Building strong research links between the UK and China


In the last twenty years the UK and China have witnessed extraordinary growth in their creative industries, partly fuelled by the digital revolution. High-quality research is increasingly being recognised as a core ingredient to help support and sustain the future development of the new small businesses and start-up’s at the heart of this sector.

As part of the Pujiang Innovation Forum, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) organised one of two Research Council UK roundtables, to discuss the creative economy, where opportunities for UK-China collaboration were discussed.

Academics and people from the creative industries in the UK and China used the roundtable to focus on opportunities to build greater links and start conversations about the importance and impact of research in this dynamic part of the economy in both countries.

Professor Andrew Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of the AHRC, commented: “This important roundtable generated a lot of energy and very constructive discussions about how the UK and China can work closely together. The sheer breadth of arts and humanities research is important both to the culture sector and the dynamic areas such as Intellectual Property and copyright.

“Across the world the creative industries are becoming the engines of growth, helping to foster greater international collaboration. There is a really strong synergy between the fast-pace of change and the search for a broad base of talent to keep the creative economy running and the promotion of diversity, community cohesion and regional regeneration.”

Andrew Thompson spoke at the Culture Forum on the subject of creativity as a springboard for innovation. He explored the different drivers for creativity in the economy, the relationship between creativity and diversity, and the ways in which arts and humanities research feed the creative industries with a breadth and depth of cultural content. He suggested that culture and creativity needed to be mainstreamed in three key spheres of policy: thinking about industrial strategy, thinking about economic growth and productivity, and thinking about the relationship between research and innovation.

The AHRC and Shanghai Theatre-Academy have agreed to extend and renew their partnership, which will continue to promote the very successful International Placement Scheme and explore wider collaboration opportunities between the two organisations, such as annual workshops on the creative economy.

Rebecca Bailey, Head of Education and Outreach at Historic Environment Scotland, who was part of the delegation to China, said: “Working in collaboration with academic and museum sector colleagues in China has proved to be a stimulating experience for Historic Environment Scotland, bringing new perspectives on our collections as well as our working methods.

“The roundtable was a great opportunity for me and my Chinese research partner to share our experience with others facing similar challenges and enjoying comparable rewards. It was enlightening to hear about other collaborations and to start to explore new relationships and potential joint working.”

source: Arts and Humanities Research Council