Redressing the UK’s creative industries’ London-centricity

Creativity is thriving across the UK – not just in London. So why aren’t design students hearing about it?

Since we’ve all adapted to pandemic-enforced remote working, the outdated idea that a studio’s credibility is tied to its bricks and mortar or big-city location seems to finally be on the wane. 

And while the UK’s creative industries are still undoubtedly London-centric, the shakeup of people’s approaches to life and work have helped underscore the fact that design is flourishing away from the capital – and not just because the rents are cheaper. Creativity is booming up and down the UK: the problem is, we often just don’t hear about it.

THE ART SCHOOL PROBLEM

Many designers say that the sense that they have to move to London to succeed in their careers and make brilliant work comes out of university.  “It very much felt like if you wanted to be a really successful designer, you have to go to London,” says Aimee Thompson, co-founder of Newcastle-upon-Tyne studio Beom, who studied graphic design at Northumbria University. “I don’t even remember seeing any places in Newcastle that you could apply to – even though there were obviously plenty around. It’s not that [non-London studios] were discouraged, they just weren’t talked about.”

SENIOR DESIGNER

MANCHESTER