The Creative Cities Convention has unveiled speakers and panels for its April 2024 event, featuring Keynote Thangam Debbonaire, MP for Bristol West & Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport.

Debbonaire will give insights into her plans for the screen sector outside London at a challenging time for the industry.

Kate Phillips, (BBC Director of Unscripted), will join Philip Edgar-Jones OBE (Director, Sky Arts & Entertainment) and Hilary Rosen (Director of Commissioning, UKTV & BAFTA TV Chair) to discuss the evolving landscape of arts, entertainment and more. Kate will also update on the BBC’s Across The UK strategy three years on.

Laura Mansfield, in her first public appearance since being appointed as CEO of ScreenSkills, will discuss the critical importance of skills in maintaining the screen industries’ creative excellence and global competitiveness.

Alex Mahon, CEO of Channel 4, and Marvin Rees, OBE, Mayor of Bristol, will offer  perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of spearheading production growth beyond London, as well as discussing Channel 4’s Fast Forward strategy.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol and a firm supporter of screen sector growth outside London, said, “The Creative Cities Convention in Bristol this year is a testament to the thriving creative landscape here and I am excited to see the industry leaders and innovators who will gather here to shape the future of our creative sector. As we delve into discussions on driving production growth beyond London, exploring the collaborative spirit shaping the digital landscape and navigating the challenges and opportunities in the evolving industry, Bristol reaffirms its position as a hub for innovation and creativity.”

Aardman Director and Designer Gavin Strange, also known as JamFactory, will deliver a separate address focusing on new horizons in content creation.

Delving into the collaborative digital partnership between their two organisations are Sacha Khari (Head of Digital Commissioning, Channel 4) and Alison Lomax (Managing Director, YouTube UK & Ireland) as they discuss having more in common than that which divides them.

The cast of BBC comedy-drama The Outlaws will join Kenton Allen, CEO of Big Talk Productions, in an exclusive behind-the-scenes session, providing insights into the filming of series three in and around Bristol.

Some of the country’s biggest specialist factual producers will debate the future of landmark TV, with speakers including Sreya Biswas (Head of Natural History, BBC Commissioning), Poppy Dixon (Director, Documentaries & Factual, Sky UK), Sacha Mirzoeff (Senior Commissioner Documentaries & Head of Channel 4 Bristol) and Simon Willgoss (Chief Creative Officer, Nutopia).

A top dealmaker, producer and advisor will share tips for international success, with Jonathan Jackson, (COO & CFO Plimsoll Productions) and Ian Russell (Head of International Programmes, ITN Productions and lawyer Sandhiya Sophie Argent from Creators Counsel.

James Strong, Director/Producer of standout hit “Mr Bates Vs The Post Office” joins us for an insightful discussion as he delves into the transformative potential of drama in driving social change.

Creative Cities Convention is proud to continue its partnership with major stakeholders the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Paramount and Pact and is delighted to welcome UKTV as a content partner for the second year, with Banijay UK once again this year’s networking party sponsor. The party is an unmissable opportunity for delegates to connect and will be held at the end of Day One between 6.15pm and 8:30pm at the main venue. Delegates will also have the opportunity to book speed dates with a range of commissioners from various broadcasters and channels.

MyWorld, a £30 million research project in the West of England, is a partner at this year’s event and will help delegates explore the potential impact of AI and creative technologies on the creative industries.


Pippa Considine

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