Creative Cardiff pop-up hub aims to grow businesses

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Media captionJo Bollwell and Kath Grimmitt discuss their first two days at the hub

A pop-up space has brought together people working in the creative industries in Cardiff.

Those behind the idea from Cardiff University are hoping it can become a permanent feature.

Creative industries employ more than 50,000 people in Wales, a third of them self-employed.

Although it is worth just over 5% of the Welsh economy, the sector has been one of the fastest growing over the last decade.

It also has the highest weekly earnings in Wales, according to latest official figures.

Under its Creative Cardiff banner, the university is making a daily video of what happens at the hub.

Music and video production, along with writing, software and the performing arts may jump to mind when people think about the creative industries but there is more to it than that.

Image caption The Creative Cardiff hub involved 25 people this week

Jo Bollwell from Wentwood in Monmouthshire is a jewellery designer who makes her products by hand.

She was a bit concerned that her sawing and banging of metals might disrupt those in the hub around her who are tapping away on laptops.

But the point of places like these is that people with different skills can learn from each other, making contacts and have access to experts.

"There's very little interaction with people when you're working at home and selling on the internet," said Ms Bollwell.

"It's lovely to work with people around you. You're swapping ideas - I've been working next to a computer wizard, we've had a fabulous talk from an architect, I've loved it, it's a lovely energy."

Hubs can also be spaces where people can learn more about funding.

But there are concerns that when people come together and share ideas it can lead to problems with who owns the finished product.

That has led other hubs, such as the Life Sciences hub in Cardiff, to find space for lawyers offering advice on protecting your intellectual property.

Fashion designer Kath Grimmit, from Penarth, said she has been struggling to find a space like the pop up hub where she can work with a mix of creative people.

She set up her own business, The Power Of Greyskull, after being made redundant.

Ms Grimmit is currently working on dance leotards for a company in Swansea.

"I've been looking for a really long time for a creative space that will embrace the versatility of making clothing," she said.

"We're not quiet, we have a lot of machinery but we always look to be in a creative space. Finding it in Cardiff has been really difficult.

"I've managed to find a space for myself but I'm on my own with my team and so it doesn't really get the creative juices flowing but working with Creative Cardiff and others to create that environment is fantastic.

"In just over two days, from the people I've met, it's amazing how many collaborations we've started talking about, people who might be useful to you and vice versa; it's been really inspiring.

"It's that sort of daily environment you need to help grow your business and keep you passionate. If this was permanent I'd be here as quick as I could."

That is something Cardiff University is hopeful will happen after the trial.

Image caption Sara Pepper (right) hopes the hub can be permanent

Sara Pepper, director of Creative Economy at Cardiff University, said creative people were already meeting informally in cafes but the demand for space was only going to get greater.

"The idea of bringing people together has come out in the research time and time again, sharing knowledge and skills and also to innovate, to develop their practice," she said.

"The ambition has always been to have more permanent space, that's not an easy challenge in a city that is growing as fast as Cardiff but we're really keen we find the right space."

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