Digbeth is in the throes of its second revolution. A group of young, creative businesses has rediscovered the neighbourhood, attracted to its industrial architecture and vibrant walls of street art. And now, under the stewardship of developers Oval Real Estate, the area’s renaissance is about to step up a gear.
Because Oval has partnered with the dynamic, influential industry body Create Central. Together, they will be developing The Bond, on the site of a former Victorian gasworks, into a state-of-the-art home for media businesses. Which means a huge boost for Birmingham’s status as a major centre for TV, video gaming, digital and film production.
This new creative superhub represents a real turning point for regional media production, which has been underfunded and underappreciated for too long. It aims to develop new content, technology and business models, empowering and reframing our regional indie production companies as exciting, can-do, future-proof businesses.
The Bond will set up as a Google-style campus, with content creation, technology, training and development in one physical space. All of which will be open to the public, schools and other institutions.
Bringing diverse businesses together like this creates incredible sparks. Things happen quickly and seamlessly. Ideas and challenges are easily shared. Opportunities snowball. Market innovations are realised. Networks tentacle out to other interesting regional disciplines and sectors.
It’s a virtuous circle. As more high-profile creative companies, commissioners and influencers arrive, more creative businesses will start flocking to Digbeth, transforming the area into a key hub for UK and international content production.
The Bond will open doors. It will give all kinds of West Midlands talent from all kinds of backgrounds a chance to work in the new-look TV, gaming, film, and digital industries.