Creative Hubs Academy is live

July 5, 2019

Hivos is excited to partner with Nesta and the British Council in launching the Creative Hubs Academy in Indonesia, Brazil, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa. This is a new learning program that brings leaders of creative hubs together to share experiences and increase the impact of their hub.

Creative hubs – whether physical or virtual – are spaces for creative and social entrepreneurs to connect and support one another while developing their businesses in a nurturing environment.

For the past 15 months, we’ve been co-developing Creative Hubs Academy for leaders and conveners of hubs that serve the creative, digital and social innovation communities. Based on research and five pilot workshops, the program allows hub leaders to take a step back from their day-to-day-work and gain new skills and insights to help them shape and grow their hub offers.

Hivos believes creative hubs play an important societal role by creating space for freedom of expression.

There’s ROOM at Hivos

Hivos will roll out the Creative Hubs Academy through our Resource of Open Minds program in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Brazil and Indonesia. The Creative Hubs Academy builds on more than five years of Hivos’ experience working with creative hubs and co-working spaces to support the development of creative and cultural sectors. Hivos believes creative hubs play an important societal role by creating space for freedom of expression and providing a vital lifeline for growth and sustainability of often unique artistic practitioners and budding entrepreneurs.

Introducing three Academy areas

The program provides a structured and supportive learning environment, focusing on three essential skills development areas that we identified through our research with creative hubs as keys to success for hub leaders. These are:


Strong leadership is central to sustaining any kind of hub, and successful hub leaders create opportunities, mobilize resources, and demonstrate value to their teams and audience.

Examples of this are uniting a creative community, increasing the diversity of their hub’s users, or bringing new skills into their team.


Managing a hub involves testing ideas and systematically improving them. You also need to closely link planning and delivery with vision and strategy. Successful hub leaders are flexible and resourceful. They possess tenacity and dedication.

Examples of this include brokering new collaborations, developing new offers for their hub, or pooling resources.


Hub leaders connect creative practice with business and audiences. Successful hub leaders engage diverse stakeholders, generate multiple incomes from varied sources, and seize opportunities.

Examples of this include conducting research to understand their community needs or curating content to increase the visibility of their work.

The program
The Creative Hubs Academy program is made up of three parts: a capacity-building workshop; learning in action back at their hubs; and a two-day coaching retreat. All are led by an experienced creative professional and learning facilitator.

Part 1: Capacity building workshop

This three-day immersive workshop combines learning modules with plenty of time for participants to ask questions and practice new techniques. Throughout, there are presentations, networking with more experienced hub leaders, and opportunities for participants to receive constructive input from experts and their peers on the challenges they face.

Day 1 focuses on the participants’ mission: why they do what they do, the challenges they’re trying to tackle and what change they’re trying to create.

Day 2 introduces ways that participants can improve the impact of their hub for different audiences and users. It also addresses the issues and challenges that are core to the hub’s mission.

Day 3 pulls everything together. The final sessions revolve around the new or refreshed business plans developed during the workshop, and participants finish confident about their action plans for the future and their learning objectives for the next six months.

Part 2: Learning in action

After the workshop, participants return to their hubs and begin putting their plans into action. Participants will continue learning by reconnecting online and engaging in events and opportunities they identified in their action plans.

launch Creative Hubs Academy

Part 3: Coaching retreat

Three to six months after the capacity building workshop, participants come back together as part of their continuous development as hub leaders. Participants revisit some of the key insights from the capacity building workshop, review the action plans they took back to their hubs, and receive feedback.

By the end, they’ll have a much clearer understanding of which actions and behaviors are truly effective in realizing their plans.

What’s next

The Academy started its first full program with 25 hub leaders in Indonesia in June. Brazil, East Africa and Southern Africa will follow later in 2019. With our partners, we plan to test different co-facilitation models at the workshops and retreats throughout the year, involving UK and local facilitators, hub leaders and delivery partners who can contribute to the learning program and build a legacy for the future.

Download the new Creative Hubs Academy leaflet

The Creative Hubs Academy leaflet explains the program in more depth.

Creative Hubs Academy is live

This article is a modified version of the original published by Nesta on: