No tubes. Just talent.
Welcome to Bristol and Bath
Tech City Suburb
90 minutes and a good coffee west from Paddington, Bristol and Bath is an area growing ever more notorious for its creativity and ingenuity across the creative and tech industries, from animation to gaming to publishing.
Ever since the BBC first established a base here three-quarters of a century ago the creative sector has been quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) developing, and is now a significant contributor to the region’s economy.
A global centre of excellence
Thanks to the BBC’s continued investment the area is a a global centre of excellence for factual TV production and natural history film making, with 25% of all natural history films worldwide produced in the area. As well as the BBC’s facilities, at over 300,000ft Bristol’s Bottle Yard studios offers the second largest international film and TV production facility in the UK, offering some much needed extra national capacity and driving over £20m of inward investment every year. Production companies both big and small choose the Bristol and Bath region to work in, from the international production behemoth Endemol and their hit Channel 4 TV series Deal or No Deal to Emmy award winning Touch Productions.
The region is also internationally recognised for animation, put on the map by Bristol based studios Aardman and the phenomenal Oscar and BAFTA winning success of Wallace & Gromit.
A multi-disciplinary creative cluster
But it’s not just in TV where Bristol and Bath excels. “As well as being home to a number of successful film and TV companies, Bristol and Bath have thriving digital, games and design industries” says Caroline Norbury, CEO of Creative England. “Through our programme of work investing in creative businesses, Creative England has seen first-hand the ambition of some companies, which in two years have doubled their turnover and broken through into new international markets.”
In particular Caroline points to the new Games Hub, a ‘develop-learn-share-create’ incubator space launched earlier this year. Co-founder of the Games Hub Ben Trewhella muses that “Bristol and the South West have been undergoing a quiet revolution in the gaming space, putting together the natural creativity of artists and designers with the technical abilities of the mobile and games developers in the region.”
With 30 developers and designers joining the Hub in the first 3 months and a recent move to larger offices with capacity for 60, the Games Hub is a creative coup in a global industry worth $70bn and is, according to Ben, already “proving instrumental in sealing the South West’s place in the future of the world’s largest entertainment industry”.
Locate | Create | Innovate
From digital design, branding and publishing to product design, engineering and manufacturing, Bristol and Bath attract globally recognised companies across the creative industry. Future, an award-winning international media company and leading digital content business, started life in Bath with one magazine in 1985. Now it reaches over 52 million consumers every month globally – online, in print and through mobile devices.
“The Bristol and Bath region has built a tremendous reputation for innovation, technology and creativity, with its strong, collaborative educational institutions, its hi-tech industry and its width and depth in the creative sector” says David Sproxton, co-founder of Aardman. “It’s a great place to see the future happening now” – and by now, David means right now.
Earlier in the summer Bath opened a creative co-working space, Bristol’s new innovation hub, the Engine Shed, welcomed its first 60 firms while only a few weeks ago Bath announced plans for a £100m Innovation Quarter. Creative investment is further supported by great national and international transport links and UK tax credit incentives for investment in animation, games, TV and film production.
Reflecting on the growth and success of London’s innovative Tech City hub, their UK Head of Partnerships Tiffany McRae says: “The Bath/Bristol cluster has been a bright spot for innovation for over 30 years and a testament to the strength of the entrepreneurs we have up and down the county.”
The people, the creative powerhouse
But the thing that really makes Bristol and Bath such a vibrant creative region is it’s people. Four prestigious universities churn out a total of 10,000 graduates every year, most of who stay in the area. This regular influx of different thinking helps to stimulate new opportunities, support innovation networks and keep experienced creatives on their toes. Why not come and meet them for yourself? 90 minutes, a fast train, and a good coffee.
By Francesca Wakefield
Creative Industries Sector Champion
Invest in Bristol and Bath
Industry Insights features highly accessible and practical content from experts in the marketing services sector providing you with tools and resources to improve your business performance. If you would like to submit a report to the section contact firstname.lastname@example.org