Knowledge Quarter (KQ) visits LSBM

20 Jul 2017

On Tuesday 18th July, warm smiles and engaging talks were the order of the day as Jodie Eastwood, Chief Executive, Knowledge Quarter (KQ) (pictured centre) came to LSBM in the afternoon to talk to us about the many benefits of being members.

Jodie kicked off proceedings to a packed meeting room in Bedford Square by talking about how Knowledge Quarter fits into the knowledge and education landscape. She explained that the changing nature of where people live and work has undergone a transition from industrial districts, through to research parks, and finally now to a new concept (coined in 2014, but in evidence much before that in places such as Silicon Valley in the US) of 'Innovation Districts' which she defined as:

"A geographic area where anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with small firms, start-ups, business incubators and accelerators. Physically compact, transit-accessible, and technically wired they offer mixed-use housing, office and retail."

This very much ties into the whole philosophy of Knowledge Quarter (KQ), namely that they aim to bring together the cluster of knowledge institutions located in the small area around King's Cross, the Euston Road and Bloomsbury where there is an abundance of world-class universities, museums, libraries, students and teaching facilities.

In practice, KQ found that within a one-mile radius of Kings Cross there were:

10 Higher Education Institutions
21 Cultural Institutions
22 Museums and Galleries
34 Libraries and Archives
580 Research Institutes
3,000 Scientists
13,700 Academics
59,500 Staff
99,700 Students
10,000,000 Annual Visitors
180,000,000 Catalogued Items

Jodie explained that Knowledge Quarter came about as the result of a conversation between leading figures at the British Library and the Francis Crick Institute about what it meant to be the world's second largest library (in terms of collection items), and the biggest single biomedical laboratory in Europe, both within a stone's throw of each other, while acknowledging the whole panoply of other similar world class institutions within a very close proximity and what that meant for the area in terms of sharing knowledge.

The Knowledge Quarter launched with 35 founding partners in December 2014 and is now up to 88 members, representing the full-range from cultural, medical, community, academic and commercial organisations. These vary in size from small start-ups to enormous multi-thousand employee organisations such as Google and UCL, with everything in-between. Alongside this, there is an inter-disciplinary approach which encompasses the full range of knowledge from dance to academia.  So there is a tremendous breadth to the network that allows collaboration to flourish.

Opportunities for LSBM

The opportunities that this could potentially afford LSBM might for example include closer collaborations on internships and employability with other members (many of whom are commercial organisations such as Google for example), contacting other members to speak at LSBM conferences and events, or simply gaining clarification or a new contact at another institution that can in some way assist us as an organisation, or further our students work.

Future schemes such as the 'KQ apprenticeship scheme in data science' could also potentially be of particular interest to our Accounting and Finance students.

You can immediately start to access the KQ community by signing up for their Knowledge Bank initiative, where they are trying to encourage people to connect with one another based on skills they want to share or want to learn about. 

In fact, at the event Cal Courtney, Director, Centre for Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Success at LSBM announced the creation of a Bloomsbury Leadership Forum to explore the nature of leadership in the 21st Century (details of how you can get involved are here), which is a great example of a project that Knowledge Quarter could help us with, by drawing together strands of experience from many different organisations to assist us in this exciting new endeavour.

Vision and Mission of Knowledge Quarter

These ideas very much tap into the mirror of the vision and mission for the Knowledge Quarter, which are:

Vision - A world-class knowledge and business hub for the 21st Century.

Mission - Encourage openness, innovation and opportunity by making the facilities, collections and expertise of our members understood, available and used as widely as possible for the benefit of researchers, creative people, students and the whole community.

Achievements and Future Projects

The Knowledge Quarter is funded by its members, rather than Government, so all efforts can be re-directed in the interests of its members in four distinct areas. Jodie gave examples of projects that have already been delivered in each area, as well as upcoming ones that are in progress as follows:

1/ Public Realm, Environment and Sustainability

Delivered: Consultation responses for various public realm initiatives; Public realm audit; Public realm charrette
In Progress: Public realm charrette report; Public realm community charrette

2/ Knowledge Exchange

Delivered: Curious Festival 2015 and 2016; Over 50 networking events and opportunities; Over 10 workshops and conferences; International visits; Knowledge Quarter private views and tours
In Progress: Knowledge Bank; Continued program of workshops; Extended program of Knowledge Quarter private views; Knowledge Quarter Conference

3/ Community Engagement

Delivered: Community walks; Sharing and showcasing event; Primary Careers Conference; KQ presence at 4 community festivals; KQ apprenticeship scheme in life sciences
In Progress: Primary Careers Conference; KQ apprenticeship scheme in data science

4/ Advocacy and Communications

Delivered: Research on innovation districts; Stakeholder breakfasts; Private view and curator tours; Policy dinners; Communications (website, blog, newsletter, policy updates)
In Progress: Research on the impact of the Knowledge Quarter; Extended program of stakeholder breakfasts; KQ science and innovation audit; Series of 'How To' resource documents

Other Benefits and Thanks to Jodie

One of the nicer 'benefits' of Knowledge Quarter membership was also in evidence this week with at the British Museum, as members were given exclusive free access to the Hokusai exhibition that is currently on until 12th August 2017 (and which usually costs £12) from 8.30am to 10am.

If you have never really explored Hokusai's work before (beyond his famous 'waves') then I would certainly recommend you do (though you will now have to pay to do so!) The level of detail in his woodblock prints and paintings was at times mesmerising (you can see many of them pictured online here).

You can see future Knowledge Quarter events here.

Here at LSBM we look forward to enjoying many more cultural treats courtesy of our KQ membership, forming closer bonds with our fellow members to help our staff and students, as well as playing an active role in the Knowledge Quarter community.

Many thanks to Jodie Eastwood for coming to talk to leading academics (including John Fairhurst, Managing Director and Academic Principal (pictured right above) and Arif Zaman, Deputy Director, Centre for Research and Enterprise, and the organiser for the event (pictured left above)) and staff at LSBM about the great potential pool of opportunities that are now available to us with our membership of Knowledge Quarter.

You can see the slides from Jodie's talk as a PDF here.


You can learn more about the many benefits of Knowledge Quarter membership here on our website.


Stuart Brown
Media and Content Manager

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