The Audience Agency launches the Build Back Creatively toolkit, a new and free resource to guide local councils through how to harness the creative industries to drive local, social and economic post-pandemic recovery.

As the UK emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and looks to the future, it’s clear that Britain’s creative industries can play a vital role both in rebuilding the country’s economy and helping communities emerge from successive lockdowns.

For councils, structuring their rebuilding strategies around the creative industries will enable them to effectively address three important and interconnected goals, to:

  • Revitalise their wider local economies by working with high-growth local creative industries – from media, communications and design to arts, culture and heritage
  • Enhancing employability and enterprise growth through high-value creative and related technical, business and leadership skills
  • Boost wellbeing and sense of place through personal creativity and creative collaborations in communities reconnecting with each other and where they live.

The new Build Back Creatively Toolkit provides a simple and practical model to guide council members and officers through the strategic rebuilding process. The toolkit aims to support local councils to:

1. Know what’s happening in their local creative economy

2. Co-design a programme of change with local the local creative sector
3. Set goals that are aligned with regional and national agendas – including levelling up and recovery
4. Harness both local levers for change and funding or resources from elsewhere

Build Back Creatively Toolkit


The launch of the toolkit follows The Audience Agency and Creative Industries Council’s successful online event: ‘Build Back Creatively? How the creative industries can help drive local and social economic recovery’ which took place on Wednesday 5 May 2021 and had 150 attendees from across the sector, featuring guest speakers from the BBC, Design Council, CSF, Innovate UK and more. Industry experts explored ways that local authorities can harness the power of their creative and cultural industries to reignite local economies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The speakers showed  how  councils can support their creative and cultural industries and why these should be at the heart of local rec

Patrick Towell, Innovation Director at The Audience Agency says:

"It’s clear that “Build back creatively” is no longer a question, but an exhortation to us all. The diversity of opinions and experience at our recent event – from creative and cultural enterprises and the BBC through to local authorities and universities – showed how convening and fostering conversations between creative and cultural sectors, and different parts of local authorities and government is essential to helping our local communities, economies and places bounce back. Strategic, purposeful and focused collaboration, translating between different world views and basing decisions on evidence and co-design are the areas to focus upon and our new toolkit offers a practical guide to make this happen.”

The toolkit is based in part on the Creative Places - Supporting Your Local Creative Economy guidance launched in August 2020 created by The Audience Agency’s Innovation Unit for the Local Government Association. We are grateful for their permission to reproduce portions of it.

It also brings in learnings from our other place-based work including that on local creative and cultural strategic partnerships such as ‘cultural compacts’, our creative and cultural leadership development in Cornwall and evaluation of place-based initiatives including Creative People and Places and Great Places.


It’s a beta – and we would be grateful for feedback - please email

toolkitfeedback@theaudienceagency.org with any comments. For more information and news of the Build Back Creatively toolkit launch see theaudienceagency.org.uk