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Northumbria Professor helps shape future of UK regions

7th December 2022

Northumbria University professor Katy Shaw sat on a commission led by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown calling for greater devolution of power from London to the regions.

Labour’s Commission on the UK’s Future report was launched earlier this week, which recommends substantial reforms to British politics, including handing economic powers over issues including transport and culture to towns and cities.

Professor Shaw, who is Director of Cultural Partnerships at Northumbria University and Director of AHRC Creative Communities, was invited to be part of the commission as an independent member to bring a perspective from the North East, particularly on education, research and development (R&D), and the cultural and creative industries.

“I am pleased to see so many of the report’s recommendations focussed on the role of culture in creating a better, fairer Britain and that is nowhere more apparent than in the North East,” said Professor Shaw. “The creative industries were growing at four times the rate of any other sector pre-pandemic and culture remains a key area of growth and a brilliant way of fostering skills development, environmental impact, and civic pride in communities up and down the UK.

“As Times Higher University of the Year 2022, Northumbria University has been nationally recognised for its cultural partnership working to generate new training opportunities that help graduates into these growth sectors. This includes our new MA Publishing course that was designed and is being delivered in partnership with the second biggest publisher in the world, Hachette. 

“Working in collaboration with organisations from Baltic to New Writing North and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) can help create resilience, opportunity and growth in our region.”

The report foregrounds the need for regions to recognise and have the power to drive their own clusters of excellence, to widen skills budgets and transport to connect people to opportunities equally, and to bring coastal and countryside communities closer to innovation through spreading R&D spend more evenly across the UK. 

All 40 of the report’s recommendations will now be subject to consultation, with the conclusions of that further process ending up in Labour’s manifesto.

A full copy of the Commission on the UK’s Future report can be read here

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