Modelling, Constructing & Disrupting the Creative Economy

The Wrong Model. Why governments do not understand the Creative Industries (Robert Hewison, Independent Scholar)

This paper demonstrates that ever since the term “the Creative Industries” was adopted by the New Labour government in 1997 there has been a fundamental misunderstanding of how these “industries” operate, or even how they should be defined. This argument is supported by a historical analysis of UK government policy, complemented by a visual critique of the “concentric rings” model (Throsby 2001) that has become dominant internationally (UNESCO 2013). The paper argues that it is less helpful to define the Creative Industries by what they do, than by how they are organized, and that an alternative network model conveys more accurately the liminal relationship between “creative” and “industry”.

Disrupting universities in the creative economy: Crowded ecologies; quintuple helixes and third spaces (Rachel Granger, Leicester Castle Business School)

In the post-millennium, and increasingly in the post-recession period, digital has become a fashionable byword for economic growth and digital economy seen as an economic panacea, exemplified to some extent by London’s fascination with Tech City and Shoreditch with their paradigmatic roots in Florida’s (2001) Creative City. It is not that digital media as a collection of web-based services and activities has limited economic worth but that the fascination with digital over other creative and professional forms have eclipsed more meaningful debate about what impact digital activities have on an economy (see Potts and Cunningham, 2010), and what role they play in boosting local wealth, skills, social mobility, and equality.

In this session, a city view is adopted on the creative economy. In particular, a review of creative cities as ‘crowded ecologies’ is presented, and changing stakeholder roles discussed in the context of changes in political economies. Against this backdrop, the modern role of universities in terms of skill development, new ideas and sites of innovation, are evaluated in a contemporary context. Reviewing some of the interesting stakeholders, projects, and business models, which have emerged in creative cities internationally, which replicate university roles (e.g. in Copenhagen and Berlin), it is argued that universities must now disrupt their own role in the creative economy and move beyond triple helix models to create quintuple helixes and third spaces (Soja, 1996), which create new relational and investment environments.

Contributing to the creative economy imaginary: universities and the creative sector (Simon Moreton, University of the West of England)

This paper explores the relationship between the ‘creative economy’ and institutional practices within universities.  Universities, as funders, urban developers, educators and research bodies, have a complicated relationship with the creative economy. They propagate its practice, ‘buying-in’ to the rhetoric and models of creative value – particularly through changes to HE funding – but also at a city-infrastructural level. ‘Third mission’ activities also play a role, seeking to effect change in the world ‘outside’ academia through collaboration, partnerships, commercialisation and social action. For arts and humanities disciplines, these practices have focused almost exclusively on the creative sector in recent years.

The paper draws on the recent creative economy projects at the author’s university, and considers how those specific experiences relate to broader shifts in the way universities have modified their function in relation to the creative economy.  It demonstrates why – through shifting policy contexts, funding landscapes, and research practices – universities have been complicit in propagating the notion of the creative economy, strengthening particular constructions of the idea at the level of policy and everyday practice. It also considers how a focus on collaboration and alternative academic practice and institutional forms offers possibilities for developing a more critical and reflexive engagement with the concept.

The argument made is that the university sector continues to be an important agent in the shaping and performance of the creative economy, and that this needs to be critically explored if we are to produce a more diverse, equitable space for creative practice, citizenship and employment.

Chair: Jon Dovey, UWE

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