Funded by


Durham University

The Durham University Creative Fuse North East team is dedicated to providing assistance and activities throughout County Durham. We employ an action research-driven approach to not only understand the county’s creative sector but also to engage in collaborative dialogue with the sector to determine how we can best develop and deploy the university’s resources to support it.

We deliver innovative workshops on finding and securing funding; teaching the creative arts; digital skills and social media engagement; digital branding; innovation and new product development; evaluation and research methods for cultural organisations; and research collaboration.

We collaborate closely with colleagues across Durham University to develop and deliver that support to the sector, and we are constantly looking for new ways for the creative sector to interact with the wider university community.

Newcastle University

The Newcastle University Creative Fuse team are based in Newcastle University Business School. The team are supported by academic staff specialising in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Digital Marketing, and Management, and wider creative practice, driving a broad range of workshops, challenge programmes and internships to support the region’s creative economy in these areas. Through the extensive knowledge and skills of the team, the project supports organisations and practitioners to innovate, learn and collaborate enabling them to access new market, develop their innovation capacity, and support the development of new products and services. The delivery programme from the team at Newcastle includes the following key opportunities:

This programme is focused on matching businesses and organisations with skilled interns. Funded for short-term projects (up to 12 weeks full-time) our interns can help you take forward new ideas, test or approach new markets, or undertake research that will help position your products or services. Above all, it’s about helping businesses be more sustainable and respond to new opportunities with focused support and capacity.

Our workshops are practically focused so that businesses can quickly use new tools and techniques and apply them across their business efficiently. We are delivering a wide programme that covers creative ideation, business innovation, digital marketing, generating value and insight from data, through to focused delivery on business and practitioners working in the rural creative economy.

The Newcastle team are also working closely with Creative UK who are delivering the new North of Tyne Culture and Creative Investment Programme which provides a range of funding and business support to the creative sector in the North of Tyne (Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside).

Northumbria University

The Creative Fuse programme is run out of Northumbria Universities School of Design and the Arts Department and supported by a wide range of academic staff from specialists in areas such as design-led innovation, product development, fine art and creative industries management.

The programme is driven by a commitment to multidisciplinary working, bringing diverse actors and participants together and using our collective expertise to build creative confidence and drive exciting and new innovations that support businesses and organisations to thrive.

There are three strands to our programme delivery:

Get Ready to Innovate is a programme of exploratory, energetic, creative and confidence-inspiring workshops that supports individuals in their business development journey. Our team will help identify new opportunities, address innovation challenges and bring business ambitions to life.

The Get On and Innovate programme is much more focussed, working on a one-to-one basis through workshops and mentoring. It is centred on interrogating a specific business idea in the context of a business’s social, cultural and economic environment. Innovation experts will help build the insights needed to enhance the viability of your idea.

Our Creative Fuse Internships programme offers businesses a fresh perspective, injection of creativity and skilled resource through the placement of talented Design and Arts graduates to work on specific projects. Each funded internship is up to 200 hours long, full or part-time and supported by an academic member of staff.

Teesside University

Teesside University focusses on encouraging growth and increasing the creative capacity in the Tees Valley region. Through its Creative Fuse Tees Valley initiative, in collaboration with the University’s Digital City programme, the University delivers comprehensive support and advice to creative practitioners, cultural organisations, industry SMEs and freelancers across Teesside. Key opportunities include:

One-to-one business consultancy – Tailored business growth support and specialist advice.

Innovation support programmes – Intensive idea generation workshops, bespoke innovation development programmes and sub-sector-specific masterclasses such as the adoption of digital technology and understanding the importance of financial dynamics.

Fully funded internships – Short-term graduate internships to help towards the growth of creative, cultural, heritage and digital businesses in the Tees Valley.

University of Sunderland

The University of Sunderland Creative Fuse team are based in the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries, providing opportunities and support to businesses in the North East. The team are supported by academic staff specialising in Creative Computing, Media and Communications, Entrepreneurship & Innovation. We provide exploratory innovations through workshops, commissions and collaborative interventions for the artists, freelancers, and SMEs in the creative economy and beyond.

The delivery programme includes the following key opportunities:

This programme is focused on matching eligible businesses with skilled interns and academic support. Funding is available for short-term projects (up to 12 weeks ft) to develop innovation capacity and scope. Fuse internships could lead to improved or new products and services, and a more sustainable and potentially growing businesses.

Innovation Assists
Innovation Assists offer at least 12 hours of support to qualifying regional SMEs. Innovation Assists provide input from University of Sunderland academics, students and/or Creative Fuse team members with the aim of providing expertise and assistance for a specified issue or task. Our Innovation Assists have a broad remit giving an SME or freelancer the opportunity to develop ideas, products and approaches for their business, from developing staff to consultancy to creating social media content.

Open Creative Commissions scheme
The Creative Fuse North-East Open Creative Commissions scheme is a collaboration between the University of Sunderland’s Creative Fuse Team, artists/creatives and companies. The commissions offer a 12-week collaborative engagement giving companies the opportunity to develop ideas, products and approaches in their business by harnessing the creativity of artists/creatives and academics. We support artists, creative practitioners and businesses to work with academics and regional bodies working towards innovation, growth, and sustainability.