, in future, to make a positive contribution to the creative opportunities the Borough seeks to encourage.

    Many thanks for your attention

    Please get in touch

    Andy Kruczek

  2. Ian Shires says:

    Thanks for your interest and don’t be disappointed as this is an ongoing project not a one off meeting. Someone will be in touch to see how best to engage with you.



  3. martin says:

    so the Head of Libraries,Heritage & Arts and the Head of Arts and Events gave you some insight did they?
    Did they explain why Walsall has two Heads of Arts?

    Two heads certainly aren’t better than one here – the arts in Walsall are limited to the very excellent New Art Gallery and, ummm, errr oh, one or two quite good events at the newly-revamped Bookmark Bloxwich.
    Other than that we have organ recitals or male voice choirs at Forest ‘Arts’ Centre (when it’s open) and nothing else from the council.

    I don’t know about you, Ian, but I see the opportunity for some cost-saving here, what do you think?

  4. Ian Shires says:

    Regeneration Scrutiny Panel is looking at ways in which it can help grow interest in the creative industries sector in order to promote job opportunities. Members would like to hear from anyone within this sector who lives in the borough or is considering bringing or starting a business within this sector in Walsall. We’d like to hear their ideas, views and experiences so that we can help them grow their businesses and for others to take opportunities that this sector offers.

  5. Mike Maynard says:

    The Manor hospital recently had a open photography competition and the Mayor of Walsall was there to present certificates to the winner and finalists. We need more open art exhibitions at the art gallery and more use of local photographers and artists. I see them brought in from outside and extensive use of cronies throughout the Black Country because we seem to have a collective lack of self confidence and belief in ourselves. I live in Wednesbury but I know of two writers in Walsall and no one helps them; they help themselves. There doesn’t appear to be opportunities in Walsall.

  6. Ian Shires says:

    All comments will be taken into account and will help in planning how we can involve as many of those interested in growing Walsall’s place in the Creative Industries. I know that this might sound like “officer speak” it’s not meant to and I will make sure that your voice is heard.

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