The rise of Glasgow as a Creative Industry hub

“We have seen a rise in high-profile film and television productions being made in Scotland, and this government is focused on ensuring that continues.” – Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

A global revolution in media consumption has sparked a ‘creative renaissance’ in film and television. This is a time best described as the ‘golden age’ of media, an era of particular significance for the Scottish city of Glasgow – a place that has recently been named a leading UK creative centre outside of London’s thriving city lights.

In fact, according to renowned property consultant CBRE, Glasgow is the fifth-best city in the region when it comes to media potential.

The University of the West of Scotland’s (UWS) School of Media, Culture and Society is an institution that stands at the very top of Glasgow’s creative frontier. Through a diverse range of programmes delivered at the £81 million Ayr Campus and throughout the city, the school is producing the next generation of media moguls and cultural change-makers.

The UWS Creative Media Academy represents one of only three Scottish higher education providers to be endorsed as a centre of excellence by Creative Skillset – one of the most sought-after media accolades in the UK. The academy perfectly combines the provisions of the school in support of the region’s creative media sector, stirring students, staff and practitioners in all things surrounding film, TV, radio, music, performance, journalism and digital art.

“The new MA in Filmmaking at UWS is taught here, at Film City Glasgow – the centre of the film industry in the West Coast of Scotland,” says Professor Nick Higgins, noted lecturer in film at UWS and renowned Director and Producer of movies like Colours of the Alphabet, and We are Northern Lights.

“It’s the only Master’s programme of its kind,” he adds, “where you’re taught by professional film industry practitioners.”

The Creative Media Academy operates from both Film City Glasgow and the cutting-edge Ayr Campus, placing students front-and-centre in one of the UK’s chief creative centres.

From Producers like Iain Smith who brought us visual joys like Mad Max: Fury Road and The Fifth Element; to Actors like Kate Dickie from the globally-famed Game of Thrones series; to Audio Recordists like Chris Watson, who brought the thrilling sounds of the natural world to our living rooms in Attenborough’s iconic Life in Cold Blood and Frozen Planet series; UWS film students gain unique insights from the industry’s most visionary figures.

“Students will be able to make fiction films, documentary films and even virtual reality films,” Professor Higgins explains. “We’re even going to give student productions some budget. Each student is entitled to £500, and that can go up to £2,500 as they make a crew and work together for their final production,” he states.

“When you come to UWS, your first day with us is your first day in the industry.”

Since 2014, the Creative Academy has spearheaded the popular Creative Wednesdays series, a weekly event where students and staff are invited to participate in creative activities from screenings to master classes and professional practice sessions, all with an aim to prepare participants for future employment.

The Academy’s presence in Glasgow’s Creative Clyde – a syndicate of media, technology and creative corporations – puts students face-to-face with some of the UK’s most influential industry players. Here, students can network, collaborate and grow alongside experienced professionals at the height of their careers, presenting a wealth of opportunity at every stage of their media education adventure.

These events serve as testament to the school’s dedication to producing industry-ready graduates, elevating and inspiring young, fresh minds by creating opportunities to network with real-life industry movers and shakers.

“I entered a number of film festivals and competitions and won a BAFTA Scotland New Talent Award for a collaborative project,” says Gavin Grant, graduate of the MA Creative Media Practice programme.

“This has helped my CV to stand out and has given me the chance to meet people who are useful contacts for the future,” he adds. “It’s given me a great kick-start to a media career and now I am part of the BBC Production Talent Pool.”

With 50 years already under its belt, the school is globally-known for providing an exceptional creative education. Such experience has allowed the school to cultivate connections with some of the most powerful figures in the game. From Sony to AVID, BASCA to the Scottish Drama Training Network, STV to the BBC; there’s not an avenue you can’t explore with the help and expertise received at UWS.

The academy, school and university at large come readily-equipped with top-notch facilities. In terms media-facing tools, UWS boasts some of the UK’s most impressive broadcasting, performance and production-based facilities.

UWS is just one example of Glasgow’s media influence and potential, not just in the UK, but throughout the world. Driven by the continuing development of its innate creative flair, the city is cementing its status as a vibrant, colourful and trailblazing community for the media arts scene, steering the rise of Glasgow as a creative industry hub.

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