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Bristol & Bath focus: What's the mood like in the region? The IPA, Creative Skillset and others discuss

As part of The Drum's Blackwell's Britain series of regional features, we catch up with a cross-section of the industry to discuss how the creative communities in Bristol and Bath are feeling about the future. So what's the mood like in the region?

Janet Hull, director of marketing, IPA

Bristol is justifiably proud of its creative heritage, and is posed to increase its share of total UK creative industries output. There is a vibrant creative community, but it could still do more, to unite behind a bigger purpose.

Simon Barbato, managing director, Mr B & Friends

I can only describe it as buoyant. There appears to be a lot of busy agencies in the region across all creative disciplines. My feeling is that the rest of the UK is awakening to the fact that whilst London is the capital of the UK's creative economy, the South West is providing an exciting and attractive alternative. We have recently won significant business that previously would not have come our way against several 'named' agencies. From a business owner's perspective the South West is a highly accessible region – for clients and potential staff, and is a fantastic place to live.

Jill Fear, partnership manager, advertising and marketing communications, Creative Skillset

Extremely (and deservedly) buoyant. The atmosphere is young, creative and vibrant. The very successful Digital Bristol Week in February 2013 has led to the scheduling of Digital Bristol Week in February 2015. This event shows what can be achieved when local commerce, academia, industry bodies and the City Council collaborate.Large national and international companies continue to demonstrate their interest in locating to the area. Digital businesses in Bristol and Bath appear to be thriving and throughout the region there is a strong sense of residents’ appreciation of the quality of their lifestyle.Bristol’s role as European Green Capital in 2015 will stimulate further initiatives and publicity for the city, with City Mayor, George Ferguson taking the lead.


Neil Sims, co-founding partner and MD, Oakwood Agency

In our 20 years in the centre of Bristol there has always a positive creative vibe – there is a proud individualism about the city and it appears regularly in events, music, street art, film and TV work. Business wise, I’d say there is a cautious optimism. Our work is not wholly focused on a local client base so it’s hard to gauge. We rely on the optimism and motivation of global marketing teams, which is still taking time to return to pre-recession levels.

Saman Mansourpour, managing director, The Agency

There are more than 2,500 creative businesses in Bristol and the surrounding area, so it’s pretty easy to gauge the mood of the sector, and right now it’s buoyant. In most cases there seems to be more work than people to do it, and the centralisation of technology into many traditional creative services has played to the strengths of the region's workforce.

Paul Appleby, director, VID Communications, chair of Bristol Media and LEP creative sector group

It’s good – the Bristol Media Barometer Survey shows that across a wide range of creative businesses, 66 per cent of respondents are increasing their profits, and even more have higher turnover and are developing new business. The region is increasingly recognised as being especially creative – the BBC has expanded, Aardman has a feature film underway, and local companies are leaders in the developing games, social media and mobile fields. We’re working together with world-leading expertise in technology, and that’s been recognised by McKinsey, who rate the creative/technology cluster here as one of 31 most important to the UK economy – across all industries.

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