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Nataliya Nikolova has joined as UK Administration & Partnerships Manager in a new role, hosted with Creative UK partner the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre, designed to support and amplify the UK-relevant activities of EIT Culture & Creativity. Nataliya’s role is to identify and share opportunities of interest to the UK creative industries community, expanding the existing network of interested parties and monitoring the impact of EIT Culture & Creativity in the UK.


Creative UK is a member of the EIT Culture & Creativity. This interview is part of an interview series with EIT Culture & Creativity members about their innovations and ambitions.







Our contribution to this community is to build an inclusive, diverse creative workforce and ecosystem, enable creative talent and businesses to thrive across the whole of the UK, and use our insight and evidence to champion the creative sector and help it thrive.


Nataliya Nikolova, 

UK Administration & Partnerships Manager,

Creative UK






What inspired your organisation to become part of EIT Culture & Creativity? Moreover, what expectations do you hold for this collaboration?


At Creative UK, we advocate for our members spanning all creative sub-sectors across the whole of the UK and provide access to finance, research, networks and events, including the largest festival for the Creative Industries (see below). We’re a group of diverse and inclusive professionals who believe in the power of creativity to change lives, cross borders, regenerate towns, cities and rural areas, and design a greener future for everyone.


Inspired by these core beliefs, our participation in EIT Culture & Creativity reaffirms our commitment to supporting collaborative innovation whilst forging a stronger relationship with Europe. We want to raise the profile of the UK as an international partner and tackle the complexity brought on by Brexit for our creative sector, especially the considerable barriers our brilliant creative talent faces to operating successfully in Europe. We want to learn from experiences from all over Europe. We’re not solely focused on the UK.


What does a successful ecosystem of innovators in Cultural and Creative Sectors and Industries (CCSI) look like from your organisations’ point of view?


A successful ecosystem of innovators in CCSIs is an effective finance and growth ecosystem fit for companies in the CCSIs, so that they can fulfil their untapped potential, compete and succeed on a global level while creating a positive social and environmental impact.




Should you pinpoint a single groundbreaking innovation to make Europe a better place, what would it be and how is your organisation contributing to it?


It is our firm belief that only the Creative Industries have the ability to imagine solutions to problems that the rest of the world have yet to conceive. There can be no innovation without diversity, however. Talent is abundant in Europe but access to opportunity is not – yet. There is still work to be done by the European creative industries to recognise the value and impact of diversity in creativity and innovation.


The future we are working towards here at Creative UK will see opportunities opened up, seized, and nurtured to drive innovation, economic growth, job creation, and new communities across the country. We are particularly proud of spearheading the Creative Industries’ response to addressing bullying and harassment across the sector (see below) which disproportionately affects those from under-represented backgrounds. We are also driving systemic change by being advocates for the freelance community twice the rate of the workforce in the wider economy and empowering creative freelancers and organisations to build greater equality into our freelance workforce.



Can you describe your organisation’s core mission and values, and how they align with the objectives underpinning the partnership with EIT Culture & Creativity?


Creative UK is the independent network for the UK’s Creative Industries. We empower the creative industries to fulfil their full potential.


We’re here to harness the power of the creative industries, building a fairer, more prosperous world. Our goal is simple: to cultivate a world where creativity is valued and recognised as the driving force of our future.


We connect and empower, invest in and support great ideas, champion brilliance and fight for the opportunity for all to thrive creatively.


Our values steer the way we work; how we do things is just as important as what we do:


        We join the dots – collaboration is in our DNA.


   We support and empower – we’re here to accelerate change. We are curious, open and honest – our knowledge is for sharing.


We celebrate difference – respecting the humanity and creativity in everyone.


Creative UK’s core organisational pillars to prioritise People, Place and Planet naturally align with EIT Culture & Creativity’s priorities to strengthen innovation and power Europe’s green, digital and social transformation. Our firm commitment to these goals and our shared bold vision for the future of the CCSIs has perfectly positioned us to drive real and lasting change together with our European partners, and to contribute to the positive social and economic impact of the sector in the UK and beyond.



What unique products, services, or initiatives does your organisation offer that set you apart from others in your industry?


We model new and innovative approaches to the sector’s challenges, both regionally and nationally – providing successful, sustainable solutions, while nurturing a social, creative community.


We are campaigners, investment pioneers – continuously generating job opportunities, promoting skills and driving talent for the greater good of the creative economy.


We champion, connect, support and invest in creative people and businesses:



The success of our advocacy, impact and voice is necessary to ensure that creative businesses, workers and places have every opportunity to flourish, both now and in the future.



We connect the Creative Industries creative community to build the world we want to live in, driving a more sustainable, accessible and equitable sector.



We understand what support the Creative Industries need and we champion their ability to catalyse change; economically, socially and globally.



We offer real, impactful business support and investment, at a local and national level, to enable UK talent to compete on the world stage.



Share a recent success story or project that exemplifies the positive impact of your organisation’s work in the CCSI?


Since June 2021, Creative UK has collaborated with the UK Government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and partners from across the creative sector including film, TV, advertising, games, theatre, music and fashion to set up the new Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA). Spearheaded by Creative UK, the purpose of CIISA is to uphold and improve standards of behaviour across the creative industries and to prevent and tackle all forms of bullying and harassment, including bullying and harassment of a discriminatory nature.


Following a significant period of discussion with the creative industries, CIISA is now in the next stages of development. In its first iteration, it will support the film, TV, theatre and music industries. CIISA aims to create consistently safe and inclusive workplaces for creative industry professionals through pro-active interventions and advice, providing a single place of accountability where behaviours of concern can be reported and investigated, and building capability to prevent and tackle bullying, harassment and discrimination.



What are some key future initiatives, projects, or innovations your organisation has in the pipeline that our audience should look forward to?


Our Big Creative UK Summit 2024 took place on 6-8 March 2024. It explored the impact on skills that our sector is facing, as the Creative Industries and organisations embrace the challenges and changes certain technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), bring to their customer networks, workforce and productivity. Join us next year and bring your perspectives to enrich conversations with visionary minds, extraordinary leaders and their teams, and help us as we collectively expand our horizons embracing the skills our industry has today, and needs tomorrow, to stay ahead in the future.



If your organisation had a soundtrack, which one would it be and why?


Like any ecosystem, the UK’s worldclass music sector is dependent upon its grassroots for the development of the next generation of on stage talent. This is why, at Creative UK, we’re huge fans and supporters of new music. We’re currently listening to Ezra Collective’s Where I’m Meant To Be which won this year’s prestigious Mercury Prize for Album of the Year. The success of Ezra Collective, who met in a youth club, is testament to the importance of supporting independent grassroots music.



Other words on your organisation we have not asked about yet…


We believe that creativity can change the world.






About EIT Culture & Creativity

EIT Culture & Creativity is the ninth Innovation Community by the European Institute of Innovation and Technfology (EIT), a body of the European Union. It is designed to strengthen and transform Europe’s Cultural and Creative Sectors and Industries (CCSI) by connecting creatives and organisations to Europe’s largest innovation network. It takes a holistic and open approach to innovation – from tech to artistic driven innovations, from business to citizen driven – and reinforces the appreciation and anchoring of European values and identities. EIT Culture & Creativity will unlock latent value from a multitude of small CCSI stakeholders through technology transfer, improved cross-sectoral collaboration and their effective integration in production value networks. EIT Culture & Creativity will support technology and business innovation; artistic innovation and social innovation. It will also harness the unique position of the CCSI to facilitate the Triple Transitions in Europe – green, digital and social.




About The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

The EIT is Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem bringing together close to 3,000 partners from top business, research and education organisations across Europe in over 80 innovation hubs. The EIT strengthens Europe’s ability to innovate by powering solutions to pressing global challenges and by nurturing entrepreneurial talent to create sustainable growth and skilled jobs in Europe. The EIT is an EU body and an integral part of Horizon Europe, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The Institute supports dynamic pan-European partnerships, EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities, composed of leading companies, research labs and universities each dedicated to solving a pressing global challenge, from climate change to health, to renewable energy.