From the late 1980s, the creative economy became paradigmatic in cultural policy, achieving the status of a powerful global discourse across a range of domains (e.g. Duxbury et al. 2016; UNESCO 2013). At the same time, the discourse and the policy prescriptions that often flow from it have been widely critiqued by academics (Belfiore, 2016; O’Connor 2016; Oakley, O’Brien & Lee, 2013) and often resisted by those in the arts and cultural industries. The association of the creative economy with gentrification and rising property prices, with exploitative working conditions and enhanced inequalities, has migrated from academia and activist circles to policymakers and the media. In some cases – particularly larger/more prominent urban centres – the fashion for such activity has been diminished by its overexposure, questionable returns on investment, political reorganisation and the economic hardships imposed by the financial crisis.
Yet, the creative economy has persisted. In the UK, the Arts and Humanities (AHRC) research council have just launched a large programme committed to a ‘creative revolution,’ supported by tie- ups between universities and corporations, and it is part of economic policymaking in a variety of national contexts and in bodies such as the EU and the UN. Meanwhile, the increasing prominence of craft production and alternative models of working and funding haves reinvigorated debates around the creative economy, highlighting continuities while also prompting a reassessment of its organisation, practices and politics.
In this Special Issue of Cultural Trends, some thirty years after John Myerscough asserted the ‘economic importance of the arts in Britain,’ we explore how the idea of creative economy persists and invite papers that engage with themes including:
- Changing policy understandings and constructions of the creative economy and reflections on its persistence
- The creative economy in non-urban spaces, such as suburban, rural or coastal settings
- Creative economy resistance including worker organisation, anti-gentrification campaigns and arts activism
- The creative economy in a post-growth world
- Alternative organisational and funding models for creative production
- Global policy approaches
Please forward abstracts of no more than 250 words to Dr. Jonathan Ward by November 1, 2017. We look forward to receiving your manuscript!
- Guest Editor: Kate Oakley, University of Leeds
- Guest Editor: Jonathan Ward, University of Leeds