Creative hubs are emerging rapidly as drivers of innovation around the world, including in the Philippines. They contribute to building stronger communities and spurring the growth of cities and creative economy despite the many challenges they face today. 

We commissioned Creative Friction to research the impact of our Creative Innovators Programme on Philippine hubs’ abilities to generate creative value added for their members. This in-depth study also explores how hubs have shaped the resilience of their respective communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Creative value added refers to how, by enabling a range of fruitful interactions, creative hubs can drive problem-solving, learning and meaningful progress among their members.


The report utilised in-depth interviews and case studies to derive key insights on how the 15 creative hubs we supported have generated creative value and demonstrated resilience, both prior to the pandemic and following its onset. 

Based on the initial interviews and shift in how they delivered value to members in pandemic responses, three creative hubs were selected for in-depth research: Common Room, CraftMNL, and Film Producers Society.

Key findings

  • Creative hubs generate ‘creative value added’ through enabling interactions that drive problem-solving, learning and meaningful progress among members.
  • Loss of income or financial insecurity among hubs and their members was one of the most obvious challenges they faced. This was brought on by the closure of physical spaces due to the lockdowns and mobility restrictions.
  • Creative hubs responded proactively to the pandemic in diverse, myriad ways. They have exhibited transformative adaptations such as strengthening and digitalising their creative work, pursuing hybrid business models and advocating for the creative and cultural sector.
  • There is a plethora of ways in which hubs and their members can further enhance creative resilience in the coming years. Our evidence shows an overall trend towards a rapid digitalisation of core hub functions, including community interactions, skills development and promotional activities.

Creative innovators – Stories of resilience and collaboration

Watch this recorded session on how hubs have adapted to global changes through interaction and collaboration featuring Creative Friction’s Tuukka Toivonen and Justine Co. They had an insightful sharing of the report at 23:35. 

Held in March 2021, the activity was part of our four-day online event ‘Drivers of Change – Celebrating creative innovators of the Philippines and beyond’ 

Profiles of creative hubs included in the study

ANTHILL Fabric Gallery ANTHILL is a social and cultural enterprise that supports cultural preservation and sustainable livelihood through community enterprise building among its partner artisan communities.
Artisanal Heritage Studies & Creative Enterprise Center (AHSCEC) AHSCEC is a school-based creative hub involved in developing an enterprise curriculum and research, production, and marketing of indigenous-inspired products and technology.
Common Room Common Room is a shared retail space that houses products of around 200 local artists and creatives. It provides a platform for experimentation for artists to learn the business side of making their art more sustainable.
CraftMNL CraftMNL hosts and organises workshops on handmade products. It is a community of makers located in various geographic locations which aims to integrate local and heritage craft into mainstream crafting. 
Design Center of the Philippines The Design Center of the Philippines is a government agency committed to cultivating a culture that thrives on creativity, value creation and innovation. It aims to become a central hub that engages various creative hubs in public and private partnerships. 
Film Producers Society Film Producers Society is a group of producers and young filmmakers supporting independent Philippine cinema through its film marketing services.
HoliCOW (Holistic Coalition of the Willing Inc.) HoliCOW is a sustainable furniture and housewares company based in Cebu City. The hub works with designers and communities producing innovative and sustainable products.
HUB: Make Lab HUB: Make Lab is an incubator space and cultural platform that works with homegrown creative brands. Its programmes are geared towards cultural initiatives and engagements within the neighbourhood of Escolta. 
Makerspace Manila Makerspace Manila is a community of makers, designers, artists, engineers, supply chain professionals, consultants, manufacturers and educators. It aims to build a nation of problem-solvers and to provide quality, pragmatic, technology-driven education at a reasonable cost.
MATIC Hub MATIC Hub is a sustainability-focused and multidisciplinary enabling space for Cebu’s creative community. It provides a platform for start-ups, communities and youth organisations to collaborate with experienced stakeholders in the academe, industry and government.
Pineapple Lab Pineapple Lab is an artist-led creative hub. It aims to find innovative and creative ways of bringing communities together and creating a safe space for voices, messages and ideas to circulate to others –  not just operating in a vacuum.
Toon City Academy Toon City Academy is the training facility of Toon City, an animation studio that trains new animators, students or young professionals.
Zapateria Zapateria is a co-creation hub for footwear design and development. Its purpose is to foster a new breed of shoemakers and designers who are inclined to utilise creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. 

About the Creative Innovators Programme

The Creative Innovators Programme (CIP) aimed to contribute to more sustainable and impact-led creative hubs that can better support the Philippines’ creative industries, thereby creating more inclusive cities and communities.

It was a partnership between the British Council and Design Center of the Philippines which sought to build the next generation of creative community leaders in the Philippines through a one-year Fellowship for creative hub managers.

Full report (35-45 minutes reading time)

‘Generating creative value and resilience in pandemic times’ seeks to contribute to the efforts of assessing and articulating better the value of creative hubs to key funders, sector advocates, local communities and policy-makers.

Download the report here.

See also

External links