Collaboration

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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 Creative Media Practice students at the University of the West of Scotland.

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Collaboration

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

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