Last 8 March 2017, the Design Center of the Philippines, together with the ASEAN 2017 Business and Investment Program Implementing Committee, the British Council and the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) convened a multi-sectoral discussion with representatives from various government and private organisations to talk over preparations for the event.

The ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibition was an initiative by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Design Center of the Philippines, with support from the British Council. It aimed to nurture the creative economy and explore the potential of developing creative cities or hubs in the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia. The event was part of the calendar of activities of DTI under the ASEAN 2017 Business and Investment Program. DTI headed the ASEAN’s Committee on Business and Investment Promotion as the Philippines took the ASEAN chairmanship.

The British Council has been working with and supporting creative cities and hubs around the world for several years. This has included programmes such as the European Creative Hubs Forum, Creative Hub Making Vietnam and mapping studies, for example in Europe, Vietnam and Taiwan.

The ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibition took place from 24–27 April 2017 at the Bonifacio Global City Arts Center, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

The four-day thought leadership programme highlighted the potential of the creative industries in driving forward the country’s economy by generating growth, diversity, income and employment through partnerships and collaboration among the ASEAN community. Key influencers, advocates and champions of Creative Economy and Creative Cities provided insights and shared their experiences and expertise in developing creative initiatives for sustainable and inclusive development.

The forum itself was on 26–27 April 2017 and brought together experts and heroes from the UK, as well as ASEAN creative champions to share their success stories and creative journeys.

The British Council hosted a satellite workshop and panel discussions, specifically:

Open space discussion on creative hubs as innovation centres and community builders

26 April, 14.00-15:30, BGC Arts Center, Exhibition Hall (3rd Floor)

In 2017, the British Council was undertaking an in-depth creative hubs research in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia in order to better support their needs and ambitions. This Open Space Discussion was an opportunity for hubs managers and other participants to get together, learn from one another and build on regional networks.

Creative clusters and hubs as drivers for sustainable creative cities

27 April, 13.45-15.30, BGC Arts Center

Provocation and moderation: Dr. Tom Fleming

The panel looked at creative clusters and hubs as part of a national and city development strategy from UK and ASEAN perspectives. It explored their social and economic impact on cities, as well as more critical issues often associated with the development of creative cities. Particularly, the panel talked about how design-focused urban development can trigger social cohesion and economic growth. Why invest in the creative sectors and what does the city get out of it?

Panelists: Kittiratana Pitipanich (Deputy Director, Thailand Creative & Design Center), Gillian Easson (Founder & Director, Creative Dundee, UK) and Jia-Ping Lee (Programme Director, Think City, Malaysia).

Creative hubs as innovation centres and community builders (building on the 26 April workshop)

27 April, 16.00-17.45, BGC Arts Center

Opening presentation: Katelijn Verstraete (Regional Director, Arts and Creative Industries, British Council East Asia)

Moderator: Ellen O’Hara (Creative and Cultural Strategist) 

The discussion encouraged policy makers, investors, institutions and other stakeholders to pay attention to the important role that hubs play in innovation and community-building. How can we ensure the sustainable development and growth of these centres? How can cities leverage the great potential that creative hubs possess?

Panelists: Victoria 'Boots' Herrera (Director, Ateneo Art Gallery, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines), Marika Constantino (Co-Founder and Executive Director, 98B, Philippines), Fajri Siregar (Executive Director, Center for Innovation and Policy Governance, Indonesia) and Ling Low (Journalist, Malaysia).

For the full programme, visit

For more information on the Forum, contact