With London recognised as a global centre for the creative industries, whether advertising and design, television and film, media and publishing, and not forgetting art and antiques, it is not surprising that Kent itself has a thriving community of creative businesses.
Investment in Folkestone’s Creative Quarter by the De Haan foundation has nurtured a strong community of digital, marketing and arts-based businesses, stimulated by life by the coast and 55 minutes’ travel time to London via High Speed One. Equally significant has been the impact of Turner Contemporary on the creative industry community in Margate and Thanet as a whole.
Maidstone Studios, with its Creative, Digital Media and Business Centre, hosts major television series and regular broadcasting of the likes of Later… with Jools Holland and Take Me Out. Making television shows since 1982, it houses five studios at a range of sizes and provides a total end-to-end solution for media production including post production, crewing and transmission. It also offers high-speed digital connectivity to London and the rest of the world, as well as a high-level data centre and IT support.
Other organisations in the county’s film and content creation industry include Southside Television Productions Ltd, The Foundation, Media Transfer and Lavender Blue Media.
The Kent Film Office has generated more than £33m to the county’s economy through filming activity since it was established in 2006. A number of Kent locations have been utilised, drawing in big names such as Brad Pitt, Hugh Jackman and Robert Downey Jr for films including Les Miserables, World War Z, Sherlock Holmes and The Golden Compass. Television series are increasingly being filmed in the county, including Mr Selfridge, Call the Midwife, and the hit improvisational programme True Love starring David Tennant. Kent filmmakers have even been recognised at the Oscars.
BBC and ITV news bases benefit from a journalistic and technical workforce from across the county, with a number of local radio stations also well-supported. The Centre for Journalism at the University of Kent is widely respected. Three newspaper groups operate in the county, with many Kent journalists commuting to the capital to work for national and international media services.
University for the Creative Arts is one of the UK’s leading institutions for arts, media and design, whose past students include Tracy Emin, Karen Millen, Suzie Templeton and Zandra Rhodes. Canterbury Christ Church University runs film and television studies courses and the University of Kent is home to the School of Drama, Film and History of Art.