the searchers

March 14th, 2014 | Posted by admin in creative industries | evaluation | news - (Comments Off on the searchers)


A week of discussions about cultural value and a feeling that there is a general anti-economist cultural volksgeist afoot, ironically coinciding with the long overdue realisation that the UK’s  creative economy is big and buoyant.  The new appetite for social value now pops up regularly in Think Tank communiques.  Social value is, however, not the same thing as artistic value, and it may get confusing if an evidence gathering industry develops.  We have the expansion of the instrumental value agenda such as Sacco’s work for the EU, or the ACE funded Quality Metrics Pilot closer to home.  We also have the AHRC Cultural Value Project attempting to widen the state’s gaze on culture beyond instrumentalism.

While the heart of this question lies with the philosopher,  qualitative research into intrinsic cultural value will hopefully prompt reflection on transparency, and the use of experts and peer assessment in how we invest in, and strategise culture.  Is there a need for a new type of observatory for cultural research, cushioned from sectoral territoriality, political whim, and NGO self interest?  Or does it already exist, only needing pulling together into the right dissemination platform?


Image: The Galileo Project

Living with the commons

February 15th, 2014 | Posted by admin in creative industries | digital - (Comments Off on Living with the commons)


This map is over ten years old, but shows that the US receives over half of the value of all royalty and licence fees paid in one year, and that while the per capita value of these fees was $130 in the UK it was only around $9 in both Spain and Italy.  So let’s congratulate our knowledge and creativity based industries?  Or does this export / import market in intellectual property threaten cultural exchange and our freedom to be creative.

The enclosure of knowledge that copyright rations is also accompanied by a ‘scarcity of average attention’ (Philippe Aigrain) in the face of digitised abundance.   Our ideas of authorship and cultural authority support the trading of culture that may have once been considered indigenous or ‘common’ to all and most of us join a consumer pirate crew as a consequence.  So, hooray for  initiatives like the creative commons and Open Culture.  Promoting these types of opportunity is part of the cultural professional’s C21st responsibilities. 

Image: www.worldmapper.org

Buzziness as usual

February 6th, 2014 | Posted by admin in creative industries | digital - (Comments Off on Buzziness as usual)


The absolute intertwining of our digital and analogue worlds is not reflected in institutional responses.  Here the digital arena is distilled out in strategies that want to create universal digital participation or a ‘world-leading digital economy’.  Is this just another example of the geeks, or rather the geeks employers, looking to lead us by the nose?  Spectacular failures in contracts to digitise this or that bit of military, civic or commercial activity probably have some relation to our willingness to have our views shaped by suppliers.  It is not surprising that the conclusions of reports on digital issue so often sound like those of any other sector, emphasising skills development, education, strategic join up and the need for champions.  

The real challenge comes in considering what digital innovation is for.  Here we have a very real tussle between governments, business and the public with the cultural and creative industries at the sharp end.  Progressing universal physical access to the web is probably amenable to partnerships and agreements between the consumer, public £, and business.  The right of access to the information it holds is more intractable, under increasing threat from both political and business interests in various parts of the world, and creaking copyright or licensing regimes can’t cope.  Should cultural and creative organisations and businesses defend their intellectual property at all costs, or do new markets and better societies result from widening citizens rights to access digital material?     Image: Mauricio Estrella. Licenced under Creative Commons.



September 22nd, 2013 | Posted by admin in creative industries | cultural policy - (Comments Off on kytketty)

Commentators can be apt to eulogise ‘the city’ as the dynamic hub where creativity charts our future.  But ‘the city’ is as much a state of mind as a geo-demographic fact.  So what happens when a rural enterprise sets out to be as connected, relevant and pioneering as anything in SE1?

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, North by Northeast,  opens this week with some of the best films and moving image art from the North Sea rim of the town’s historic trading routes.   The festival has been embraced by artists, embassies and cultural partners throughout the Nordic countries.

This kind of connectivity is harder outside of large urban conurbations, but as Berwick is discovering, once achieved can be as useful a developmental platform as the showpiece events of Manchester, Edinburgh or London.    Image: Sea Lane/Wikipedia.org

Prospecting Creativity

June 15th, 2013 | Posted by admin in creative industries | cultural policy - (Comments Off on Prospecting Creativity)

761px-Miners_Prospecting,_Frederic_RemingtonLocal Enterprise Partnerships have just received a modest uplift in funds and, on the whole, are making the best of the hand they have been dealt.  A good example is Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership.  While needing to direct investment to other priorities such as high performance engineering, NEP have launched a prospectus for the Cultural and Creative Industries, reflecting recognition of the role LEP’s can play by working in partnership across the sector.  The initiative is a direct response to the recommendations of Drew Wylie’s report ‘Right Here, Right Now’.  (http://www.northamptonshireep.co.uk/key-sectors/creative-and-cultural-industries/).   Image: Wikimedia commons