Image courtesy Rahul Dutta.

Creative industries in India have “huge potential”, researchers conclude in first-of-a-kind report

The creative industries in India are “growing fast” and have “huge potential”, researchers have concluded in a new report that maps the sector for the first time.

Launched on January 18 in the House of Commons, the report led by Graham Hitchen of Loughborough University London, aims to increase partnerships between UK and Indian businesses and researchers.

The report outlines the findings of a study that brought together Hitchen and academics from UK and Indian universities, including the University of Glasgow and O.P. Jindal Global University, Delhi.

The team reviewed data from a vast range of sources and conducted interviews with more than 30 policy and industry advisers to better understand the creative industries policy landscape in India.

They also undertook three deep dives into: the geography of the creative industries in India, circular design and fashion, and creative technologies.

In the report, they conclude:

  • There are multiple areas for research and innovation collaboration
  • Regional and national government support for creative technologies is more advanced than in the UK but, in the main, creative industries policy is more immature than in the UK, and there is considerable scope for joint working
  • There should be focused action on animation, visual effects, gaming and comics (AVGC) and on sustainable textiles and fashion, drawing on the insights from the deep dives
  • Other areas for collaboration include work on IP policy and its application through ‘Geographical Indication’, potential collaborations with the Indian diaspora in the UK, and further research to understand the informal nature of key sub-sectors
  • Finally, given the diversity of the creative industries and challenges of navigating across multiple government departments and agencies, international collaboration and trade would benefit from a co-ordinated support mechanism to inform research and innovation across sectors.

Hitchen commented: “Our research found that the creative industries in India is a vast sector, growing fast and with huge potential.

“There are significant opportunities for UK-India collaboration, with particular opportunities around circular fashion and creative technologies.

“When looking at creative technologies, we found Indian creative industries policy to be ahead with their support for ‘AVGC’.

“Drawing on the strength of the IT sectors in India, animation, film, tv, games and immersive are becoming significant sectors which, with government support, could become major global players.

“We also found that the government policy landscape can learn from UK collaboration, and more research is needed to properly understand the opportunity.”

The report is part of a scoping exercise commissioned by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to inform future research and innovation investment.

The launch at the House of Commons was hosted by Catherine West MP, Shadow Foreign Minister (Asia and the Pacific).

Ms West said of the report’s importance: “The Government is currently negotiating a trade deal with India, and it will be vital to ensure that there is a strong commitment to research and innovation.

“This report highlights the value of the creative industries in India and, given UK’s own strengths in this sector, there is huge potential for collaboration.

“The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office should work in partnership with UKRI, British Council and others to ensure that there is strong collaboration between research institutions and creative businesses across both countries.”

Sukanya Kumar, Director-designate of UKRI India, commented: “The creative industries mapping study provides relevant Indian and UK communities with the evidence upon which to build plans for new and enhanced collaboration in the future.

“We, at UKRI India, are keen to see this sector grow, and to help drive even stronger engagement between the UK and India.

“We welcome this report; its recommendations will be an important element of our thinking as we develop our India partnership strategy moving forward.”

The report, titled Creative Industries in India Mapping Study, can be found on the dedicated webpage.

Hitchen and team plan to build on this research by visiting Delhi and Hyderabad later this year and identifying research and innovation collaboration opportunities.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 23/09

About UKRI

UKRI launched in April 2018, UKRI is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Our organisation brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England, which is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England, and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. Our nine councils work together in innovative ways to deliver an ambitious agenda, drawing on our great depth and breadth of expertise and the enormous diversity of our portfolio. UKRI India

About Loughborough University

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2022 QS World University Rankings – the sixth year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2023 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’.

In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.