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Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Creative Nation open data

In Creative Nation, our map of the UK creative industries, we use a variety of official, open and web datasets to map the UK creative industries. In addition to the report with our findings, we are also publishing an interactive data visualisation and open data that anyone can explore to answer their own questions, and discover new and interesting insights about the geography of the UK creative industries.

This blog presents our first Creative Nation open data release, with the core dataset we have used in the report and the interactive visualiasation. In coming weeks we plan to release further data we have used, stay tuned!

We'd also love to hear what you find (email us with questions and cool analyses at [email protected])


The source for these data is the Business Structure Database (BSD), a company dataset based on the Interdepartmental Business Register (IDBR) maintained by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The experimental GVA estimates also draw on regional data from the Annual Business Survey.


The dataset contains information about:

  • Levels of employment and number of businesses for all the creative industries and by creative sub-sector and location (TTWA) in 2011-2014 and 2015-2016.
  • Rates and levels of change between those two periods
  • Experimental estimates of creative industries GVA per location in 2015-2016, based on an experimental analysis which is further detailed the report.

Download the Creative Nation open dataset


Our unit of analysis are TTWAs (an official geography capturing local labour markets) although we provide, for each TTWA, the region or nation that contains most of its population so you can aggregate them as needed.

We average all our level variables over more than one year to make our measures more robust to noise in the data.

In some cases, data are missing for smaller locations and sub-sectors in order to comply with ONS' disclosure rules.


These data draws on Frontier Economics' work at ONS Virtual Microdata Laboratory.

This work contains statistical data from ONS which is Crown Copyright. The use of the ONS statistical data in this work does not imply the endorsement of the ONS in relation to the interpretation or analysis of the statistical data. This work uses research datasets which may not exactly reproduce National Statistics aggregates.


Juan Mateos-Garcia

Juan Mateos-Garcia

Juan Mateos-Garcia

Director of Data Analytics Practice

Juan Mateos-Garcia was the Director of Data Analytics at Nesta.

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