Creative Communities Exchange (CCX)
June 8-9, 2017 | New London, CT

Local host: Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition

CCX 2017 will take place in New London, Connecticut, where arts and cross-sector leaders are forging strategic and surprising synergies across southeastern Connecticut to meet the economic and community development needs of today and plan for the future.

The CCX is a peer-to-peer exchange of the strategies used in successful creative economy initiatives around New England. CCX professional development workshops are for New England leaders who are engaged in creative economy and creative placemaking projects that leverage their local creative sector for the revitalization and growth of their broader community. Want to know more? 

who should attend

Creative sector leader? Engage in creative place-making? Research or support the creative economy?

The CCX gathers individuals who are catalysts in building creative communities throughout New England. We welcome creative economy practitioners from various sectors and types of organizations:

  • Arts & culture
  • Economic development
  • Urban planning
  • Philanthropy
  • Municipal government
  • Research & more

register and ways to save

Registration is full. Our Wait List will be notified if space is available.

Online Registration closes on June 1; walk-up registration will not be available.
Workshop Leader Registration: workshop leaders will receive a registration code via email.

Registration includes:

  • Attendance at all workshops & presentations
  • Thursday and Friday breakfast 
  • Thursday cocktail reception
  • Thursday and Friday lunch

CCX Workshops

Workshops focus on a single initiative, are strictly timed, and have a specific format: 20 minutes of how-to PowerPoint presentation, 20 minutes of Q&A discussion, and 20 minutes of networking time. Workshop leaders provide an instructional handout outlining their initiative.



CCX workshops allow peers to exchange and discuss the specific strategies and steps taken by creative economy initiatives. These initiatives leverage local creative assets and cross-sector partnerships for community revitalization and growth.  They might include cultural plans, cultural districts, cultural policy and zoning, downtown events, impact data collection, space development, workforce development, and more.

CCX workshop projects generally fall within these four themes:

  • INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT: Initiatives that make creative use of facilities, land, or systems for long term improvement of community identity and resources.
  • HEADING DOWNTOWN: Innovative events and projects that catalyze the creative community and draw visitors and life to the economic centers.
  • POLICY & PLANNING: Programs that use information and cultural plans to implement policy and zoning decisions that affect all citizens of their local community.
  • SECTOR CONNECTOR: Model projects that use technology, networking, and training to enhance the capacity of the creative sector’s connections to other sectors.

Browse NEFA's creative economy initiatives directory to find current projects from around the region, including Creative Communities Exchange (CCX) workshops from 2011, 2013, and 2015. 

WORKSHOP Guidelines

The call for CCX workshop submissions is typically during the fall preceding an event; the CCX 2017 deadline for submissions was 12.16.16.

  • Workshops are chosen according to how well the described project uses local creative assets to meet community development goals with:
    • Clarity (specific creative economy strategies; well-articulated process; clear community development outcomes)
    • Innovation (original ideas; unusual cross-sector partnerships; unique use of local assets)
    • Transferability (replicable aspects for other communities; shareable with peers; valuable lessons learned.)
  • Workshops must focus on the step-by-step process of a single creative economy initiative – not the work of an entire organization.
  • Workshops are strictly timed and have a specific format: 20 minutes of how-to PowerPoint presentation, 20 minutes of Q&A discussion, and 20 minutes of networking time.
  • Workshop leaders create a how-to PowerPoint and a To Do checklist outlining the steps they would take to replicate the initiative in their own community. These are reviewed with a mentor in advance of the CCX.
  • Two peers may lead one workshop, but they must collectively present a single initiative in the allotted time.
  • Workshop leaders are also participants in the CCX and should plan to attend the entire two-day event.
  • Workshop leaders receive discounted registration to the event.
  • View the timeline for CCX workshop leaders
  • Selected workshops are eligible to receive a NEFA Creative Economy Award


Workshop Format 20/20/20: 
Presentation (20 minutes) | Discussion (20 minutes) | Networking (20 minutes).
Multiple workshops will run simultaneously during six sessions.
Read descriptions of the CCX Workshops.


CCX event activities will take place in various venues of downtown New London like the Garde Arts Center, the Hygienic Art Park, the Public Library and the MS17 Art Project and Visual Art Library at Harris Place.

day 1 - june 8, 2017

9:30 AM Check In and Breakfast at Harris Place Atrium

10:00 AM Welcome and Opening Session.

  • Leadership from NEFA, the State of CT, and southeastern CT's arts, tribal, and military sectors. 

11:00 AM Concurrent Workshops: 

12:00 Noon Concurrent Workshops

1:00 PM Lunch with Networking Activity

2:00 PM Concurrent Workshops

3:00 PM Special Session: Findings from Creatives Count: The New England Creative Worker Survey and the New England creative economy employment report with the research team from the Economic and Public Policy Research Group of the UMass Donahue Institute.

4:15 PM Break

5:00 PM Reception to celebrate the publication of the New England creative economy employment report. Sponsored by the Barr Foundation.

6:00 PM Local Evening Activities Water, wheels (Segway, that is), and walking tours will be available for participants to see the rich arts, culture and heritage in the Whaling City! Registration details on the Southeastern CT Cultural Coalition (local host) website.

Dinner recommendations can be found at www.newlondonmainstreet.org and will be posted at the CCX local information table in Harris Place.

day 2 - june 9, 2017

8:15 AM Breakfast and Networking at Harris Place Atrium

9:00 AM Concurrent Workshops

10:00 AM Concurrent Workshops

11:00 AM Concurrent Workshops

12:00 Noon Lunch, Creative Economy Awards, and an inspiring keynote and interactive workshop with David Grant, author of The Social Profit Handbook. Read more.

2:00 PM Post Event Options: CCX Participants will have the opportunity to explore and experience what New London and Southeastern CT has to offer!  Special activities, events, and projects are being planned for New London to coincide with the event. See “Local Area” section below to learn more.






Holiday Inn New London
35 Governor Winthrop Boulevard
New London, CT 06320

  • Discounted rate for CCX participants is $89/night for June 7 & 8 and $109/night for June 9 & 10. Reserve by May 10, 2017 to receive this rate.
  • Reservations can be made at www.holidayinn.com or by calling (860) 443-7000 or 1-888-HOLIDAY. Please use the code GAC for the discounted rate.

These hotel options are within a six to seven minute drive to downtown New London. Discounted parking is available for CCX participants at the Cornish Parking Garage (entrances at 192 Governor Winthrop Blvd. and 70 Union St).


One creative economy project and one organization is recognized at each CCX with NEFA's Creative Economy Award. This year, the ceremony will take place during the closing lunch at the Crocker House Ballroom.


Local host Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition has special events just for CCX attendees on Thursday evening and Friday afternoon - from art exhibits to guided tours on the water, on a Segway, or on foot. We encourage you to extend your stay for the weekend to take advantage of a ton of fantastic events, including festivals and celebrations in downtown New London featuring art, music, and the unique Thames River Heritage Park water taxi daily service connecting a collection of sites joined by their rich maritime and military history.

For more information and to sign up for some of the local activities during and after CCX, visit http://culturesect.org/nefa-ccx-2017-new-london/.

For more information about New London, Connecticut, and dinner recommendations, visit www.NewLondonMainStreet.org.

For more information about Southeastern Connecticut/Mystic Country, http://www.ctvisit.com/mystic.