Sometimes life turns full circle. When I first left Durham and set up Guerrilla Working, one of the first contracts I won was to deliver The Rural Cultural Business Innovation Programme, as part of Creative Fuse North East. I say I won it but it was a collaboration with my good friend Justin Souter. It was the first real business that we had pitched for and won. We had great fun delivering it despite the snow and every time I pass the White Swan in Alnwick or the Parish Centre at Hexham Abbey my mind goes back to the sessions. Happy days.
Since then I have kept in touch with the programme, in the main through a good friend Mark, the Project Director for Creative Fuse North East. When he asked me if I would be interested in joining the board for the next phase of the programme, the word yes was out of my mouth before he had finished the question.
Here I was then, a couple of weeks ago, at the inaugural meeting of Creative Fuse North East 2.0. It turned out that I knew most of the people on the board already, including the chair Ed Vaizey, former MP and soon to be Lord. He and I met back in the days when I was involved in the Digital Durham programme. At the time he was MInister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries and he had come up to see what we were up to. We ended up having a sandwich and a cup of tea in my boss’ office.
What then is Creative Fuse? In my mind, it is a coming together of the business and creative sectors, indeed a fuse, to explore the social, economic and innovation value of the region’s creative, digital and IT sector (CDIT).
It was the first meeting and there was a lot to cover, with introductions and governance issues at the fore and it will take a few more meetings to get into the swing of things yet we considered the key needs and issues of the sectors in a Post-COVID-19 world, the project outcomes we should aspire to, the best ways to ensure the project is as equal, diverse and inclusive as possible and how we should respond to, or influence, current and emerging policy both regionally and nationally.
There is a lot to think about and I am looking forward to the next meeting. Thanks Mark.