Reignite III: Global Stages – A retrospective by Rachel Bean

Reignite returned for its third event ‘Global Stages – Reframing the Creative Industries in York’, bringing together 250 guests from York’s creative and business communities. The event explored York’s ascent as a global hub for creative industries and businesses, focusing on the resulting opportunities for the city’s economic and creative future. Attendees heard inspirational presentations from leading local organisations in their field, including Helena Jones from AY-PE, Louis Bamber from Button Down, and Tim Leigh from Stage One.

York BID is proud to continue its partnership with Aesthetica to be a driver of this event. York’s unique position as the UK’s only UNESCO City of Media Arts can propel all sectors of our business community forward, and we hope the event left businesses feeling inspired and excited by the opportunities that lie ahead.

UNESCO isn’t just a buzz word, nor is it just an asset for creative industries; it’s a powerful economic driver, and one that all of us can utilise. York’s history of innovation and rich artistic heritage are paramount to our city’s success. Our world-class museums, galleries, and festivals attract millions of visitors every year, injecting vibrancy and economic prosperity into York. Now more than ever, workers want to enjoy a better work-life balance and root themselves somewhere with enriching public spaces and experiences.

The prospect of devolution presents exciting opportunities to develop these areas. With greater control over local decision-making and spend, we can strategically invest in infrastructure and initiatives that energise our city and make people want to return again and again, futureproofing our economy and creating a fertile business environment.

The BID’s recent Colour & Light event at York Art Gallery is a great example of how the city can work together to deliver media arts activations that draw large and diverse crowds. Colour & Light has attracted an additional 80,000 viewers over the last two events, providing a much-needed economic boost to local businesses during the quieter winter months. This is a true testament to the power of media arts and collaboration to bring our city together and deliver memorable and lasting experiences.

So, what can businesses do going forwards? Businesses can leverage UNESCO in their marketing and branding campaigns to highlight their association with a globally recognised accreditation, to differentiate themselves, and tap into new markets; partnerships with creative organisations can lead to innovative engagement strategies and outputs; and supporting and participating in media arts events, like Colour & Light, allows businesses to connect with wider audiences and showcase their commitment to the city’s international creative identity.

The success of Reignite underscores a shared vision and commitment to supporting and promoting York’s thriving creative industries and business community. By fostering cross-sector collaboration, we can ensure York continues to be a thriving centre for creativity, innovation, and business. Together, we can reignite our city’s creative and economic landscape, and we hope that all businesses will start wearing the city’s UNESCO badge with pride.

Reignite III was supported by Make It York, Aesthetica, York BID, York Museums Trust, and Viridian FX.

Photo credit: Ben Porter