During our first year we offered a programme of ’52 Things’ made with and for the city’s creative community to showcase the fantastic people and places in our city. You can find the full 52 here.

Cardiff is growing.

During the last decade our capital was the fastest growing of the ‘Core Cities’ - membership of which is England’s eight largest city economies outside London, along with Glasgow and Cardiff.

It’s projected to grow by a further 26% (that’s 91,500 people) over the next 20 years.  

Its footprint is also changing and alongside this comes new opportunities and challenges.

The UK Government has agreed in principle a £1.2bn City Deal for the Cardiff Capital Region in partnership with the Welsh Government and 10 local authorities: Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan.

The City Deal will finance investment in infrastructure, skills and employment creation activities. The aim is to increase levels of productivity, prosperity and employment in the Cardiff Capital Region with a target of creating 25,000 jobs over the life of the City Deal. 

The selection of investment priorities is to be informed by an independent Growth and Competitiveness Commission. This will advise on the needs of the Cardiff Capital Region, possible options for development and the principles to be adopted in selecting projects for future investment. Some, such as the Metro, are already built into the bid.

So what does this mean for the creative sector in Cardiff?

We were asked by Dr Adrian Healy of the City Region Exchange and School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University to coordinate a discussion to explore this question.

We invited representatives from acoss the creative sector and friends of Creative Cardiff, including Arts Council of Wales, BBC Wales, Nesta, Wales Millennium Centre, Working Word PR and Tramshed Tech, to join us for a discussion with the aim of feeding in our thoughts to the Commission.

Here’s a waltz through a few of the points made…

We outlined some of the dynamics of the creative sector. The creative economy accounts for around 8% of jobs in the UK. These are the kind of jobs that can’t be automated and tend to be better paid. Our growth rate is three to four times that of the rest of the economy. That set against a stark backdrop of post-industrial uncertainty and stalling productivity, if we get the creative economy right we could go some way to making things better.

We considered the current strengths of the city region and what might be done to stimulate the role of the creative sectors in the future. We offer quality of life, we do events brilliantly, we have big, anchor companies like BBC and WMC that mean that people can get experience on large scale projects. We have excellent venues and producing houses. A strong freelancer resource. And some of the best and often one-of-a kind courses in the UK take place in our universities.

But we need to sort out our narrative - how we talk about the region - and we mean the whole region. Success needs to be inclusive. We need to do more to support micro and medium businesses that might only be looking to grow to employ less than 50 people. We need to connect people better.

Also, who are these people? A huge proportion are freelancers by choice but they can still collaborate across skillsets to do innovative work of scale. We need to be aware in the changes in how people are working. What resources do they need – from high-speed broadband to 3D printers - and where can they be placed and what impact does that have on communities? We need to think across the city region and across generations. Like the metro system, we need to build this into the design of the region.

This won’t be the last we hear of the City Deal and this is just the start of making our case. The Growth and Competitiveness Commission is holding formal hearings in the Cardiff Capital Region in September 2016. In addition, a series of informal workshops and events are being organised around the city region to develop a better understanding of some of the opportunities that could form part of City Deal activities.

It’s important we make sure that the creative sector is considered in how we design the future of our city and how we can be instrument in determining this design. We feel the role the creative sectors can play in contributing to the economic objectives of the City Deal is potentially significant.