A new collaborative project by 4theRegion changemakers is launching on Swansea High Street this month.  Swansea Creative Focus is a collaboration by independent businesses, organisations and people, taking on the challenge of grassroots regeneration in Swansea City Centre.  The group’s aim is to support and develop the creative and cultural fabric of the city. This involves nurturing and championing creative businesses, entrepreneurs and projects; and opening up wider access to creativity, digital tech, arts, crafts & culture for all people, young and old, across the city.  

Dawn Lyle, founder of 4theRegion, says: “We know that creating a vibrant, creative, inclusive Swansea is key to achieving our economic and social goals for the region.  Our mission is to make Swansea City Centre somewhere that people want to be, by involving everyone, engaging communities, and unleashing the talent and potential of people.”

4theRegion started conversations about the future of the City Centre at last year’s Swansea City Centre Conference, which brought together 600 residents and businesses to talk about the challenges and opportunities facing the city.  The need to link up and co-promote independent creative and cultural businesses and venues emerged as a key theme during the discussions, as well as the need to nurture creative talent in the city and create a sense of belonging for local residents. Following this, a Creative Quarter Roundtable event was convened by 4theRegion to continue the conversation, and from here, a working group emerged, to form Swansea Creative Focus. 

The group hopes to initiate a range of activities, including youth engagement, content creation, community projects for older people, and creative sector mapping, as well as providing a platform through which creative people, businesses and organisations can connect and promote themselves more widely.  The goal is not to replicate anything that partners are already doing in the city, but to build on what Coastal Housing and others have achieved over recent years by developing a grassroots eco-system to support the city’s creative economy.

“We define creativity really broadly,” says Pearl Bevan, one of the 4theRegion Changemakers leading the project.  “For us, we’re talking about ideas, art, talent, innovation, digital tech, entrepreneurship, making good things happen.  Lots of people and businesses are creative, even if they don’t use that word.  Barber shops, quirky cafes, street artists, fashion start-ups, musicians, coders…  everyone is welcome to be part of Swansea Creative Focus, and we hope they will want to be!”

The group intends to hold regular social events in venues on and around the High Street, and says that collaborations and activities will emerge as more people start talking to each other.

“We are not worried about defining exactly what this group will be,” says Stacey Adamiec, creative property strategist and entrepreneur.  “The point is to create an ecosystem of support, to be the “glue” for creative people and organisations, and we think new stories, skills and collaborations will unfold as a result.”

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