About Us

What is Creative Network South?

Open Studios

Creative Network South (CNS) is working to develop the creative industries in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Our prime focus is the attraction and retention of creative talent.

CNS acts as an advocate for the creative economy and with our partners we work to support the development of creative businesses.

The UK defines creative industries as-

“Those industries that are based on individual creativity, skill and talent with the potential to create wealth and jobs through developing intellectual property”.

The Government definition of Creative Industries include:- Advertising and Marketing ,  Architecture, Craft,  Design, Film TV Video Radio and Photography, IT Software and Computer Services, Publishing, Museums Galleries and Libraries, Music Performing and Visual Arts.


  • History

    Creative Network South (CNS) was established 2012 in response to the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) creative industries development framework.

    Our achievements include:

        • Business Support – Recently, CNS has established a partnership with Hampshire Chamber of Commerce to develop sector specific business support for creative entrepreneurs using the Solent Growth Hub.
        • Workspace – in partnership with the arts organisation “a space”, CNS has established a network of studio providers supporting over 300 artists and creative businesses.
        • Employment and Skills – CNS has supported Artwork to develop a range of programmes to create open and accessible pathways to employment including pre-employment initiatives, apprenticeships, and paid internships.

    Our ambition is to drive a sector led approach to creative industry development in Hampshire.

This is where you can find our latest news stories from across the Network.

January 2017

Introducing Portsmouth’s first public Makerspace

The Maker’s Guild started as a collaborative piece of University research on creating a Makerspace in the city of Portsmouth. This has developed into a business that looks to provide a space to inspire the next generation of design innovators.

Makerspaces are public environments where cross-disciplinary creative practitioners are based, with access to traditional & modern manufacturing tools to create physical objects. They form part of the local community acting as a place to bring people together, to collaborate and inspire in an environment that facilitates design innovation through the act of making, collaborative working and access to tools which help accelerate the design process & the fabrication of ideas.

Globally, there are over 2000 version of Makerspaces. More than 200 of them are in the UK. These Makerspaces have greatly affected the economics of the immediate & surrounding areas they occupy. Members using the space create commercial products, enabling small businesses to grow, providing workforce training and changes in the community.

Thanks to the Portsmouth Cultural Trust, The Maker’s Guild now has a home in the Guildhall, Portsmouth.  The facility will be open in early Spring 2017, providing professional designers, artists and makers, hobbyists, graduates, schools and the wider community with:

  • Dedicated studio workstations
  • Flexible touchdown workspace
  • Access to tools & machinery
  • Spaces to teach & attend participatory workshops
  • Digital fabrication (3D printing & Scanning, Laser cutting)
  • Shared meeting, relax & discussion areas
  • Exhibition and display space
  • Project & material storage
  • Access to materials and parts

Alongside this we will develop workshops that will have social impact on the local community by offering tailored creative engagement sessions that would be available for all to take part in. These would range from small activities within the makerspace to improve skills, improve confidence and well being, enhance, community cohesion and provide residents opportunities to take part in a large creative group activity that can connect within the wider community.

Access to the facility will be on a membership basis, with varying membership types including; Full access membership, Hot-desking and day passes. The Makerspace will be open Monday to Friday from 9am – 8pm and Saturdays 10am-4pm. For more information please visit www.makers-guild.com or contact us on info@makers-guild.com

December 2016

Creative Network South is delighted to be supporting the 2017 Film Expo South. The Expo will take place on Friday 3rd February and will again be held at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton.

Held at the AGEAS Bowl in Southampton, the programme was packed with events from 10am to 11pm with talks, book signings, screenings, panel discussions, and much more.

FILM EXPO SOUTH provided filmmakers with the opportunity to network throughout the day and into the evening with live music and entertainment.

The entire day brought together the wealth of film making talent that is right here in the South; all under one roof, all on one day. We are here to make it happen, help filmmakers connect and attract more film productions to the South and to share in the sheer enjoyment of the craft we all know and love.

If you are a filmmaker you’d probably be wise to book your Early Bird ticket to make sure you’re seen at the filmmakers platform for the South Coast.
Already with over 40 speakers booked for February 2017, you certainly won’t be disappointed!
Get ready to Create, Inspire and Engage with your fellow filmmakers and let’s start ‘Making Movie Magic’

If you would like to support this exciting new event, don’t keep this information to yourself, spread the word, let your filmmaking friends and colleagues know. We are building a filmmaking platform on the South Coast.”

For more information and tickets, visit: www.filmexposouth.co.uk
For news and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @filmexposouth

November 2016

Globe Fit gets into training for growth

In April Creative Network South launched a partnership with Creative United to prepare investment ready businesses for growth. Hannah Murphy, the founder of Globe Fit, attended the launch and registered with Creative United for advice from the creative finance initiative. This is her story. “I founded my company Globe Fit in 2013 after spending several years travelling the world, experiencing various cultures and training as a fitness and dance teacher. I started out with just one fitness class a week in my local village hall. The demand for my fitness classes quickly grew. My adults and children’s hula hoop classes were particularly popular. I quickly realised that to meet demand I would need to offer more classes as well as train up other people to teach them. This is when I decided to write my own instructor training programme and licence the brand. The instructor training programme has taken three years to develop. Over this period, I travelled across the UK and Ireland training instructors. There are now almost 40 teachers in total who teach under the Globe Fit brand. The brand is now looking at expanding into Europe and the U.S.A. and I have since added more branches to the Globe Fit umbrella, such as the Globe EAT programme and the Globe Fit SPA range which is currently under development. Up until now the business has been 100% reliant on my own personal funds and as it has grown beyond the initial startup phase I have been seeking funding. This year I came across Creative United and I applied for business funding with them. The scheme is wonderful as I have been assigned a mentor to help guide me in writing a viable business plan and develop financial forecasts for the next five years. When I have decided the best way ahead Creative United will work with me to attract appropriate funding.” The 2016 creative finance initiative business advice programme is now oversubscribed, but we are hoping a new programme will be launched in 2017. Details are available from the creative finance initiative website https:// www.creativeindustryfinance.org.uk/.

October 2016

Support for graduate filmmakers

Southampton based film charity City Eye now has even more to offer the region’s aspiring filmmakers. Working in collaboration with Southampton Solent University and with support from Creative Network South it is extending the equipment available under its loan scheme for graduates and others developing their careers in the industry. The initiative sits alongside the company’s commitment to provide training, development and showcase opportunities for local film talent and heralds the exciting events and new facilities which City Eye will offer when it moves to Studio 144, Southampton’s new arts complex, early in 2017. Susan Beckett, Executive Director of City Eye, is delighted that in the charity’s 30th year of supporting those seeking to work in film and media, its equipment offer is improved. “Graduates will face many challenges on their route to employment or establishing businesses and by providing affordable access to equipment we can help to address at least one of those.” Micah Gates, Head of Technical Support and Specialist Facilities at Southampton Solent University adds that “Solent has always had a great relationship with City Eye and other local arts groups and charities – it’s a very important way too engage with the local community. Recently we have been exploring a solution to supporting graduates when they leave us by working much more closely with City Eye. When students graduate they can no longer access equipment they have come to rely on during their studies. By supporting City Eye to offer some key equipment we can provide that important boost to their early career. The scheme is a fantastic benefit to graduates as well as local community filmmakers.” Susan Beckett hopes that other local universities and businesses will also invest in the scheme in order that many more of the region’s graduates can benefit. “The region produces such talented practitioners and it’s always disappointing when graduates feel there are not opportunities for them if they stay here – working together we can really address this!” To access or support the scheme contact City Eye at www.city-eye.co.uk/filmmker-support or by calling 023 8071 1672.

September 2016

Portsmouth set to celebrate innovation, passion and creativity in business

The creative and digital sectors form the fastest growing segment in the Solent economy. The sectors employ over 20,000 people and support over 5,000 businesses. One thousand of these businesses have been established in the past five years. Creative Network South and KnowNow Information Ltd will jointly host a workshop at the Portsmouth Access to Finance and Growth Summit run by Entrepreneurs Unite on 14th September. Places at the summit are free. To make a booking please look up “Access to Finance and Growth” on Eventbrite – or via this link: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ access-to-finance-and-growth-tickets-21045540779. The first section of the workshop will be run by Chris Cooper and David Patterson of KnowNow Information Limited. Creative Network South and Hampshire Chamber of Commerce will sponsor an award to be presented at the summit for the most innovative creative or digital business. Winners will be featured in a future edition of Business News. Nominations for the award should be sent to Charlesgjfreeman@msn.com.

August 2016

Cell Block Studios – supporting creative businesses

Cell Block Studios is a new and exciting incubation space, opening in summer 2016 and designed specifically to support creative and cultural industry businesses in Portsmouth. Situated in the cultural surroundings of Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, the building will use its iconic status as a former jailhouse to provide office and co-working space for start-up and new businesses working in the creative sector. Companies working from the space and also members of the local creative community will have access to bespoke training, workshops and mentoring schemes, designed to cultivate sustainability, economic growth and job creation in the region. The project has come to fruition as a result of collaboration between the University of Portsmouth and the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, supported with funding from the Regional Growth Fund and the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire. To find out more call 023 9284 7000, visit: www.cellblockstudios. org.uk or e-mail hello@ cellblockstudios.org.uk

June 2016

Launch event for creative industry businesses a big success

On Thursday 7th April the University of Portsmouth Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries hosted the launch of the Creative Network South and Creative United business advice and access to finance service. Nearly 80 individuals attended the evening which saw presentations from the University of Portsmouth, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, New Theatre Royal and Creative United. The aim of the event was to raise awareness of a new initiative aimed at providing access to business mentoring and finance for creative industry companies which are based in the Solent region. The evening opened with a welcome from Peter Hooley, Project Director of Innovation Space, who spoke about the University’s commitment to supporting its students, graduates and the local community, in helping promote start‑ups and small businesses with the intention of strengthening the regional economy. Stewart Dunn, Chief Executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, championed the Solent as one of the fastest growing regions for creative industry businesses and talked about how its location near to London and mainland Europe can be part of its strength in developing the area for success in the creative economy. The evening then saw Laura Doye, Producer for the Creative Lab at New Theatre Royal, demonstrate the success of creative industries meeting commercial businesses to form new and exciting projects. The audience saw a video where a local ‘hoofer’ or tap dancer, worked to promote the launch of a new car range, helping emphasise her point of the opportunities for the two groups to collaborate. The final presentation of the evening was delivered by Sarah Thirtle, Head of Business Lending Programmes at Creative United, who talked through the initiative and how local creative businesses can access the support available. The programme aims to increase access to finance and improve the business skills and commercial acumen of participants to help develop successful and sustainable businesses. Following the presentations, attendees were able to talk with business advisors from Creative United, network with local businesses and arts organisations, and take part in tours of the facilities that students are able to use during their studies. To find out more about the business advice and access to finance available, you can view the Creative United www.creativeunited.org.uk and the Creative Industry Finance www.creativeindustryfinance.org.uk websites.

May 2016

Culture Southampton

These are exciting and challenging times for Southampton, and Southampton Cultural Development Trust (Culture Southampton) is a key driver in the city’s plans for regeneration through transformational cultural initiatives. These plans including the soon-to-be opening of the £24 million new arts complex, Studio 144, that will bring inspiration, opportunity and enjoyment for Southampton’s residents and visitors, and help to establish the city as a major cultural destination. The Trust was originally founded to support the development of the Cultural Quarter, through fundraising and advocacy. With the appointment of its first Director, James Gough, in November 2015, the Trust has taken on a wider role, supporting arts and culture within the whole city to work together, maximising the potential of Southampton’s cultural infrastructure, and providing strategic direction. Culture Southampton and its partner organisations share an ambition for Southampton to achieve a distinct, local, regional and national profile as a centre for artistic and cultural activity and creativity. Our key proposition is that the development of a vibrant, creative cultural life, and the corresponding change in Southampton’s image and reputation, is of huge value to any organisation working in the Southampton area, and particularly to employers, seeking to attract and retain talent to the city. It is a change that cannot be achieved by any individual organisation acting alone but one that requires a concerted, collective commitment. Culture Southampton recognises the importance of attracting and supporting creative industries within the city. Alongside increasing public engagement in arts and culture, and improving communications and the profile for the city, we are working on two major work themes to improve access to affordable work space, as well as developing opportunities to increase the capacity of emerging organisations and individuals to explore and support their growth. If you are interested in finding out more please visit www.culturesouthampton.org.uk or email james.gough@culturesouthampton.org.uk.

April 2016

Creative Industry Finance

Creative United provides a range of financial products and services designed to enable the growth and development of the UK’s cultural and creative industries. We are thrilled to be partnering alongside Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and the Creative Network South, to support the continued growth of creative and cultural companies in and around the Solent. Our Creative Industry Finance (CIF) programme has delivered around 1,000 hours of free, 1-to-1 business advice and guidance to nearly 200 creative enterprises and cultural organisations across England. We are very proud to say that we’ve introduced our clients to in the region of £300,000 of business development loans accessed from our lending partners. If you’re running a creative or cultural company and you’re looking at ways to expand, diversify or become more selfsufficient, then we look forward to hearing from you. We’ll be taking part in a number of events across your region, providing the opportunity for you to find out more about what we do, and to try a business advice taster session. Visit www.creativenetworksouth.co.uk for more details, or head to our website www.creativeindustryfinance.org.uk to find out more about the programme.

March 2016

Looking for a creative employee? Think creative apprenticeships!

More and more employers are welcoming apprentices into their businesses, creating more opportunities than ever for young people to get inside some of the most exciting and innovative companies in the country. Since 2010, there have been over two million apprenticeship starts in England with apprenticeships available in over 170 industries including aerospace, fashion, broadcast media and finance. Apprentices aren’t just about people hours – they are an opportunity to develop a company. Locally, there are growing opportunities for employers and young people across Hampshire, and Hampshire’s cultural and creative sectors are feeling the real benefit of creative apprenticeships. Since 2012 Artswork has worked with creative and cultural industry employers, the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire, Creative Network South and the Sector Skills Council, Creative and Cultural Skills, to create 50 new jobs. Jane Bryant, CEO of Artswork, says: “With an apprenticeship, young people grow from school-leavers to employees – gaining a range of transferable skills and new-found confidence. Employers enjoy fresh, driven and developing stay; adding a new employee to their workforce creates a new sense of dynamism and energy. They gain useful insight and new ideas, as well as connectivity with a younger generation.” Hampshire companies who have benefited from a creative apprentice include the Nuffield Theatre, the D-Day Museum Portsmouth, Portsmouth Guildhall, and Mayflower Theatre. But it’s not just arts venues that can benefit; businesses with a creative process such as design, marketing, media, architecture or film production have felt the benefit. The potential is there for most businesses engaging in creative processes to benefit from a creative apprentice – but also for any business to consider how an apprentice might enhance their workforce. If you are interested in a creative apprentice email info@artswork.org.uk or call 023 8033 2491.

February 2016

Why the creative economy is booming in Hampshire

The creative industries contribute £5 billion to the Hampshire economy. Creative industry employment is also growing faster than in any other sector. At first these statistics appear surprising, but on reflection some reasons for the creative boom become clearer. 20 years ago PCs were newcomers in offices and homes. Few people had internet access. Websites were hardly used by businesses. E-commerce was a fantasy. Most homes had access to just five TV channels and mobile phones were rare. Now, almost all businesses have a website (many include film and interactive content). Online sales on Black Friday 2015 exceeded £1 billion. Freeview offers over 60 channels and smart phones have become the key gateway to social media. This explosion in demand for creative content is global. UNESCO estimates trade in creative goods doubled between 2002 and 2011. Demand for design, the written word, images, film, sound and performance is being generated both by individuals with more to spend on leisure and businesses wishing to add value to products and promote brand identity. This demand has in turn opened an unprecedented accessible business opportunity. In the creative sector you don’t need much capital to set-up business. With skill, flare and a laptop you can start trading from home. Low startup costs are a key reason why creatives top many business incubation league tables. Since the 60s London has built a reputation as the world’s creative capital. However in order to escape escalating costs creative businesses have radiated along railways and motorways. The broadband facilitated trend towards homeworking has accelerated this process. Improving transport connectivity, relatively affordable accommodation and a high quality of life has made Hampshire a hotspot for creative industry growth. In October Hampshire Chamber of Commerce became the host organisation for Creative Network South. CNS is a group of creative businesses, universities and community organisations working to promote the interests of the creative industries in Hampshire. Over the coming months we will highlight local business success stories and explain work being done to make Hampshire a great place to build a creative enterprise.

Meetings and Minutes

Agendas and minutes for the Creative Network South’s meetings during 2014 and 2015 are listed below.