Creativity + Digital = Business Innovation

This workshop will explore how, by fusing creativity with the adoption of digital processes, and the new learning and working cultures that this brings, firms and organisations can generate new opportunities for investment, income, and greater resilience and sustainability.

Delivered by Creative Fuse the workshop will combine insight and experience generated from applied research and business practice, and will include presentations and interactive breakout groups.

Creative Fuse North East is a collaborative project delivered by all five North East universities. By ‘exploring possibility and connecting creativity’ the project supports the regional creative, cultural and digital economy grow and develop, and also helps to encourage the spill over of creative-led innovation into the wider economy.


Mark Adamson

Project Director at Creative Fuse North East

Mark is Project Director of Creative Fuse North East leading the central team at Newcastle, providing strategic direction for the project and acting as an interface with key regional and national stakeholders. Mark has over 18 years’ experience working across the creative, cultural and digital sectors and broader knowledge economy. He has operated in commissioning and investment at senior strategic level and on into provision of direct business support and advice, at regional, national and international levels. Outside of Creative Fuse, Mark is also a consultant, providing a range of services including business development and strategy, marketing, project design through to delivery and management, finance & funding, knowledge transfer, change management, skills development, and business mentoring. Recent work has included industrial digitalisation/Industry 4.0, health and wellbeing innovation, creative and digital industries business support, and lean start-up innovation.

Professor Jonathan Sapsed

Principal Investigator at Creative Fuse North East

Jonathan Sapsed is Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Newcastle University Business School. He is Principal Investigator of Creative Fuse North East, a collaborative project – now into its second phase – between the five North East universities funded by the ERDF and AHRC, which aims to support innovation and research-led growth in the region. This is a successor to The Brighton Fuse projects, which he led prior to 2017 in a significant creative-digital cluster. Jonathan has researched innovation in digital firms in Silicon Valley in the US, UK video games developers, as well as companies such as Disney, Sun Microsystems, Ericsson, and QinetiQ. He has advised national and regional government, including BEIS/DIUS/DTI on new technology adoption for SMEs, and DCMS on designing evaluations and classification of creative industries. He is a Co-Investigator of the AHRC’s Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) researching clustering and international competitiveness.

Annie Rigby

Artistic Director of Unfolding Theatre

Annie Rigby is Artistic Director of Unfolding Theatre. Unfolding Theatre make big-hearted theatre that delights in bringing people together. Annie directed critically acclaimed productions including Hold On Let Go, Lands of GlassPutting The Band Back TogetherBest in the World and Building Palaces. Into 2018 Unfolding Theatre created young people’s video installation, Multiverse Arcade, for Great Exhibition of the North. It has attracted 20,000+ visitors across the North East since it first opened.

Annie is Co-Vice Chair of Seven Stories: National Centre for the Children’s Book. Previously Annie was Resident Director at Northern Stage (2003-08) and Northern Rock Foundation Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme (2007-08).

Simon McKeown

Professor of Art in the MIME School of Art and Design at Teesside University

Simon McKeown is a Professor of Art in the MIMA School of Art and Design at Teesside University. He is an active researcher involved in digital practice and culture, having worked at a senior level in both the broadcast and computer games sector and joins the Creative Fuse team as a creative digital expert. As an artist, he is known for his work around disability and technology.  McKeown specialises in largescale outdoor visual events and has created works such as Prometheus Awakes with Graeae Theatre in London and Las Fura dels Baus of Catalonia. His work Cork Ignite closed the centre of Cork for a one-off performance which was a central feature of Culture Night Ireland in 2015. Working with Heart of Glass in St Helens, he created a collaborative work with Buzz Hub (St Helens Coalition of Disabled People), to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the City of St Helens in an event launched by Sir Phil Redmond.  As well as working internationally, he is very active regionally and is a voluntary director and trustee for Platform Arts, one of the region’s artist and craft-based studios. Simon is a member of the External Advisory Group on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion to UK Research and Innovation and similarly with British Antarctic Survey.