RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018

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218 The geography of creative industries revisited (3): creative work, social innovation and co-working
Convenor(s) Roberta Comunian (King's College London, UK)
Waldemar Cudny (University of Lodz, Poland)
Chair(s) Waldemar Cudny (University of Lodz, Poland)
Timetable Thursday 30 August 2018, Session 3 (14:40 - 16:20)
Room Bute Building - Lecture Theatre 1.40
Session abstract The three sessions revisit our current knowledge of the creative and cultural industries and their connection with space and cities. Moving forward the debate and the research, they explore new dimensions and articulate recent changes to practices in relation use of space or knowledge. In particular, the first session considers the new role played by universities, skills and education in supporting and developing the creative economy. The second session focus on the role of creative industries in regeneration and emerging new scenes. It looks also at the role they play in relation to festival and urban development. finally the last session focus on creative and digital work, with specific attention to social innovation and new co-working practices.
Linked Sessions The geography of creative industries revisited (1): education, place and knowledge
The geography of creative industries revisited (2): regeneration, scenes and events
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: ac2018@rgs.org
Re-writing creative and digital work: governmentality, methodologies and policy discourse
Ewan MacKenzie (Newcastle University, UK)
Jon Swords (Northumbria University, UK)
Paul Vallance (Newcastle University, UK)
The aim of this paper is twofold. First, to critique prevailing discourses that have come to define the ‘creative industries’ in the context of economic growth policy in the UK and beyond. Second, to highlight how these discourses and associated rationalities can contribute towards social and economic inequality by prioritising economic objectives. We draw on findings from the AHRC funded Creative FUSE project in the North East of England which sought to “drive innovation and growth” in the creative and digital sectors. We highlight how policy-driven discourses and methodologies were at odds with the perceptions and experiences of some creative and digital workers. Drawing on interviews and a large scale questionnaire, we illustrate the role of policy discourse in privileging particular labour markets and sectors, which in turn fails to account for or value creative and digital work located outside of economic growth criteria. By adopting the concept of governmentality as a form of representation in a discursive field in which exercising power becomes a process of rationalisation in itself, we assess the costs involved in such recent policy interventions. From these insights, and by drawing inspiration from the anti-precarity movement, we explore the possibilities for adopting socially progressive approaches to understanding and encouraging creative and digital work.
Creative co-working and creative hubs in Africa: mapping opportunities and stakeholders
Damilola Adegoke (King's College London, UK)
There has been a growing attention in the creative economy literature on the opportunities and dynamics of co-working for creative and cultural producers in developed countries. This paper tries to explore whether some of these considerations might be also valid for developing countries, with specific focus on Africa, specifically Nigeria. New co-working spaces have opened up in the country, led by a range of different stakeholders (from universities to private investors). The paper tries to map the phenomenon and provides some initial understanding of the way these spaces emerge in developing countries and what different needs and challenges they present in emerging economies.
‘Location independent’ or ‘huddling’ ? motivations and experiences of freelancers and remote workers in the digital economy
Nick Clifton (Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK)
The previous two decades have seen a steady upward trend in the proportion of the labour force that is engaged in self-employment, particularly as lone workers or freelancers who are, in theory at least, ‘location independent’. Likewise, the number classified as ‘remote workers’ has also increased during this period. Simultaneously, the advent of a globalised knowledge-based economy has seen apparently ever-increasing agglomeration – the forces of concentration within economic activity - particularly regarding the returns derived from innovation. In seeking to shed light on how these two observations might be reconciled, we consider the growing phenomena of ‘coworking’ – location independent freelancers and professionals who work ‘alone together’ in shared collaborative workspaces. Why do people who no longer need to ‘huddle’ apparently choose to do just that, for at least part of their working time? To this end, empirical data is presented from a survey of coworkers. Results suggests that coworking has arisen at the intersection of the digital economy, self-employment and location independent work because those engaged in these activities utilise resources from both physical and the virtual proximity. Finally, we discuss the limitations of the study, what possible future developments might be expected, and the implications for further research.
A Case Study on Community Development through the overlap of Social Innovation and the Creative Industries
Anna Denderah Rickmers (King's College London, UK)
With the rise of the digital area and the resulting definition of the creative industries as an economic sector as well as research field in 1997, the concept of culture is gradually expressed, tracked, measured and discussed in financial and commercial terms.

And with their traceable growing economic impact over the past two decades and their inherent strive for novelty, the creative industries are progressively a source for wider economic paradigm shifts. However, their ambitions expand further than that and distinctly move towards addressing questions relating to collective and community development. With their affinity towards social business models and sustainable operations and their ability to apply their problem-solving skills beyond their own economic sector, creative industries’ agents increasingly establish social enterprises and intend to address fundamental societal problems that lay outside their industries of origin. Often positioned at the convergence of the private, public and social sector, such efforts engage multiple stakeholder groups and aim to establish effective and long-term solutions. In consequence, social progress as a result of efforts stemming from the cultural sector, as evident in e.g. community development through creative placemaking, gains ever more momentum as the number of measurably successful examples rises.

In answer to that the recent years have seen a growing research interest in the overlap of social innovation and the cultural economy, which is where this research is positioned. Focusing particularly on such examples in the urban space of Singapore.
Discussant
Roberta Comunian (King's College London, UK)
Discussant