Weave TownTalk Programme
The Creative and Digital sector within Cheshire East, has been identified as an area of strength within the local economy and which could represent a significant opportunity for further growth. Over 2,000 companies form the sector, worth around £500m a year to the local economy.
To support this key sector, Cheshire East Council established a private sector-led taskforce – ‘Weave’. Members are drawn from the creative and digital industry in Cheshire East, working with key people from The Skills & Growth Company* and Cheshire East Council teams.
To help increase knowledge and experience transfer , in conjunction with SHIFT (a programme celebrating all things digital within Cheshire East), funding was secured for Weave to host a series of six ‘Town Talks’, the first of which was held in May 2017 and which concluded with the sixth Town Talk event, held in February 2018.
With the help of Weave’s chair and membership, a Town Talk programme was developed with a range of relevant and engaging themes with high caliber speakers, including renowned designer Wayne Hemingway, and a promotional strategy.
In consultation with Weave, the following themes were agreed for the programme of Town Talks to best compliment Weave work priorities:
– Virtual Play – Focussed on the local games cluster.
– Tech Space – Focussed on incubation space.
– Digital Skills – Focussed on skills provision and challenges.
– Build community – Focussed on integration of creativity into place-making.
– Design money – Focussed on access to finance for the sector.
– Ideas Place – Focussed on using creativity to drive transformational events.
Each event was free of charge and was run on a similar format, which incorporated a mixture of talks, presentations and a panel based Q+A with the speakers. To promote ownership and reinforce the link to Weave, each event was hosted by a Weave member. To assist with future programmes we experimented with location, timing and venue to assess whether this impacted upon take-up. This showed that the main determinant of attendance was the attractiveness of the theme to the three potential audiences – the creative/digital sector, education and the public – rather than venue. As anticipated, attendance at the Town Talks fluctuated depending on the theme. Overall, a 559 people attended all the Town Talk events (an average of in excess of 93 people per event).
Videos of each TownTalk are available on the Weave YouTube Channel.
*Please note this case study was published before The Skills & Growth Company was brought back into the Council’s Economic Development Service.