8th June 2012 Toronto, Canada

UK Creative Industries KTN visits Montreal

Before his visit to Toronto, UK Creative Industries KTN deputy director Jeremy Davenport was hanging out in Montréal with Science and Innovation Officer Nicolina Farella. Here’s Nicolina’s take on the visit, republished with permission from the UK CI-KTN blog:

“Montreal is a creative city”…Have you heard this claim before? Well, Montreal is recognised worldwide for its creativity aura and also for its creative industry sector. It is often compared to Barcelona…and this is no coincidence as in 2009 HEC (École des Hautes Études Commerciales, affiliated to Université de Montréal) launched a Summer Class Management of Creativity together with the University of Barcelona. Together with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the Science and Innovation Network (SIN) invited Jeremy Davenport, Deputy Director of the Creative Industries Knowledge and Transfer Network for three days of meetings in Montreal to plant the seeds for a programme UK-Canada collaboration. Our goal was to map out the interest of Montreal organisations to build connections with UK clusters and companies, as well as to identify where synergies could emerge.

We met with a variety of companies, research centres, clusters and people interested in the interconnected space between technology and the arts, where innovative business models within the digital economy are integrating design and numeric arts.

Natasha Gagnon, UKTI Trade Associate in Montreal, researched the entire creative sector and built a great schedule of visits. The program included: Moment Factory, SAT (Société des Arts Technologiques), Mission Design, CINQ, Alliance Numérique, ADRIQ (Association pour le Développement de la Recherche et de L’innovation du Québec), Prompt, INIS, Centech – ETS (École de Technologie Supérieure), Mosaic at HEC, MDEIE (Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Exports), Telefilm Canada, Conseil des Arts de Montréal and Designfabrik.

From our many meetings, it seems clear that the Montreal culture allows for companies and organisations to mix up design, art, science and technology as well as to try out new ways of doing things. Instead of inviting the engineer to implement a designed idea, he is part of the incubation of the idea. This leads to great projects like the OpenLab at SAT which is now partnering with Ste-Justine Hospital (for Children) where young patients will be invited to create their own animation based on their personal perspective of medical and health treatments.

Jeremy Davenport was clearly inspired by his visit to Montreal which, according to his words, was a true revelation! He saw many potential links with the UK’s creative industries. For our part , we were interested to learn The CI KTN is already working closely with SIN in Berlin, Roma and Helsinki to create relationships between SMEs with the goal of sharing best practices and creating R&D partnerships.

Jeremy Davenport was also able to clearly identify some specific areas of activity in Montreal where the UK would benefit from collaboration: Mobility, Virtual Effects, Gaming, Smart cities, etc. One of the projects we are considering is that of connecting some of the Quebec companies active in these areas with some relevant companies based in London’s Tech City. Another idea would be to incorporate a specific Quebec-UK focus into a forthcoming event i.e. Montreal Digital or one of the upcoming CI KTN Partnering for Innovation events.

The breadth of contemporary creative Industries companies projects and research is certainly a very wide area to cover, but in three days of visit in Montreal, we were already able to see first-hand how the potential synergy between Montreal and the UK could lead to some inspiring collaboration. So we will work in that direction. As a starting point, many of the contacts we met up with are interested to blog about their work on the CI KTN website. So please look forward to further posts from Canada.

About John Preece

I cover science and innovation for Ontario (excluding Ottawa), liaising with all relevant research institutions and companies. In 2015 I expect to be working on future cities, high-performance computing and…

I cover science and innovation for Ontario (excluding Ottawa), liaising with all relevant research institutions and companies. In 2015 I expect to be working on future cities, high-performance computing and innovation in healthcare, as well as continuing prior work on dementia, regenerative medicine and science outreach. In the free time that I have after managing multiple small children, I enjoy home improvement and board/computer gaming. You can follow me on Twitter at @jcpreece