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Introduction to some of the issues raised by the rhetorics of collaboration in the creative industries. This was prepared for the first session of a new module on collaborative practices for MA …

Introduction to some of the issues raised by the rhetorics of collaboration in the creative industries. This was prepared for the first session of a new module on collaborative practices for MA Creative Media Practice students at the University of the West of Scotland.

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  • 1.  
  • 2. the dynamics of collaboration…
    • From macro…
    • (organisations, institutions, systems)
    • The social organisation of creative work
    • How individuals navigate work and careers in fast-moving market economies
    • to micro
    • (play, psychology, identity)
    • How creative processes are experienced and negotiated by individuals
    • Dealing with risk, uncertainty and rapid change
  • 3.  
  • 4. the ubiquity of creativity and collaboration discourses
    • … cover a multitude of practices and types of social relations…not all of which are as simple as they may seem
    • Network society: how work is valued and organised: what counts as ‘productive labour’?
    • Knowledge workers & creative entrepreneurs: a new ‘creative class’? (Florida) Or the old middle class recast with digital tools?
    • Interdisciplinary dialogue challenges old categories: creativity = tension, conflict and difficulty?
  • 5. collaboration = conversation?
  • 6. collaboration = conversation
    • The art of conversation
    • Dialogue and disagreement
    • The art of interpersonal working
    • How this translates into cultural characteristics of organisations
    • Power and organisational systems
    • Why are people attracted to ‘creative work”?
    • (especially when it tends to pay so badly?)
  • 7. communication = collaboration?
    • What are the characteristics of ‘creative industries’?
    • Network enterprises
    • Microbusinesses, freelancers, SMEs
    • Creative processes and project management
    • Managing resources and meeting deadlines
    • Interpersonal dynamics
    • Skills and sensitivities?
  • 8. making work together
  • 9. making work in the arts Integrative work: technological, embodied, kinaesthetic, feeling, communicative Raymond Williams: culture as ‘structures of feeling’ Two dynamics: ever increasing and highly visible social inequalities AND Exhortation to collaborate, participate – but on whose terms? The arts as a means of expression – identity – social and political Corporations need constant flow of creative content: brand/image sells products: spectacular capitalism. Conflation of corporate capitalism/individual expression – are there any autonomous spaces? Can markets provide all the solutions?
  • 10. characteristics of creative industries
    • Multidisciplinary teams
    • Globalised ‘network enterprises’ at a variety of scales
    • Fast digital networks, unevenly distributed
    • Short life projects/portfolio work
    • Working across organisational boundaries
    • New media tools and traditional creative skills
    • Nodes, networks, mobilities, flows
  • 11. Creative spaces and places?
    • Do certain places and kinds of spaces develop high concentrations of ‘creative workers’?
    • What are their characteristics?
    • Economies of signs and space (Lash and Urry)
    • City of Bits (Mitchell)
    • The Intercultural City (Landry and Woods)
  • 12.  
  • 13. the ‘creative city’
    • From mid 1990s, creativity has moved closer to centre of urban and national policy…
  • 14. innovation as economic driver, arts as regenerator, diversity as public good
    • Diversity creates productive frictions
    • Density and concentration of urban networks
    • New modes of social organisation
    • But who benefits?
    • Are the skills needed to survive in the ‘new economy’ being developed rapidly enough?
    • Who are the winners and losers in this new economic/social order?
  • 15. Then….
  • 16. dealing with risk and uncertainty
    • Models of self-organisation
    • Questions of sustainability
    • Questions of value and purpose
    • Questions of rhetoric and actuality
    • How resilient is the creative economy?
    • Global corporations/small independents/’glocalism”
  • 17. artists’ organisations; media co-ops; cultural enterprises
  • 18. artists as innovators
    • New York, 1970s
    • London, 1960s
    • Glasgow, 1980s/90s
    • Sharon Zukin: “The Cultures of Cities”
    • Artistic work as pre-figurative of wider societal changes?
    • Creativity as empowerment and ownership?
    • Neighbourhood and community activism
  • 19. creative spaces and places
    • For who?
    • Resources, power, access, networks, money
    • Who gets to ‘be creative’?
    • Who gets to earn a living through creative work?
    • Who owns the work you make?
    • How do you find (and keep) collaborators?
  • 20. macro issues
    • How are creative networks resourced, funded and sustained? Balance of public and private investment?
    • Issues of inclusion – who gets to be a ‘creative entrepreneur’?
    • How do the state, business, and educational/cultural organisations adapt to ‘creative collaboration’? Motivation: public good/private profit?
    • Hacker and innovation networks (Himanen – the Hacker Ethic)
    • “ All that is solid melts into air”
  • 21.  
  • 22. micro issues
    • What does freelance and self-employment demand from the ‘creative entrepreneur’?
    • Insecurity versus freedom?
    • The psychology of collaboration
    • Some ‘creatives’ are highly individualistic – how is this reconciled with collaboration?
    • The art of conversation and negotiation
    • Are some artists more collaborative than others?
  • 23. Some dilemmas
    • Benefits of open source and creative commons, versus need to protect intellectual property
    • How do you account for who has contributed what in a creative process?
    • Cultural economy and gift economy – benefits of cultural activity are not purely financial
    • The ethics of creative work: in whose service does one put one’s creativity?
  • 24.  
  • 25. ..follow up
    • Bibliography and weblinks (on Blackboard)
    • Social bookmarks:
    • Blog:
    • Email: