The Dementia Connect project will mobilise core learning and collective expertise from the AHRC’s Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy, developed between 2012 and 2016. This £20m UK-wide programme revealed the enormous potential for arts-and-humanities-led collaborative work in the creative economy. At the end of that programme, our understanding of how creative Hubs can undertake innovative R&D, support co-design, unlock cross-sector potential, drive culture change, and curate lasting partnerships was significantly advanced. Dementia Connect will build on that learning, further the developing the networks of creative partners working in healthcare innovation.

The four Hubs were:

  • The Creative Exchange (Lancaster): CX brought together pioneering companies and academic thinkers to explore the potential of Digital Public Space: a space in which new products, services, user experiences, and business opportunities can empower everyone to create with digital content.
  • Creativeworks London: Through a consortium of 43 London-based universities, museums, cultural institutions, and SMEs, Creativeworks London brought new collaborative research opportunities, and competitive advantage, to London’s creative businesses.
  • Design in Action (Dundee): Design in Action worked to embed design-led business innovation into the Scottish economy, thereby opening up new pathways for business growth and development in response to key sectors opportunities across Scotland
  • Research and Enterprise in Arts and Creative Technology – (Bristol): REACT supported researchers in the arts & humanities to work with creative enterprises in collaborations that championed knowledge exchange, cultural experimentation, and new approaches to R&D across sectors.


A preliminary report into the Hubs programme was published in 2016: Connecting to Innovate. Three further reports will be released in January 2018, detailing core learning and evidence from the Hubs programme. These will focus on the role of the arts & humanities in the creative economy, layout a a framework for university-led creative economy innovation, and explore the Hub as an organisational model for creative economy activity. An overview by the AHRC of the Hubs programme was published in 2017: Creative Exchanges