Japanese delegation visits Swansea’s Creative Bubble


A delegation from the Graduate School of Economics at Toyo University in Tokyo visited Swansea’s Creative Bubble as part of a mission to Wales to learn about how successful Public Private Partnerships (PPP) work in practice. 

Creative Bubble is a joint initiative between the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) and Swansea BID (Business Improvement District), established in 2013 to make a positive impact on Swansea city centre by increasing footfall, supporting students to set up their own businesses and adding to the city’s rich cultural offer.

The visitors from Japan included a delegation from Toyo University as well as local government officials, consultants and an estate agent who are currently visiting the UK to learn about the range of partnerships that exist between public sector organisations and private enterprises, as well as other infrastructure methods and land value capture programmes. The visit, which includes organisations in London and Scotland, was organised after Associate Professor at Toyo University, Yu Namba, read a book which introduced Swansea BID as one of the UK’s most successful as the concept of BIDs is still new in Japan.

The Creative Bubble enables UWTSD students to network and work together from its base in Cradock Street in the city centre. Lucy Beddall, from the University’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise Services team with responsibility of the Creative Bubble, said: “We are delighted to welcome visitors from Japan to see first-hand the excellent work undertaken by the Creative Bubble. Working with Swansea BID, we provide our students with a space to think about the commercial potential of their work and activities include organising pop-up shops, exhibitions, performances, workshops, and film premieres.  Most importantly we encourage them to be enterprising and entrepreneurial so that after graduation they are ready to set up their own businesses within the city. The project benefits from the support of a team of Student Enterprise Interns who support the activities and gain invaluable experience generating new ideas and looking after the unit. 

It’s a great success!”, Lucy adds “Since 2013 over 11,000 people have set foot in the shop to support hundreds of student projects.”

Russell Greenslade, Swansea BID (Business Improvement District) Chief Executive, said: “We are very pleased to see the Private Public Partnership model we have in place with Creative Bubble, Swansea BID and UWTSD drawing international attention. Creative Bubble has been a real success story and one that has delivered tangible results for ambitious young people, for business, and for Swansea City Centre. It is important to recognise the part that savvy partnerships such as this one, have to play in the ongoing success of regional economies. They can also do so much to shape and to nurture entrepreneurial thinking that young people can take with them throughout their careers, whatever path they decide to take in the future.”

During their visit the delegation were invited to view an exhibition of surface pattern design by Swansea College of Art graduate Keeley-Shay Jarvis.  Keeley-Shay’s work has a keen sense of place and her bold digital prints often reflect her community in Townhill and Swansea.  She has recently returned from exhibiting her work at the New Designers exhibition in London which provides a platform for fresh design talent to connect with design educators, professionals and consumers and often leads to professional commissions.  

Professor Ian Walsh, Provost of UWTSD Swansea and Executive Dean of the Institute of Science and Arts said: “The skills and talent of UWTSD students and graduates which are showcased within the Creative Bubble make a valuable contribution to the city’s offer.

“The University’s successful partnership with Swansea BID reflects the way in which UWTSD is working to build the economic, social and cultural capacity of Swansea.  By co-locating and collaborating with partners, including Swansea Council, we are making Swansea a first choice destination to study, live, work and enjoy”.

Councillor Rob Stewart, Leader of the Swansea Council, added: “Swansea is undergoing its biggest transformation in 70 years, with investment of around £1bn.

“This will succeed thanks to a powerful Team Swansea approach, seeing all sectors plan together, work together and pull together.

“As an illustration of this, the Council works closely with university staff, managers and students, and with members of Swansea BID.”



Note to Editor

  1. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) is the oldest Royal Chartered University in Wales and is proud to have as its Patron His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales. We are part of the UWTSD Group, a confederation of institutions which includes the University of Wales, as well as with Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion as constituent colleges.  The Group offers an integrated, dual sector approach to education, skills and training for the benefit of learners, employers and communities. UWTSD’s main campuses are in Swansea, Carmarthen and Lampeter.   https://www.uwtsd.ac.uk/
  2. Swansea BID (Business Improvement District) is one of the older BIDs in the UK. It was established on August 1st 2006, after being given a positive mandate by a ballot of businesses over £5k rateable value in the designated BID area. As the first BID in Wales, we are proud to have been a trailblazer for subsequent BIDs, leading the way on investment, ideas and results. Being in operation for circa thirteen years we have delivered a huge amount of projects, schemes and services that have made a difference and continue to do so day in day out. Like any business growth is important which is why we have a whole host of new projects, schemes and services in the pipeline at these exciting times in the BID area regeneration journey. https://www.swanseabid.co.uk/
  3. Toyo University is one of the largest private universities in Japan. It was founded in 1887 as "TETSUGAKU-KAN (School of Philosophy)" by one of Japan’s most eminent philosophers Dr. INOUE Enryo. It was reorganized in 1906 and has since been known as Toyo University. Last year 2017, the University celebrated its 130th anniversary. Through this long history of academic contribution, the university has grown and currently, there are over 31,000 students in 13 undergraduate programs and 15 graduate school programs. Internationalization is one of the focuses of Toyo University, and currently there are 1,482 international students from 39 countries. The University has five campuses with the main campus located in HAKUSAN, Bunkyo-ward, in Central Tokyo.  https://univinjapan.com/toyo_university/


Further Information

Eleri Beynon, UWTSD, 07968249335  e.beynon@uwtsd.ac.uk

Kate Clarke, MGB PR, 07508 851 948  Kate@mgbcommunications.com