THE term ‘creative hubs’ may be quite new, but according to The Creative Hubs Report: 2016 by the British Council, these particular hubs are rapidly growing worldwide.
The council defines a creative hub as “a place, either physical or virtual, which brings creative people together … providing space and support for networking, business development, and community engagement within the creative, cultural and tech sectors”.
Through their services and/or facilities, creative hubs offer short- or long-term support to ideas, projects, organisations, and businesses they host, such as events, skills development, capacity building, and global opportunities.
They also facilitate collaboration and networking among communities; connect with research and development centres, institutions, creative and non-creative industries; communicate and engage with a wider audience; champion emerging talents; and encourage the spirit of risk-taking and innovation.
Creative hubs exist in various types, shapes, and sizes. They are established depending on factors including geographic placement, cultural context, community requirements, and unique funding model.
In Malaysia, these hubs can be physical, transient or online, and come in forms of studio/art collective; co-working space; workshop; incubator/residency; event space/performance venue; gallery; network; event organiser; and many others.
Examples of creative hubs here in Sarawak, as listed by Creative Hubs Malaysia (creativehubs.my), are Borneo Bengkel, Borneo Laboratory @ Borneo Art Collective, HAUS KCH, Rainforest World Music Festival, Rainforest World Music Festival Fringe, the Tuyang Initiative, and What About Kuching.
Each creative hub has its own focus, be it a place to learn new skills with technology, a space for creatives to share their work with the audience and each other, or a platform for interdisciplinary dialogues and cultural exchange.
Yet all creative hubs share one commonality: they enable communities of people to gather under one roof to share spaces, ideas, and resources.
Having worked with more than 800 creative hubs worldwide since 2014, the British Council views these hubs as integral in the progress of the creative economy by gathering, supporting, and representing creative communities.
Research conducted for The Creative Hubs Report: 2016 lists numerous positive impacts that creative hubs produce for the community and economy, including start-up ventures, jobs, new products and services, talent development, urban regeneration, quality of life enhancements, and resilience.
Despite their contribution, creative hubs are in need of greater support as many are independently operated with limited funds; in Malaysia, the public may not be aware of their positive impacts or even their existence.
Thus, while we continue to comprehend the importance of the digital economy, let us consider the potential that creative hubs have in contributing to a nation’s socioeconomic progress.
We can get involved by joining these hubs as creative practitioners, attend events organised by creative hubs as participants, or follow them on social media as supporters of the creative industry.
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