Thought Leadership

The Creative Industries in the North West

Creativebrief and How-Do host The Conservative Arts and Creative Industries Network in Manchester.



Creativebrief, and How Do, the North West publisher of news, opinion and resources for the media industry, joined forces with the Conservative Arts and Creative Industries Network (CACIN) to put the spotlight on The Sharp Project. Leaders of the Creative Industries in the North West were invited to attend the event in Manchester, held to coincide with the Conservative Party Conference also taking place in the city.


The Sharp Project is Manchester’s answer to the demand from the creative industries sector to create a new home for digital businesses.

Based on a 250,000 square foot site previously occupied by electronics company Sharp, the £16.5m profit-for-purpose development is backed by Manchester City Council and urban regeneration company New East Manchester.

They have a 6 megawatt power supply with our own non-contended, symmetric “on net” connectivity designed to provide affordable and flexible support for the creative/digital industries.

Speakers for the evening included:

Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communications & the Creative Industries

Paul Duncanson, Group Managing Director, Creativebrief 

Damian Collins MP, Chairman of CACIN

Sue Woodward, keynote speaker for the event and Chairman of the Sharp Project

The Sharp Project is seen as a ‘growbag’ environment that will supply the digital labour market with talent. With a focus on animation, CGI and visual effects, Sharp will bring together small and medium businesses with national and international production companies, providing the opportunity for them to interact in a creative melting pot set up to encourage the exchange of ideas, work and labour.

Directly connected into one of the three big data pipes that connect the UK to North America, The Sharp Project also offers high-speed fibre and high capacity communications, with 1Gb/sec of bandwidth creating even greater connectivity to global markets and with plans to increase it even further to 100GB/sec in the future.

Owned by Manchester City Council and overseen by New East Manchester Ltd, the Sharp Project is delivering affordable business space for small, creative companies provided through converted shipping containers which can be picked up on short-term leases and their number increased or decreased as necessary, a concept designed to replicate the cheap garage offices in California, where Google started out.

There is also large-scale cost-effective studio, office and workshop accommodation on site, with plenty of scope for TV and film recording, with the BBC’s Victorian drama Casualty 1909 filmed on site.

About CACIN.

The Conservative Arts and Creative Industries Network (CACIN) is a networking group that aims to bring stakeholders in the media, creative industries and cultural sectors together with each other and policy makers in the Conservative Party. You don’t have to be a Conservative to attend network events, just interested in the sector and policies that are relevant to it.

Started three years ago by Ed Vaizey MP (now Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries) when he was in opposition, the group grew from an overwhelming interest in Ed’s Weekly Email which gives stakeholders and other interested parties a roundup of the week’s news in Ed’s sectors and his coming and goings.

The network has since taken on a life of its own. After the 2010 General Election, Damian Collins MP (member of the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee) took over as Chairman of CACIN which now focuses on the regular networking receptions, hosted by a variety of different parties, on topics relevant to the sector.

Almost 100 world leading, local, national and international brands and organisations across the creative industries attended, including:

Manchester United Football Club

Microsoft UK




NBC Universal

Time Warner



Virgin Media


Royal Mail


Southbank Centre

The Association for UK Interactive

British Fashion Council

Federation of Music Services


Place North West


Urban Splash

Brilliant media

Fido PR

Creative Communications

Pinewood Studios

Fittings Multimedia Arts

Culture and Creative Industries Network

Cicada Communication

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Liverpool Vision



Ideas Foundation




Digital Radio UK

Osborne & Partners

Brunswick Group LLP

Creative and Cultural Economy

Manchester Confidential

Hanover Communications International

Seven Hills Group

Hybrid Communications

Smoking Gun PR



Inman Design

MEN Arena

Open Road

Dept. Portable Antiquities and Treasure

Mandate Communications

MHP Communications

Thames Valley University

Lexington Communications

Spectrum Strategy


AIR Council

NCC Group

UAL Tory Society

Roland Dransfield

Policy Unplugged

South West Screen

Snap Dragon Consulting





CTI Digital

Market Creative

Hanover communications


New Economy

PH Creative

Company on the run productions

Zen Internet

Donor Clubs

Government Relations Europe

Fittings Multimedia Arts

Department of Enterprise

Trade & Investment



Business of Culture



London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange

The Irish Times

Agon Consulting Limited

Arts and Business

PRS for Music


First Light

The Publishers Association.

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