Arts and Humanities Research Council welcomes new Creative Economy Champion

Date: 09/12/2016

The Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC)1 first ever Creative Economy Champion, Professor Andrew Chitty, will start in this new role from January 2017, working to foster new and exciting partnerships between academics and the rapidly growing creative industry, which is worth £84 billion to the UK economy2.

Professor Chitty, who will be taking up a new professorial role in Creative and Digital Economy at Royal Holloway, University of London3, will help to shape the AHRC’s involvement in supporting and developing the UK’s Creative Economy.

The main focus will be on enhancing and extending the AHRC’s reach in the creative economy, emphasising the importance of arts and humanities research in generating impact across the sector, ranging from micro-businesses to large corporations During his three-year post at the AHRC, Professor Chitty will focus on helping to develop thinking around research in the creative economy, building innovative new partnerships and championing the importance of collaboration in this important sector of the UK economy.

Professor Andrew Chitty said: “There’s never been a time where awareness of the social and economic impact of the Creative Economy and its potential for economic growth has been higher. It’s not just about what we think of as the core creative Industries but the value that creative, design, and content skills add to other sectors like health, manufacturing, and education.

“I see this role as about bringing people together, sharpening the argument, and making the case for creative research and innovation across government, industry and academia.”

With three decades of experience in the creative industries, Professor Chitty’s career began in television, where he focussed on the cultural impact of science and technology before founding his first company, a multiple BAFTA-winning digital agency that created transformational digital services for clients across the creative economy from the National Theatre to the devolved administrations, museums and galleries, to the NHS. He is a former Vice Chair of the producers’ trade body PACT, a board member of Creative Skillset, and a founding director of Creative England. Andrew has also worked across policy and regulation as a ministerial advisor and non-executive at OFCOM, and more recently worked with InnovateUK, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and the National Council for Universities and Business to explore the area of Digital Health where creative, digital and clinical skills meet.

Professor Chitty, added, “I’m not a traditional academic, but whether working in practice, in business or in policy, I’ve always been an avid consumer of research. With all this practical experience, I want to build on the AHRC’s previous Creative Economy investments to achieve a step change in the interaction between the UK’s world class research community and its world leading creative economy talent, institutions, and businesses."

Professor Andrew Thompson, Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, said: “I am thrilled to have Andrew Chitty join us as our first ever Creative Economy Champion. The research funded by the AHRC is a key factor to the success of the UK’s creative economy, and I look forward to Chitty’s leadership of this priority area.”

The creative economy has been identified as a key priority area by the AHRC, and embraces the creative industries and the cultural sector ranging from art, design, and heritage, to gaming, music, and the film industry.

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For further press information, images and for an interview with Andrew Chitty, please contact Natasha Stanton, Press and Social Media Officer, on 01793 416082 or n.stanton@ahrc.ac.uk

Notes to editors

  1. Arts and Humanities Research Council funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98 million to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits and contributes to the economic success of the UK but also to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe. You can find out more information via ahrc.ac.uk or following us on Twitter at @ahrcpress, on Facebook at Arts and Humanities Research Council, or Instagram at @ahrcpress.
  2. The UK creative industries are worth an estimated £84.1 billion for the UK economy: In March 2014, the AHRC’s Creative Economy Showcase reported that the creative economy supported 1.68 million jobs in 2012 (5.6 per cent of the UK’s total). The creative economy also accounted for over £16bn in exports every year, and employment in the UK creative industries increased by 8.6 per cent between 2011 and 2012 – a much higher rate than for the economy as a whole. In June 2016 the UK’s Creative Industries Council highlighted that the UK continues to have a ‘world-class reputation for creative output’, and in November, the British Film Industry launched its new five-year vision - an industry worth £1.4bn in 2015, according to the Department of Culture, Media, and Sports.
  3. The Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London is ranked in the top 10 in the UK for research quality (REF 2014). With a combination of experts in theory and practice, courses blend a creative and critical approach to study film and media across undergraduate and postgraduate study. A wide range of MA programmes provide professional training, practical experience, industry connections and opportunities from staff who are leading industry figures. Royal Holloway, University of London, is ranked in the top 30 of all UK universities. Through world-class research that expands minds and changes lives, the dedication of our teachers and the feel of the Royal Holloway experience, ours is a community that inspires individuals to succeed academically, socially and personally. Andrew Chitty will be joining the Department of Media Arts as Professor of Creative and Digital Economy.

The AHRC currently has eight Leadership Fellows covering strategic priorities or thematic areas such as science in culture, digital transformations and connected communities. Three new theme fellows covering design, heritage and modern languages will take up their posts in January 2017.

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