Virtual special issue: Cultural Trends & the Creative Industries Cultural Trends

Cultural Trends

This virtual special issue of Cultural Trends highlights almost 30 years’ worth of articles about the creative industries. It's publication anticipates the first annual special issue on the creative industries to be published in 2018.  

The UK government’s definition of the creative industries refers to “[t]hose industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property” (DCMS, 2016). It includes advertising and marketing; architecture; crafts, the art and antiques market; crafts; design - product, graphic and fashion design; film, TV, video radio and photography; IT, software and computer services; publishing; museums, galleries and libraries; music, performing and the visual arts.

Whatever the debates about defining the creative industries, it’s evident that DCMS’s classification is all embracing and incorporates the cultural and creative industries. With a few exceptions, Cultural Trends has covered them all.

This virtual special issue reflects a range of creative industries. The articles focus on the sector’s commercial potential, and address such themes as the impacts of changing technologies (Barnard, 1999), of film awards (Lampel & Nadavulakere, 2009) and subsidies (Steele, 2015). Other themes include intellectual property and piracy (Rone, 2013; Phillips, 2015); the arts in schools (Adams, 2015) and the labour force (Yair & Schwarz. 2011).  

While the selected articles represent a small proportion of Cultural Trends’ output, they reveal many of the journal’s general preoccupations. One fundamental concern is with the gap between privilege and inequality. This is reflected in relation to the cultural and creative industries’ workforce (O’Brien et al., 2016) and the geographical disparities in electronic music audio sharing (Allington, et al., 2015).

Another preoccupation is with data. The earliest articles included were significant in pioneering the collation and analysis of existing data sets  (Feist & Hutchinson, 1989; Feist & Eckstein, 1990). They inevitably raise problems of data compatibility. Other articles focus on the limitations of ‘official’ data to realistically capture the dynamic nature of such creative industries as fashion (Creigh-Tyte, 2005). Given that Cultural Trends champions empirical evidence on the cultural sector, methodological issues are a recurrent theme in its creative industries’ content (as in Starkey, 2004).

The government’s definition of the creative industries focuses on the sector’s growth, its increasing contribution to the UK economy and forward projections. This implies some neglect of the past. However, certain aspects of Cultural Trends’ coverage serve as a reminder that past-present trajectories aren’t necessarily positive. Some issues defy resolution. In the wake of President Trump’s recent efforts to abolish the National Endowment of the Arts, it’s interesting to reflect that Feist &  Eckstein’s 1989 article, Photography, was, in part, prompted by the furore created by the Corcoran Museum of Art cancelling an NEA-funded, Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition.  Even then, institutions were mindful of the potential to lose congressional subsidies.

I hope you will enjoy reading the research included in this virtual special issue. To find out how to submit to the journal and to browse all issues, visit the journal’s homepage.

Sara Selwood - Editor
Cultural Trends

DCMS (2016) Creative Industries Economic Estimates, January 2016. Retrieved 21 June, 2017.

Read and download the below articles free until the end of October 2017.