People sat at a conference


Published 16 November 2022 at 2:28pm

by Sally Kneeshaw

South Yorkshire creative and cultural stakeholders recently came together to share ambitions to put the sector at the heart of regional growth.

On the 4th of October 46 participants joined the latest workshop, led by SYCMA, to advocate for the creative and cultural industries, and to work together to define interventions that will secure momentum.

Asked to come up with a quick slogan for such a movement the idea of ‘No boundaries’ came up, meaning both overcoming geographical and sectoral boundaries, but also the freedom to create, to share stories and increase visibility.

Opening the meeting Kate Brindley of SYMCA emphasised the need to continue dialogue and bring the voice of the community to decision makers, who are firmly committed to inclusive growth.

“Our new South Yorkshire Mayor is a keen advocate of creative and cultural sectors, with a clear commitment in his manifesto”

Iain Bennett of The Fifth Sector presented the results of research recently commissioned to understand the sector in more detail. The data will be made available via our Arts, Culture and Heritage page on the MCA website at in due course.

Then in workshop format participants explored the most pressing challenges and came up with ideas for interventions and investment. There was an emphasis on the value of regional networks, and the right spaces for both online and offline communities.

Dialogue around the business support landscape included making sure this is designed and driven with the businesses themselves, with a ‘no wrong door’ policy to make it accessible and available to everyone. Ideas are more important than business plans, requiring flexible models of support.

There is still a perception that the sector does not provide viable employments path. Those assumptions need to be challenged and skills pathways need to be built at all levels, through education and professional development, to ensure a pipeline of the right technical and creative skills.

Potential initiatives were discussed to better support the large numbers of freelancers. Another suggestion was to roll out diversity and inclusion training and undertake outreach to tap into the creative potential of currently underrepresented communities.

To end the session participants shared their own commitments and actions, for instance related to communicating the uniqueness of the region and shouting about South Yorkshire. Examples included:

“Enable and support cross sector collaboration to emphasise South Yorkshire's unique and distinctive character”

“Be bold in starting new things and making it happen”

“Show unique stories that will resonate nationally and internationally and support cultural vibrancy in South Yorkshire”

Tracey Johnson of Barnsley Digital Media Centre, co-lead of the initiative, concluded:

‘It’s been absolutely brilliant to see this growing coalition of the willing and the strong appetite to contribute to changing the economic landscape in South Yorkshire’


Last Updated: 18/11/2022

Published In: Arts, Culture, Heritage