It is with great pleasure and timely, if not indeed a little overdue, that we are announcing Widening The Register, the new blog space for Creativeworks London (one of four current Knowledge Exchange hubs in the UK funded by the AHRC to bring together arts and humanities researchers and cultural and creative professionals and organisations for long-term mutual benefit). We are doing so to bring to a wider readership the research, narratives, reflections and thoughts that have been emerging from the people and projects we have supported since we first launched in September 2012 and indeed from the wider Creativeworks London partnership.
As is so often the case, publicly funded projects come and go at speed and this one I can confirm is also doing just that. Often such projects leave little visible traces apart from their affects on the people most closely and directly involved at the time and the traces that are left are mostly not well maintained. It is not unusual to find that only a year or two after a project has ended, it can be hard to unravel the stories, actors and implications of the initiative in question, not to mention understanding their longer-term impacts.
The point of establishing Widening The Register, however, is not simply because it behoves us to share and disseminate the really fantastic work that people have been doing, important though that is. It is also because as the network around Creativeworks London grows and matures, those individuals who are part of that also want to share and get out into the world their research, ideas, products, projects, approaches, information, business models and so on.
When we set up Creativeworks London back in September 2012 we knew from past experience – of running LCACE, now The Culture Capital Exchange – that both the research community and the arts, cultural and creative sectors not only have an interest in each other’s work but also in each other’s worlds. Over the last two and a half years, since we set up, we have funded in excess of one hundred collaborative research projects across our three schemes: Creative Vouchers, Researcher-in-Residence and Creative Entrepreneur-in-Residence. In the case of the latter two schemes here, we are in fact almost literally bringing researchers into the worlds of the cultural and creative industries and vice versa. All three collaborative research schemes, whilst on the one hand by no means rocket science, nonetheless have to be developed, supported, even curated, with real care, empathy and attention to detail.
When they work well, which mostly they do, these new schemes catalyse new research, fresh thinking, insights, projects, products and opportunities that would quite simply not otherwise have been able to happen.
Over the remaining 14 months or so of the Creativeworks London project, we hope via Widening The Register, as well as our ongoing monthly e-newsletter, our website and our brand new Youtube channel, to bring to light as much of this work as possible. We are setting out to grow what I hope will be a compelling and important body of evidence on what happens when funding bodies take leaps of faith, when we are enabled to take risks and when we can create new ways of bringing worlds together in ways that are helping to future-proof, expand horizons and truly drive change, aspirations and ambition.
Evelyn Wilson is the Editor of Widening the Register, Creativeworks London’s blog where she is also Head of Knowledge Exchange Programme . She is also Director of The Culture Capital Exchange.