We are one of four Knowledge Exchange Hubs funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to bring together creative sector businesses and academics.

The Creative Exchange is a collaboration between Lancaster University, Newcastle University and the Royal College of art, who bring expertise in designing experiences, digital prototyping and communication innovation. 
In addition to the academic co-investigators, a total of 21 funded PhD researchers are working on intensive co-creation and design research. 
Their work focusses on practical challenges; either across the broad scope of Creative Exchange research of deeply embedded within digital public space collaborative projects.

Digital Public Space

Britain has the largest cultural sector in the world. Digital technology is radically changing the way we experience culture. We can now download, upload, anything anywhere. We can create digital experiences as easily as we can consume them.


Everyone has the power to find, receive and transmit in an ever-expanding ocean of content and information. This is the digital public space. The Creative Exchange is exploring this space in partnership with a host of companies and individuals through six core themes.


Our themes


The personalisation of media for different viewers and contexts


New forms of ‘mass experience’ events and media with the quality of ‘liveness’


Different forms of user-generated content supporting participatory media


Exploring ‘pervasive transmedia’; the increasing digital connectivity between people and things


Exploring storytelling in all its forms, existing and emergent


The individual within digital public space; ethical, privacy and security issues, IP rights and ownership

What does the Creative Exchange do?

Process diagram


The Creative Exchange brings together creative sector businesses and connects them with digital designers, major corporations and leading researchers in the Arts and Humanities. Working in collaboration with everyone involved, CX helps to make connections between existing knowledge and bring in new knowledge where needed.

Process diagram


Guided by our themes, the rich network of people and companies we bring together has helped us to form interest groups around specific topics.

Companies, individuals and researchers have attended CX Lab events where project ideas are developed and teams formed.

Process diagram


Collaborative digital public space projects receive extensive support and nurturing from CX, including: designers, makers and researchers to collaborate on projects, funding for individual research contributions, peer support networks and invited experts from Arts & Humanities research.

Process diagram

Make & Test

Projects involve rapid prototyping, co-designing, making and research, tested through industry showcases and field trials to try out ideas and prototypes with the public in real-life situations.

The Creative Exchange is, in turn, developing new tools and methodologies for facilitating co-creation and collaboration.

The Creative Exchange Process


Developing your idea

Once you have a team or an idea, we will invite you to a development meeting with some of our PhD researchers or Research Associates to discuss how a proposal for a project can be developed.
This meeting could take place at one of our three partner institutions, or somewhere more handy for the partners if they are geographically spread out.
To be eligible as a CX project, a proposal must involve:

  • carrying out research in an area related to digital public space
  • including both industry and academic partners (preferably including both a CX PhD researcher and A&H academic from outside the CX institutions)
  • developing new prototype products or services.

The legal side

Once a project has been approved by the Panel, a collaboration agreement will be drawn up. This is a legal agreement which sets out and protects the IP and interests of all partners and lays out timelines and financial details.
All project participants are required to sign a collaboration agreement.
A template version of this agreement is available for download.

Making it happen

These are some key stages that a CX project might go through, but not all of them may be appropriate for every project, and there may be some that are not included here relating to specific project plans.