The Baltic Triangle: Creative Industries thriving in Liverpool
29 July 2014
Having just returned from the International Festival for Business in Liverpool, I feel energised by the buzz of activity in the city. There is a strong sense of community within the Baltic Triangle, a large area of former industrial land which now houses a digital and creative cluster. This is largely thanks to the support of Liverpool Vision over recent years.
Kevin McManus and the team at Liverpool Vision have worked tirelessly to develop the arts and business communities hand in hand. This cultivation has regenerated swathes of the waterfront area.
Currently, the Creative Industries contributes an estimated £70bn into the UK’s GVA*. The Baltic Triangle is an example of a place where the Creative Industries thrive. Liverpool is full of young and confident entrepreneurs hungry to develop their own brand, their own intellectual property, and new markets for their products.
Unit 51 at Baltic Creative is a business incubator, housing over eighty companies of varying sizes and employees, ranging from one to twenty. Some produce games or apps, some offer creative or consultancy services. What they all have in common is that they are producing mostly digital products, suitable for digital export. In addition, they cross-fertilise; providing in-kind services to one another. Given the Isle of Man's geographical position and strong data hosting and power infrastructure, we are highly suited to developing these kinds of businesses.
For the Isle of Man to achieve something similar to the Baltic Creative, we will face a different set of challenges to Liverpool Council. In particular, we will need more skilled ICT and creative professionals. By nurturing an integrated arts and business scene, encouraging venues and events, we will begin to increase our graduate retention. Investment into ICT skills and the new Art Design and Media BA pathways at Isle of Man College is already underway, along with increasing collaboration between students and employers.
There are opportunities here such as the Film Trainee Placement scheme, the Mannin Shorts film training scheme and the Creative Apprenticeships scheme which provide opportunities to our Isle of Man creatives to stretch themselves and grow their professional skills. And with four or five independent UK feature films shooting on the Island each year, there are even more opportunities for the workforce to grow into the industry. Undoubtedly, media production here will diversify much further in the years to come.
I wish to thank Liverpool Vision for their generous welcome in the city during IFB, and for offering us a glimpse of the Island’s future in the creative industries.
*Creative Industries Economic Estimates - January 2014 published by UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport