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Creative Industries

Somerset has a very active and lively Creative Industry sector. The latest employment figures (BRES 2012*) for Somerset indicate that 5,700 people were employed in the Creative Industries. This represents 2.6% of total employment in the County). (*Source: Business Register and Employment Survey 2012, NOMIS)

A defining characteristic of the sector is its diversity – ranging from business in the arts and cultural sectors, makers and also including businesses in digital, ICT and media activities. Similarly employment and the generation of value in Somerset’s creative economy spans private businesses, the charitable sector and social enterprises.

Somerset is an ideal location for creative businesses as it offers exciting opportunities for people who want a more rewarding life without compromising on their business aspirations.

Arguably the largest example of the creative sector in Somerset is the annual Glastonbury Festival, which also happens to be the world's largest greenfield music and performing arts festival, which attracts rock legends as well as novice artistes looking to launch their careers and contributes over £70million to the Somerset economy.

Also unique to Somerset is carnival season, which is led by Bridgwater Carnival, the largest illuminated Carnival in Europe, attracting more than 150,000 revellers. But many of our other towns also join in the fun and hold smaller illuminated carnivals.

Traditional theatre plays a key role in the cultural life of Somerset with professional and amateur performances in all of the seven theatres in the County. Agencies such as Take Art have helped ensure that Somerset continues to develop talented performing artists.

The digital arts are well represented and many small IT and media businesses service the wide range of other businesses throughout the County. Somerset Film have generated substantial commissions for the digital arts in Somerset over many years.

The sector, as with others, has County and sub-County networks of like-minded businesses and professionals that encourage working together collaboratively and can provide leads to new business opportunities. A strategic body for the entire sector is Creative Somerset.

Local Colleges within the County support the sector by offering an excellent range of creative training including high standard Arts Foundation and degree courses, and build on the traditional craft skills that earlier generations of Somerset residents developed when working for long-standing companies such as Clarks Shoes, whose international Headquarters continues to be at Street, founded in 1825.

Particularly strong within Somerset is the fashion industry with leather and textile design work from some well-known brands. In addition to Clarks, these include luxury handbag and leather goods designer, Mulberry; luxurious fabric and fashion designer Alice Temperley; luxury cloth manufacturers, Fox Brothers of Wellington; urban menswear designer, Jenny Schwarz; Duo Shoes of Frome; and award winning wedding dress designer, Sassi Holford of Taunton. These top designer labels highlight Somerset’s credentials as a hub for fashion and creative excellence.

Collaboration is a key factor of the success of the creative industries in Somerset.There are vibrant and supportive creative clusters in various locations including Taunton, Frome, Langport and Bridgwater, as well as a host of events across the county to get involved in and be inspired by. The Somerset Arts Works (SAW) is a good example: it is an artist-led organisation and Somerset's countywide agency dedicated to developing the visual arts.

Somerset really is the natural choice for creative people.

Case Studies

Jenny Schwarz menswear

Jenny Schwarz menswear

Read why Jenny chose Somerset to relocate her business and more about Somerset's growing fashion cluster.

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Hauser and Wirth

Hauser and Wirth

Hauser & Wirth gallery opening in Somerset highlights the county's creative appeal.

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Corbin O'Grady Studio

Corbin O'Grady Studio

Whether in their Somerset studio or on location around the world, their innovative approach allows professional photographers Anita Corbin and John O'Grady to get the best from their subjects and maximises client choice and value.

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Evert and Veronique Veltink

Evert and Veronique Veltink

Entrepreneurial business and design couple, Evert and Veronique Veltink, found the inspiration in the open spaces and unspoiled beauty of Exmoor National Park gave them the incentive to relocate to Somerset.

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Mundy Veneer of Wellington

Mundy Veneer of Wellington

Mundy Veneer of Wellington is one of the UK’s premium merchants of veneer, buying and selling a huge range of natural wood veneers from across the World for the UK market. It has a reputation for high quality as well as first class customer service.

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Intelligent Enterprise Products (IEP)

Intelligent Enterprise Products (IEP)

Intelligent Enterprise Products (IEP) is an innovative software development and systems integration company based at the Yeovil Innovation Centre in South Somerset. Specialising in Microsoft Cloud technologies, IEP builds software solutions for the maritime, legal, health care, and sales and marketing sectors.

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