Norbury has been an obvious contender for the post since she was appointed as “interim establishment director” of Creative England in June; set up still unclear as more regional agencies choose to sit outside Creative England structure.
Caroline Norbury has been appointed as the CEO of new umbrella regional body Creative England, which is meant to be fully operational by October.
Creative England chair John Newbigin said he welcomed the appointment, which comes as little surprise to many in the industry as Norbury had already been appointed as interim establishment director of Creative England in June and had played a key role in the establishment of Creative England and the decision to establish three hubs - Creative North, Creative South and Creative Central - in the cities of Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester.
Norbury, who has held the post of chief executive of Bristol based regional agency South West Screen since 2002, was selected from around 70 applications, in what John Newbigin describes as “an exceptionally strong field of candidates drawn from private and public sectors”.
“Her consistent advocacy of closer collaboration between the English regions, her commitment to building industry wide partnerships, and her embrace of film as part of a wider world of digital media, puts her in a particularly strong position to make Creative England an effective agency to support talent, businesses and audiences, right across the country,” said Newbigin.
She will report to the Creative England Board, which is curently being recruited for, with a view to being up and running by October 1.
Norbury said her first big job would be to “make sure there is a seamless transfer of film provision for England’s rich and varied industry outside of London, and to get Creative England staff in place to deliver that service. This will be our main focus in the next few months, but I am totally committed to achieving the long term goal of transforming the provision for creative industries in England moving forward.”
The new umbrella body, which has been set up to replace the existing regional screen agencies in the UK, has a remit to cover film, television, games, digital and creative services. But with less than a month to go, the only money on the table is £2.5m grant in aid funding and around £2m lottery funding from the BFI for film.
Creative England said that “funding for other activities is being sought from public and commercial sources.”
Meanwhile industry insiders are still unsure as to how the structure and operation of Creative England will play out, especially as the existing regional agencies continue to operate with no closure dates in sight.
Northern Film & Media have already announced that they plan to sit outside the Creative England structure, whilst a statement released by Manchester based agency Vision & Media (one of the architects of the original Creative England concept), said that it intended to “work closely” with Creative England and “share overhead and support services as well as working together on future strategy for local support for the wider creative industries,” suggesting that the agency has no plans to fold on October 1.