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CAKE 35: Creativity and Innovation in the Food & Drink sector



This CAKE event will focus on how creativity and innovation is a key ingredient in the independent food and drink sector.

Food and Drink is not included in the Creative Industries as officially defined, yet it forms part of the Crafts sector and produces genuine innovations and growth. While the major supermarkets and retailers have been the chief winners from the current Covid crisis, smaller producers have had more mixed experiences, yet still have shown resilience.This may be as a result of the re-discovery of traditional crafted food products, valued by consumers, in which the North East is strong, which can feature traditional products but also a mushrooming of innovative new entrants experimenting with exotic flavours with a North East twist.Our CAKE on ‘Creativity and Innovation in the Food & Drink sector’ will focus on local and international perceptions and stories of creativity in the sector, and our speakers will share their experiences about developing innovation capacity and what this can mean for collaboration, for organisational impact, and for wider benefit.

Key themes 

  • Creative-led innovation
  • Organisation and practice change and development
  • Networks, community collaboration and engagement
  • Enterprise and entrepreneurship
  • Insight, awareness and knowledge
  • Co-development and co-creation


Lee Renforth, Brinkburn St Brewery, Bar and Kitchen

Brinkburn St is a small, independent brewery based in Byker, with its own bar and kitchen. The Brinkburn team have a passion for creating and serving great-tasting, locally brewed beer, with their mission to spread the word about the wonders of local beer, to make friends, build a community and bring people together. As they say: “Our beers are like our bairns. We love them dearly and there’s a story behind every one! Our family is growing too, as we bring craft and good old-fashioned graft to every new brew.”

Lee will talk about their production process, the importance of marketing and design to the business, its use of local culture, and adapting the business to new opportunities.

Chris Jewitt, Food and Drink Specialist, DIT and Founder of Food & Drink North East

Food and Drink North East (FADNE) is a community interest company (CIC) made up of local business owners and experts who understand the challenges the sector faces and are working together to solve them. A movement of like-minded people their aim is to build the North East’s reputation as a food and drink destination with heritage, sustainability, innovation and community at its heart.

Chris will talk about the Network, the journey it has gone on so far, and some of the businesses they are working with, and the changes that the Network and local businesses are adapting to in the current environment.

Silviya Svejenova, Professor of Leadership and Innovation, Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark

Silviya conducts research on organizing creativity and innovation, with a current focus including sustainable food futures. Silviya’s research is on organizing and leading for creativity and innovation, with an emphasis on creative industries and power structures, as well as on the emergence and dynamics of new categories and styles. She has studied the gastronomy industry to understand the creative processes and innovation that it produces and has just co-edited a special issue of Organization Studies on “Food Organizing Matters: Paradoxes, Problems, and Potentialities”.

Silviya is Professor in Leadership & Innovation at Copenhagen Business School has a background in organization theory and strategy. She is co-director of imagine.. the Centre for Creative Industries and Institutions, and co-principal investigator of Velux-funded research project “The temporality of food innovation”.



Whatever your professional background, this event is designed to support potential by inspiring new conversations and allowing introductions to take place that will enable collaboration. The event will take place on Zoom, the video conferencing platform. You don’t need to have an account but we recommend that you sign up for a free account and use the desktop app.

If you would like to reserve a place, please click on this link and it will take you to the registration form on Eventbrite.

About CAKE:

CAKE (Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange) is Creative Fuse North East’s monthly networking event, bringing together businesses, freelancers, academics, charities and creative practitioners from across the Creative, Digital and IT sectors and wider economy. Each themed CAKE event has expert speakers delivering short presentations that explore opportunities and innovation challenges. The events generate debate, explorative discussion and stimulate new innovative ideas by looking at each event’s theme from a variety of different perspectives – in keeping with the event name, attendees enjoy a slice of delicious cake while they network.*

“Not only was the event interesting and enjoyable but, for my company, it was an opportunity to make new connections. It has created new opportunities for Living Archive Limited, at a time in the company’s development where such opportunities are crucial for survival… The CAKE event was a chance to step back for a moment and focus on the bigger picture, and this has been very valuable to me.” [Dr. Nick Williams
Founder, Living Archive Limited]

*[when we return safely to in-person events]

[Image courtesy of / Priscilla Du Preez]