Our list of up and coming UK hotspots for creative talent – that aren’t London, Manchester, Edinburgh or Bristol.
Historically, everybody has flocked to London for the best creative opportunities, like moths to a smoggy inferno… If we’re honest though, the accompanying monster of a price tag is not so inspiring and thousands of young creatives are seeking fresh (& cheaper) pastures.
According to this handy study, the capital isn’t actually the most creative place in the UK, based on the number of creative jobs, venues and galleries per 10,000 people. Can you guess the country’s artiest city?
Top of the study’s leaderboard is Edinburgh – no surprise there, really, with the Ed Fringe being a huge marker in many creatives’ calendars. Next is Brighton, home of the YouTube elite and colourful beach-houses, closely followed by Oxford which, let’s face it, is full of very smart people.
Manchester, Glasgow and Bristol are all big creative hubs too. But if you don’t like large cities, can’t afford the higher rents, or want to get involved in something just about to take off, where should you go?
Here are four creative landmines about to boom.
Folkestone – the south-east’s free art school
Banksy declared Folkestone the next Bristol when he baptised it with street art in 2014. The town’s creative quarter is thriving after receiving huge funding from local investors. Renovations to the harbour arm, as well as The Quarterhouse theatre, are key attractions and the old high street is brimming with new boutiques, galleries and cafés. 2017 was the Folkestone triennial; artists such as David Gormley and Richard Woods contributed installations and unique pieces to further boost the town.
Norwich – the east’s culture capital
Home to the most theatre and concert venues per person, Norwich’s art scene is thriving. One of the driving forces behind this is its art centre, hosting gigs, photography exhibitions, lectures and more. As a medieval city, there is plenty of history to inspire you in UNESCO’s first City of Literature. For artists, there are huge craft fairs, including a new vintage and creators market to sell your work at and keep the creative dream alive.
York – the north’s artistic veteran
…is having a revival. The beautiful city, surrounded by 13th century medieval walls, is bursting with history that is inspiring a new creative community (and some illuminating ghost tours). Creative York is your first stop, leading a program that supports and runs competitions for writers and artists. There’s even a research study being conducted at York University looking into the creative process and creative economy.
Bournemouth – the south west’s creative tech hub
Nicknamed Silicon Beach for its innovative buzz, and now with a two-day festival to match, Bournemouth is flourishing. Its Arts by the Sea festival is also growing rapidly and their green, sustainability mission is working to nurture our planet as well as our inspiration. One of the UK’s quirkiest museums, the Russell-Cotes house, makes for an enchanting muse and the town’s two creative universities are producing top talent for a huge number of arts and tech start-ups.
With these four creative hubs outside of London growing every day, just imagine what the artistic scene in the UK could look like in a few years. Wouldn’t it be great to be a part of that revolution?
Feature Photo by James Connolly.
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