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Keeping The Fuse Alight

In 2013 we revealed the findings of the Brighton Fuse Project; a 2-year R+D exercise that mapped and measured Brighton’s digital cluster.

The report was massively influential, raising the profile of our cluster and informing policy making; with the findings discussed by Government, featured in a range of publications including the Financial Times and presented at industry conferences as far afield as New Zealand. It also prompted the decision to conduct similar studies into clusters in Newcastle and Bristol.

Brighton Fuse has had a significant impact on policy makers, informing the successful Brighton City deal bid and initiating activity by InnovateUK, the National Council for University and Business and others.

Last year we looked to build on its success in two distinct ways. Firstly, we coordinated a second phase of research focussing on the Brighton freelance community.

The original research discovered that the average Brighton creative or digital company employees 7 staff but interestingly also uses an additional 7 freelancers on average each year. Freelancers were not part of the original research but it was clear that they play a key role in the cluster and community. So, with our partners at University of Brighton and University of Sussex we bid for (and won) additional funding to look at how digital and creative freelancers view themselves, what they do and what value they create.  We have spent the last year collecting and analysing a mass of data from Brighton's many freelancers

We are holding an event on Monday 26th January in Brighton to unveil and discuss these findings. Join us to hear about this research from the researchers themselves and discuss with us the implications it has for freelancers, companies that utilise independent workers, as well as the local economy.

The second initiative to stem from Brighton Fuse Project involved putting the research ideas into practice. We took some of the key findings and designed a programme to support innovation at our studio home, the FuseBox.

The goal was to create a programme that embedded ideas and practices from the fields of the arts and design, alongside lean start-up models. A programme that would help those in our sector with great ideas become great innovators.

This concept became the FuseBox24 programme; 24 weeks of radical business support for 10 start-ups and innovators that ran throughout the second half of 2014.

The programme was supported by Research Fellow Jim Byford and Professor Gillian Youngs, from the University of Brighton.

If you would like to hear about our experience of creating the programme, the research findings and from participants in the programme themselves, then join us at the ‘FuseBox24 Showcase’ event on 22nd January.

About the author

Kieron Cropper

Hi, I'm Head of Member Services at Wired Sussex. I help our members get the most from their membership, whether that’s the benefits of joining or you’re an existing member in need of advice.

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