Creativeworks London was established as a Knowledge Exchange Hub for the Creative Economy in 2012, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It was created through a partnership of 21 universities/research organisations and 22 creative-industry businesses, led by Queen Mary University of London. It has undertaken research into the cultural geographies of innovation in London, London’s changing audiences, and modes of innovation within the digital economy.


Morag Shiach


Creativeworks London (CWL) has undertaken a fascinating range of work over the past four years. Our aim has been to open up new opportunities for collaborative research between creative and cultural SMEs and researchers from the arts and humanities.

We have done this because we believe that collaborative and co-created research can lead to new ideas that make a difference. Our work has supported a diverse range of companies in the creative economy as well as many creative entrepreneurs, allowing them to benefit from working with researchers and research organisations. We have evidence of the many business benefits these collaborations have enabled. We have also created new possibilities for researchers, and particularly early-career researchers, to work with partners in the creative economy so that their research can directly benefit communities beyond the academy. We know this has made a major impact on their research, and built their commitment to working collaboratively in the future.

Our approach has been innovative because we have integrated the research we have undertaken – on the cultural geographies of innovation in London; on the changing nature of London’s audiences; and on London’s digital economy – with our funding schemes. Through ideas pools, research labs, and funded projects, the CWL research team has been able work with SMEs to advance understanding of many of the key challenges and opportunities for the creative economy in London. Research findings have been disseminated through working papers, the CWL blog, films, conferences, and scholarly publications. It has been a pleasure to lead such a creative and dynamic team of colleagues and partners over the past four years.

Professor Morag Shiach,
Creativeworks London

Boost Video


BOOST presents the research methodology, outputs and impacts from a key strand of collaborative research activity undertaken within the Creativeworks London project.  Building on what was learned through an innovation voucher scheme during the first two years of the CWL programme, the BOOST scheme identified the most innovative collaborative research projects funded by Creativeworks London and gave them the opportunity further to develop their research and significantly to enhance their impacts.

BOOST explores five examples of innovative and co-created research involving arts and humanities researchers and SMEs in the creative economy. These draw on a range of disciplines, including Music, Film Studies, Creative Computing, Cultural industries, and Intellectual Property Law. BOOST captures the complex processes of collaborative research and articulates the benefits for researchers and creative industry partners. It highlights the importance and impact of knowledge exchange with the creative economy for a diverse range of audiences.

  1. Beatwoven & Queen Mary University of London: BeatWoven translates sound and music into pixelated patterns that can be woven into fabrics by automated looms. This project explored key IP issues that had inhibited business development and developed the coding/software design.
  1. Fantasy High Street & King’s College London: collaboratively developed the Carrier Crows adventure trail – an RFID wristband project, to test the effectiveness of using a curated trail with digital touch-in points to a) encourage new way-finding pathways around a local area and b) engage with the artistic content of a Festival.
  1. English Touring Opera & Guildhall School of Music and Drama: created a richer online audience experience. Informed by the research results, ETO has been able to revise its digital marketing strategy to better tailor it to the wants and needs of its audiences.
  1. Heart n Soul & Goldsmiths, University of London: Building on the successful testing and launch of the new iPad app that enabled people with learning disabilities to develop their creative ambitions, the team worked through a number of ideas, concepts and prototypes to refine the development of an innovative giving platform.
  1. June Givanni Pan-African Cinema & Birkbeck, University of London & University of the Arts: the Treasures project developed a working model for the archive as a sustainable independent curatorial and archival resource, and an innovative business model for an independent audiovisual archive.
Queen Mary - University of London
Arts & Humanities Research Council
European Union
London Fusion

Creativeworks London is one of four Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to develop strategic partnerships with creative businesses and cultural organisations, to strengthen and diversify their collaborative research activities and increase the number of arts and humanities researchers actively engaged in research-based knowledge exchange.