Universities: Pipelines for Creative Placemaking?

Glasgow School of Art and the City: Creative Ecologies (Helen Kendrick, Glasgow School of Art)

Glasgow has had legendary success in the past three decades as a city at the centre of the UK’s creative industries and for its reputation for turning the fortunes of the city around through culture and heritage-led regeneration.  The Glasgow School of Art, internationally recognised as one of Europe’s leading institutions for the visual creative disciplines, is intrinsically linked with the creative ecology of the City.

However, while GSA has been directly involved in some of the major successes within Glasgow in terms of the re-emergence of the city as a creative capital, the city and the Art School face a range of current challenges.

Looking beyond the major festivals of the 1990’s (European City of Culture 1990, UK City of Architecture and Design 1999) and the concept of the ‘Glasgow Miracle’ (a term coined in 1996, widely used in reference to the city’s disproportionate number of Turner Prize winners), are there specific micro-conditions and elements of a cultural eco-system within a city or ‘place’ that facilitate creativity to thrive, and can understanding Glasgow’s successes over the past 30 years?

This paper will discuss, with reference to opportunities such as the Industrial Strategy’s £40 million aimed at stimulating and supporting the creative industries in the UK, how can HEI’s work towards understanding and operating within complex cultural ecologies?

Co-creating knowledge of creative industries: A case study of creative industries education in Hong Kong (Vicky Ho, Open University of Hong Kong)</span

The paper will present a case study of a postgraduate program in creative industries management offered by a self-funded university in Hong Kong, from the inception of the program through to the presentation of its first cohort of students in the current year. The program is jointly offered by the School of arts and social sciences and the School of business of the designated university. The first cohort is comprised of students with very diverse study and work backgrounds, ranging from fine arts, performing arts to business. Most of the students of the program come from the mainland China to study in Hong Kong. The instructors of the program courses include both full-time faculty and practitioners from the arts, new media and business fields. As the program is in its first year of offering, teachers improvise a great deal to engage students in considering the critical issues of creative industries, and because of the dynamics arising from the teachers’ and students’ backgrounds, a lot of stimulating discussions about issues of creativity, cultural value, economic value, everyday life and politics have occurred. By discussing the curriculum design and both teachers’ and students’ experiences in the program, the paper aims to explore the dialogues, discourses, and knowledge co-created and reflect on the university’s role in cultivating a nuanced understanding about creative industries.

Grow what? And for whom? (Ellen Hughes, UWE)

Creative worker migration is little understood, but from the small number of studies into the subject, it has been found that, across the lifespan, creative workers are most mobile in the period immediately after graduation. Then, once families are established, they become relatively immobile, settling in one place for a significant length of time. Following from these studies, and with the goal of regional economic development in mind, policy recommendations have been made suggesting HEIs start up new creative courses in a place, or work to maintain links with local industry, in the hope that these networks will be strong enough to hold graduates until they procreate and become embedded in a place. Drawing on new empirical evidence on the occupation choices and migration dynamics of designers, and interviews with teaching staff in art and design, this paper will map findings of a different migration trajectory for creative workers. It will then explore the negative impact of pursuing these policies and the danger of skewing teaching to the needs of the firm, not the student. Entry level technical skills may be elevated at the expense of other more critical and abstract skills important to a student over the course of their lifespan. This plays out badly for students and teaching staff, and for the quality of design across the UK. How would these dynamics change if policy pursued other aims, for example equitable participation, sustainable employment or environmental impact? What else then could we grow?

Chair: Nicole Foster, UWE

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