Creative businesses on Swansea’s High Street and in the wider city centre are being urged to join a new collaborative project aimed at revitalising the area.
The new Creative Focus project has been launched by 4theRegion, a membership alliance working to bring about positive change in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. It will be run from 4theRegion’s new offices at High Street Station.
Swansea Creative Focus is a collaboration between independent businesses, organisations and individuals, helping to support and develop the creative and cultural fabric of the city.
This involves nurturing and championing creative businesses, entrepreneurs and projects, and opening up wider access to creativity, digital tech, arts, crafts and culture for all people, young and old.
The project aims to build on what Coastal Housing and others have achieved in recent years by developing a grassroots eco-system to support the city’s creative economy.
“We define creativity really broadly,” says Pearl Bevan, one of the 4theRegion Changemakers leading the project. “For us, we’re talking about ideas, art, talent, innovation, digital tech, entrepreneurship, making good things happen. Lots of people and businesses are creative, even if they don’t use that word. Barber shops, quirky cafes, street artists, fashion start-ups, musicians, coders – everyone is welcome to be part of Swansea Creative Focus, and we hope they will want to be.”
Activities planned for 2020 include a city centre conference taking place in March, the creation of a High Street newsletter, and numerous events ranging from storytelling sessions to town planning discussions. The group will be engaging with landlords, property owners and leaseholders on High Street to explore opportunities to fill some of the vacant and underused space in the area, and will host networking events to strengthen links between business and the arts in the area.
The group is also planning to share news about what is happening on Swansea’s High Street through podcasts, vlogs and blogs. In the run up to Christmas, members of the project are posting daily blog posts highlighting creative activities taking place on High Street. They can be viewed here: www.swanseacreativefocus.info
As well as focusing on the High Street area, the Creative Focus project aims to boost regeneration in Swansea City Centre as a whole.
Dawn Lyle, founder of 4theRegion, said: “We know that creating a vibrant, creative, inclusive Swansea is key to achieving our economic and social goals for the region. Our mission is to make Swansea City Centre somewhere that people want to be, by involving everyone, engaging communities, and unleashing the talent and potential of people.”
4theRegion started conversations about the future of the City Centre at last year’s Swansea City Centre Conference, which brought together 600 residents and businesses to talk about the challenges and opportunities facing the city. The need to link up and co-promote independent creative and cultural businesses and venues emerged as a key theme during the discussions, as well as the need to nurture creative talent in the city and create a sense of belonging for local residents.
Following this, a Creative Quarter Roundtable event was convened by 4theRegion to continue the conversation, and from here, a working group emerged, to form Swansea Creative Focus.
The City Centre Conference 2020 will be taking place on 31st March at the National Waterfront Museum, and free tickets are available here: http://www.4theregion.eventbrite.com/