Skip to main content
Ready to get in touch?

Contact: UoE Consulting



As we come to fully understand the benefits that the creative and cultural economy bring to the success and liveability of our towns, cities and rural hinterlands, policymakers and funders are increasingly choosing to support programmes and businesses that embrace the importance of ‘place’. The concept of ‘place-shaping’ – and how local authorities, HEIs, FEs and the cultural sector can create bold new partnerships to enrich our environments – is at the heart of current thinking and planning.

The Culture Innovation Consultancy team represents years of sector knowledge and experience that can support your vision and help you to develop strategies that position you in relation to national and global forces while remaining responsive to local opportunities and challenges.

Our team has worked in locations throughout the UK as well as cities across Europe, and provides expertise on:

  • Economic development
  • Place-based strategic planning
  • Cultural asset analysis and mapping
  • Capital developments
  • Diversification funding & investment

Case Study: UNESCO Bid

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The 180 cities that currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

Exeter City Council – which spends £28.28 per capita on culture and heritage, third only to London and Middlesborough – wanted to apply for City of Literature status, but lacked the capacity and specialist experience in making an application of this size. This was exacerbated by the quick turnaround demanded by the application process.

Culture Innovation Consultancy team members responded quickly to the brief to create and manage a steering group to strategise effectively. They then applied for a small grant – with Professor Mark Jackson from the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health providing the rigorous research underpinning the connections between access to literature and wellbeing – that successfully enabled them to commission literature specialists Literature Works to feed into the application process.

The bid, led by Exeter City Council, is a partnership between Exeter City Council, Exeter Culture, The University of Exeter, Devon County Council, Libraries Unlimited, Literature Works, Exeter Cathedral and Exeter Canal and Quay Trust. 

Jon-Paul Hedge, Director of Communications and Marketing at Exeter City Council, said: "Working with the University of Exeter and Exeter Culture – which is hosted by the University – on the UNESCO City of Literature bid for the city was a very positive experience. The University managed the overall process, which included planning, consultation, funding preparation, application and tendering. This was done with the utmost professionalism, knowledge and experience, and resulted in an excellent outcome. I can highly recommend the University of Exeter in a consultancy capacity and would absolutely have no hesitation working with them again." 

As a result of this impressive multi-stakeholder management and working, Exeter’s application was successful, and the city has been awarded City of Literature status – becoming the fifth UK city with the designation alongside Edinburgh, Norwich, Nottingham and Manchester.