Skip to content

CAKE Mix: Christmas CAKE 2018

The Innovation Pilots, placement schemes, ERDF workshops, our conference in July, and many other activities have kept us busy over the last 12 months. With this in mind, we wanted to take a moment of reflection, to look back on all that has been “fused” and look ahead to future sustainability and what New Year might hold.

Christmas CAKE was the ideal opportunity to celebrate all that has been achieved over the last year, as we asked our speakers to share their highlights. We were glad to see such a great interest from the attendants – listening to some businesses share the outcomes of their innovation pilots as well as learning more about academic involvement.

This is what happened on #FuseCAKE – the live-tweeted bulletin and reflections of the Creative Fuse CAKE community.

To introduce the line-up of speakers was our Project Director Mark Adamson, who donned some festive antlers to set the mood.

Principal Investigator, Eric Cross kicked us off with a sneak preview of the data that is being prepared for the final report. Sharing the depth and breadth of sectors reached and disciplines engaged. We’ll be publishing the full report in the New Year, keep an eye on your inbox to read it in full.

Next up was James Hanson, Founder of Layers Studios, who was part of the innovation pilot Green Spaces – an app that collates data on public green spaces and gives users information about accessibility, biodiversity, facilities and security. James showed us a preview of the app and presented plans to expand the project within in the health and wellbeing fields. While James and Green Spaces’ team are looking for further funding, they want to develop the prototype and increase interest and collaboration with data rich users and organisations.

Tackling social challenges was the focus for our next speaker Justin Souter, who outlined the steps of his project ‘Resilience and Authentic Leadership for Entrepreneurs’.

Giving an overview of initial hypothesis made, Justin moved to the lessons that have been learned from the workshops, stressing that there is an important and constant need for entrepreneurs, founders and innovators to look after themselves and their wellbeing.

Digital Heritage was the topic for Matthew Read, Director at the Bowes Centre for Arts, Craft and Design. Matthew received funding to identify opportunities for digital innovation in the Centre’s activity, such as virtual exhibitions and 3D artefact scanning. These new emerging technologies are likely to increase the engagement of visitors and were an opportunity to create educational activities for children.

Matthew treated us to a view of the Roman head pot: a great example that tells us what was like to live and be a person in Roman Britain. It was really exciting to see how the access to this digital copy of the head pot could enable children to look much more closely and in much more detail at the way the artefact is made. This has revealed a fantastic opportunity to better engage and inspire kids.

Our next speaker was David Reay, Chair at the Northern Clothing and Textile Network, supporting six local companies to create Augmented Reality (AR) videos of some of their products.  David showed us the Virtual Catwalk that has been created allowing manufactures the opportunity to  showcase their clothes without the need for models.

Lots of unique results from Creative Fuse’s activities were discussed in next lightening talks from each of the five Universities involved.

Dynamic duo Sam Murray and Paul Stewart from Teesside presented some of the activity from the Tees Valley, where the cultural ecology is shaped by industrial heritage. They also stressed the importance of the Tess Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) and that it has provided support for innovation and new ideas, and ensured culture is a key element of  its strategic economic plan.

In this context, Teesside University plays a civic role and is using its position in the community to explore how culture can improve residents lives through housing and cultural programming. Then, Sam and Paul considered the objective to build a digital culture – looking to 2025 Teesside University aims to continue work with the TVCA on realising its strategic economic plan, as well as working with Fuse partners to explore what further relationships can yield.

Next up, was Lynne Hall from Sunderland University sharing highlights from the placement schemes, that had positive impacts for teaching, research and engagement. The programme involved students drawn from different courses and were extremely beneficial both for students, businesses and SMEs across the region.

Providing a tangible impact, the programme provided students with unique opportunities that could increase their creative skills and employability opportunities (find out more here). Additionally, Lynne outlined that short courses around digital technologies and hackatons built great enthusiasm and commitment to engage in innovation across sectors and disciplines.

Our following speaker, Ladan Cockshut from Durham University highlighted what has been delivered to address the needs of the creative, arts and crafts economy in the rural landscape of County Durham. Ladan talked about the programme “Teach Your Art” which aimed to bring individual support to craftspeople around ways to develop and deliver their work.

In the spirit of building new relationships, Kate showed results from the programme “Get Ready to Innovate” at Northumbria University. Kate offered an overview of important steps the participants went through the programme, which let them to achieve greater confidence and trust. Identifying appropriate time to pause and reflect about themselves and the business, as well as to explore and imagine how to make the process real and tangible, the final step outlined a strategy, to carry out a thorough evaluation of the business.

The question ‘what’s next?’ was the thread which conducted speakers’ talks.

And finally, we were given a likely scenario for the next steps of Creative Fuse by Jonathan Sapsed from Newcastle University. Bringing his previous experience from Brighton Fuse, Jonathan provided an overall vision on key objectives of the Creative Industries Policy Evidence Centre (PEC), Newcastle University leads the Creative Industries and International Competitiveness work strand and it focuses on determining inward investments and responsive projects and commissions.

While we didn’t end singing carols round a tree at our venue Bamburgh House, home to Breeze Creatives art studios, we concluded the event in the sweetest of the ways. Mince pies and a delicious Christmas cake (home-baked by our Project Manager Libby) helped us to keep warm. While a glass of wine and a can of beer could only make the chilled temperature less tough.

Next CAKE Event

Join us next time for CAKE 28: Creative Education, Educating Creatively. This event will focus on exciting new developments and explore what is currently happening across our region and beyond at the intersection of education and creativity. Join us for an opportunity to learn about, explore, and discuss exciting innovations and new opportunities in education and learning across academic, business, and creative settings. And, of course, cake!

Wednesday 23rd January, Calman Learning Centre, Stockton Road, Durham, DH1 3LE