Welcome to West Bridge Consulting
My work focuses on the less glamorous end of the arts and entertainment industry – on investment and public policy. My expertise lies primarily in the field of what policy-makers call the cultural and creative industries, defined since 1998 as “those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property”.
My consultancy activity is project-based and is typically executed in collaboration with partners. Projects generally comprise elements of policy analysis, communications and investor research. I carry out research, facilitate strategy discussions, draft reports and advise on finance.
The ‘creative economy’ is governed by a complex framework of law and regulation which in the UK will be subject to significant change in the years following Brexit.
Advocacy and communications
The government and representative landscape has become significantly more complex in recent years, with old and new trade bodies driving much of the lobbying for public investment, regulatory and fiscal change.
Covid 19 has dramatically changed the investment landscape for public and private investors alike – from live events, to streaming and other platform-mediated forms of cultural consumption.
His most long-established commitment is to the Ingenious Group in the UK for whom he acts in an advisory capacity on creative economy and communication matters. He also works with Ingenious founder Patrick McKenna on philanthropic and education commitments.
Martin holds a PhD in history from Cambridge University and is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship (ICCE) at Goldsmiths in the University of London.
He was a founder member of the UK Creative Industries Council, chair of the advisory board of Creative Central Asia, 2017-20, and is a member of the Creative Industries Advisory Group (CIAG) at the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC/UKRI). He was formerly chair of the board of trustees at the music venue St John’s Smith Square in Westminster and of the Young Vic Theatre Company.
Martin is a regular speaker at conferences and seminars.
Here are links to selected examples of Martin’s lectures, publications and presentations.
Address to the American University of Central Asia (AUCA), Bishkek, October 2021.
This presentation is a general introduction to the subject of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) and formed the basis of two informal lectures that I delivered in October 2021.
The Crisis facing the Independent Film Sector in the UK
Here I summarise a few of the major issues raised by the BFI’s recent (January 2021) research tender specification
The ‘Creative Industries’ Revisited
Ingenious submission on Industrial Strategy and the Creative Industries, April 2017
Building our Industrial Strategy; an overview of the policy background, including classification issues and a sector SWOT analysis
IMPACT 17, Krakow, 2017
The Future of the Creative Economy; an investor-focused presentation on the interactions between culture, media and commerce in the internet age
Creative Central Asia, Astana Forum 2018
A ‘sector deal’ for the creative industries; highlights the creative economy work of the British Council and provides an update on latest policy developments in the UK
British Council, Crossing Points; UK-Poland, 2018
West Bridge Consulting focuses on the arts, media and entertainment sectors which together loosely comprise the ‘creative economy’. The company was founded by Martin Smith in 2003. This website is primarily a platform for his teaching and advisory work.
Radical change is everywhere. Prior to the pandemic, the global market for cultural goods and services was growing fast, continuing to expand even during the financial slump of 2008-09. This trend was largely driven by the rapid expansion of the middle classes in emerging economies and the impact of the internet-enabled digital shift in cultural consumption. In developed economies especially this pattern of rapid growth is being severely disrupted by Covid19. The disruption is highly uneven creating big winners and significant losers. The live performing arts are again in turmoil and at serious risk of contraction in many countries, whilst the online consumption of movies, games and other media content continues to grow strongly.
Against this complex background I aim to help clients, colleagues and students to understand the major policy challenges and to navigate their way through emerging new business models and the changing competitive landscape.
Dr Martin Smith
West Bridge Consulting
c/o Flat 6
47 Clapham Common Northside
London SW4 0AA
T. +44 (0)20 7622 1889
M. +44 (0)7977 272506