All change at King's Cross creative transfer hub

July 8, 2010

In an unassuming spot in King's Cross, one of the until-now less salubrious areas of central London, a new type of knowledge exchange is taking place.

The Centre for Creative Collaboration, launched last month, wants to be known not just as a place for knowledge transfer, but as "a more engaged concept that accepts that the flow of knowledge is and should be multilateral".

It was conceived and launched by the University of London, and has undergone what its vice-chancellor, Sir Graeme Davies, called a "complex and interesting evolution", bringing together researchers and students, creative industry practitioners and small and medium-sized businesses to conceive, develop and deliver new collaborative projects.

C4CC, as it is known, has been nearly four years in the making. Sir Graeme said it was established as an attempt to determine "whether it is possible to do something (in the creative industries) that is a bit like a science and technology hub, but in a slightly more imaginative way".

As well as the University of London, the centre's backers include the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Complexity Partners and the London Development Agency, all of which Sir Graeme praised for supporting a "woolly set of concepts that have slowly evolved into focus".

Brian Condon, founder of Complexity Partners, explained that Hefce, not knowing how the centre would be received, set an "unambitious" target of getting 200 people through the doors in the first nine months. In fact, more than 1,000 people have used it in half that time.

C4CC can be used by any local university, and its future looks secure thanks to the involvement of Geoffrey Crossick, warden of Goldsmiths, University of London, who is due to succeed Sir Graeme as vice-chancellor in September.

Many of C4CC's ideals have been influenced by a lecture that Professor Crossick gave in 2006, in which he said: "Rather than being formed and then transmitted to others, knowledge in the creative economy is constituted within the interaction itself and it is from that engagement that value itself is derived."

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