Illuminate Festival of Light at Royal William Yard

A project to build Plymouth’s creative industries and nurture creative people power has been awarded £3.5 million by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The University has partnered with Plymouth City Council, Destination Plymouth, Mayflower 400, Plymouth College of Art and the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) to create iMayflower.

The project aims to help the city’s creative sector realise its potential, offering new opportunities, creative spaces and skills. The money is part of a £20m Cultural Development Fund for the regions announced today by Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright.

An additional £750,000 has been awarded to Mayflower400, with the remaining £2.75 million to help fund new creative sector initiatives across the city. Giving a boost to creative events and activities already planned around Mayflower 400 – like the Illuminate light festival in which the University is a key partner – iMayflower’s legacy is intended to go well beyond 2020.

Chris Bennewith, Head of the University’s School of Art, Design and Architecture said: 

“The Cultural Development Fund will allow the dynamic fusion of the region’s creative talent and excellent digital resources, with existing strengths in sectors such as healthcare, marine and tourism. This will provide Plymouth with exciting and innovative means of creating new products, services and experiences vital for refreshing and adapting the local economy and continuing to improve the liveability of our city.

"This is Open Innovation so we will be inviting as many people as possible to be involved with the myriad of activities proposed in the project. The University of Plymouth is extremely pleased to be part of the partnership delivering iMayflower.”

iMayflower will help the University and its partners develop the use of immersive and digital technologies to drive growth in the local creative economy. It will also look to support creative sector businesses to become more visible on an international stage.

Council leader Tudor Evans OBE said: 

“I’m really pleased about this news for the Mayflower programme as it very well reflects the national importance of the project.

“This announcement for funding to develop creative industries is extremely exciting. Plymouth has built a creative industry sector from scratch in a short number of years and this funding means we can harness the talent we have now and develop it for the future.”

Lindsey Hall, founder and CEO of Real Ideas Organisation added: 

“iMayflower is a major reset moment for our creative economy and the vital role innovation and the creative industries play as we tackle the pressing problems of our age. It is all about investment in our excellent creative talent; our burgeoning immersive and digital technologies; our extensive skills as makers and the enterprising, inclusive, creative ecology we are building. iMayflower will support new ideas, businesses, jobs and opportunities for young people – we are delighted to be part of it and looking forward to getting going!”

Professor Andrew Brewerton, Principal and Chief Executive Officer for Plymouth College of Art said:

“This project represents a real step change for the city and for Plymouth College of Art, as we build a creative ecology that nurtures talent and empowers our citizens as makers, artists and designers.

“iMayflower gives us a real platform to deliver a programme of activity that places creative education and social justice at the heart of an ambitious project that will further increase the profile of Plymouth as a great place to live, work and one that invests in its creative communities and all important maker culture. We can’t wait to get started!”

Royal William Yard lit up for the Illuminate Light Festival
Illuminate Light Festival 2017
Illuminate Light Festival 2017
Illuminate Light Festival 2017
Student looks at drawing boards at Arts Degree show.