Thursday, May 28, 2020

Creative and cultural futures – understanding the creative and cultural economy

Survival in the creative sector in a post-COVID will require enhanced literacy in the opportunities of the new industries of the future, the clean and clever knowledge economy which is altering our world on a daily basis. Now a new short course delivered completely online in the new digital universe we are all increasingly inhabiting will look closely at the broader impacts of creativity and culture, both economic and social. It will outline the role of the creative sector in managing meaning and explain how telling Australian stories puts us on the international stage in an increasingly globalised world.

Survival in the rapidly changing and reshaping world of work in the creative sector post-COVID-19 will require enhanced literacy in the opportunities of the new industries of the future, the clean and clever knowledge economy which is altering our world on a daily basis. Over the last couple of years I have developed and presented a post-graduate course at the University of Canberra called ‘Impact and Enterprise’, which looks at the creative and cultural economy and its broader impacts. What is unique about the course is that it doesn’t cover only the economic impacts but also the social impacts, threading the two together.

Wheat silos with stories - the interrelationship of creativity and culture with society, community and the economy is complex and dynamic.

Economic relevance and community connection
Both economic relevance and a sense of being embedded with community are complementary aspects of contemporary creativity and culture that make it so strong a force. It links up my interest in both the economic role of culture and creativity and in their community role of building resilience, well-being, social inclusion and liveable cities. What they have in common is that both spring from the reality that culture and creativity are integral to everyday life and the essential activities that make it up

‘Both economic relevance and a sense of being embedded with community are complementary aspects of contemporary creativity and culture that make it so strong a force….What they have in common is that both spring from the reality that culture and creativity are integral to everyday life and the essential activities that make it up.’

A vast transformation of contemporary culture not seen since the breakdown of traditional arts and crafts in the industrial revolution has been under way for decades due to the impact of the digital and online environment. Today artists, culture managers, cultural specialists and those working in roles utilising creativity across society and the economy more broadly are confronted with radically different challenges and opportunities to those they faced in the 20th Century. There are many important strategic forces which need to be taken into account in career planning and in working in or running contemporary organisations.

Massive interconnection and flexibility
The features of the new order, such as massive interconnection, a heightened relationship with audiences and far greater flexibility of creative content, offer immense opportunities. Cultural programs, membership, online presence, partnerships and marketing, and promotion and sales increasingly will have to interact seamlessly, as a way of multiplying the impact of limited government funding and overall resources.

‘Survival in the rapidly changing and reshaping world of work in the creative sector post-COVID-19 will require enhanced literacy in the opportunities of the new industries of the future, the clean and clever knowledge sector which is altering our world on a daily basis.’

In the new post-COVID world we inhabit, broadening of existing skills and development of new ones will be crucial to recovery from the social and economic impacts of the pandemic. This will be especially true for those in the creative sector, which has been particularly hard hit by the economic shutdown in response to the pandemic. As part of this trend the University of Canberra is trialling short courses during winter which will be of general interest and not linked directly to assessment and qualifications. One of the new courses – which I will be presenting – ‘Creative and cultural futures: understanding the creative and cultural economy’, looks closely at the creative and cultural economy and the broader economic and social impacts of creativity and culture.

Innovation, cultural diversity and intellectual property
Topics covered include innovation and the role of cultural diversity in fostering it, First Nations culture in the creative economy and future challenges for the creative sector in a post-COVID world. It outlines how to build organisations through partnerships, membership and audiences development using research and evaluation and looks at the importance of policy and leadership at all levels, the role of Government and the link between cultural heritage and creative content, including through community and institutional partnerships.

The interrelationship of the economic and social impacts of creativity and culture can be seen in areas like First Nations culture and creativity. One of the most important economic resources of Indigenous communities is their culture. Through the intellectual property that translates it into a form that can generate income in a contemporary economy, this shows some promise of contributing to the future sustainability of these communities. First Nations community culture is providing creative content in important areas of the creative economy, such as fashion and design. In a similar way, a central social and cultural feature of contemporary Australia – our immense cultural diversity – fosters innovation, because where cultures intersect and interact, new ideas and approaches bloom.

‘In our new post COVID-19 world, creativity and lateral thinking far beyond the creative sector itself has become more important than ever. There are many people working in creative roles outside the creative sector – with specialists spread throughout community, educational, commercial and government organisations, like the mining sector and defence.’

In our new post COVID-19 world, creativity and lateral thinking far beyond the creative sector itself has become more important than ever. There are many people working in creative roles outside the creative sector – with specialists spread throughout community, educational, commercial and government organisations, even in less obvious sectors like the mining industry and defence.

The course will touch on the role of the creative sector in managing meaning and underline how telling Australian stories puts us on the international stage in an increasingly globalised world. It involves 17 hours of short lectures in the form of podcasts followed by group discussions, delivered remotely over three weeks from 22 June to 8 July.

#creativityandculture #creativeandculturalfutures #creative economy #cultural economy

See also

‘indefinite article’ on Facebook – short arts updates and commentary
‘Short arts updates and irreverent cultural commentary about contemporary Australian society, popular culture, the creative economy and the digital and online world – life in the trenches and on the beaches of the information age’, 'indefinite article' on Facebook
 
Now for the bad news and the good news – creative sector relief package finally announced 
‘For the creative sector it’s a case of both good news and bad news in a world that has been very much about bad news. With the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shutdown of most of the creative sector, the announcement of massive reductions to Government support for humanities courses in universities, job losses at our major cultural institutions and continuing loss of ABC services, there has not been a lot to smile about’, Now for the bad news and the good news – creative sector relief package finally announced.
 
Shutting down Australian creativity and culture – timeline of a trainwreck
‘In its response to the pandemic the current Government came a long way in terms of its narrow economic views about minimising the role of Government. However the longer history of neglect of the creative sector shows how severe the Government's economic limitations are and how its grasp of the economy (without even mentioning the social sphere) is too narrow and out of date. It has missed a whole sector of the economy that was large, fast growing and included many of the jobs of the future. It's most recent actions have merely compounded a seven year history of neglect and damage,’ Shutting down Australian creativity and culture – timeline of a trainwreck.

Caught in the past – economic blindness overlooks the creative sector
‘The last few months have been a wild ride. First the national bushfires and now global pandemic. In February people were being encouraged to visit fire-ravaged regional centres to help boost local economies. By March they were being urged to stay home to help reduce the spread of pestilence. I’m quietly seething at governments which knew this was coming, but just didn’t have a fixed date, and thought they could make savings by pretending it wasn’t coming. Now the Australian creative sector has largely been infected as well, but without the ventilators required to keep it alive,’ Caught in the past – economic blindness overlooks the creative sector.

Out of the ashes – art and bushfires
‘While the current bushfires raging across much of Australia are unprecedented in their scale and severity, they are a reminder of how people have responded after previous fires, rebuilding communities and lives in the affected areas. They have also focused attention on the impact of the fires on creative practices and business and on how those in the arts and culture sector can use their skills to contribute to bushfire recovery into the future’, Out of the ashes – art and bushfires.

Better than sport? The tricky business of valuing Australia’s arts and culture 
‘Understanding, assessing and communicating the broad value of arts and culture is a major and ongoing task. There has been an immense amount of work already carried out. The challenge is to understand some of the pitfalls of research and the mechanisms and motivations that underpin it. Research and evaluation is invaluable for all organisations but it is particularly important for Government. The experience of researching arts and culture in Government is of much broader relevance, as the arts and culture sector navigates the tricky task of building a comprehensive understanding in each locality of the broader benefits of arts and culture. The latest Arts restructure makes this even more urgent.’, Better than sport? The tricky business of valuing Australia’s arts and culture.

What is art good for? Understanding the value of our arts and culture
‘With arts and cultural support increasingly under pressure, arts and cultural organisations and artists are trying to find ways in their own localities to respond and to help build a popular understanding of the broader social and economic benefits of arts and culture. Much work has been done in Australia and internationally to understand, assess and communicate the broad value of arts and culture. The challenge is to share and to apply what already exists – and to take it further’, What is art good for? Understanding the value of our arts and culture.

See also – indefinite articles in a definite world
‘If you are losing track of the articles I have published to my 'indefinite article' blog over the last few years, this is a summary of all 133 articles up until mid July 2017, broken down into categories for easy access. They range from the national cultural landscape to popular culture, from artists and arts organisations to cultural institutions, cultural policy and arts funding, creative industries, First Nations culture, cultural diversity, cities and regions, Australia society, government, Canberra and international issues – the whole range of contemporary Australian arts and culture’, See also – indefinite articles in a definite world.

Crossing boundaries – the unlimited landscape of creativity
‘When I was visiting Paris last year, there was one thing I wanted to do before I returned home – visit the renowned French bakery that had trained a Melbourne woman who had abandoned the high stakes of Formula One racing to become a top croissant maker. She had decided that being an engineer in the world of elite car racing was not for her, but rather that her future lay in the malleable universe of pastry. Crossing boundaries of many kinds and traversing the borders of differing countries and cultures, she built a radically different future to the one she first envisaged’, Crossing boundaries – the unlimited landscape of creativity.

Creating the future for Australia's arts and culture

‘Australia’s arts and culture is at a critical stage. One of the issues confronting it is lack of any kind of shared sense of what the role of government is in encouraging our arts and culture. The whole set of interlinked problems with the relationship between government and Australia’s arts and culture can be reduced to a lack of strategic vision and a long-term plan for the future. This deficiency is most apparent in the lack of any guiding policy, like trying to navigate a dark and dangerous tunnel without a torch or flying at night without lights or a map’, Creating the future for Australia's arts and culture.

Arts and culture part of everyday life and on the main agenda
‘There’s an election in the air and I was thinking about what would be a good list of positive improvements that would benefit Australia’s arts and culture, so I jotted down some ideas. They are about recognising arts and culture as a central part of everyday life and an essential component of the big agenda for Australia. They are about where the knowledge economy, creative industries and arts and culture fit, how arts and culture explain what it means to be Australian and how they are a valuable means of addressing pressing social challenges’, Arts and culture part of everyday life and on the main agenda.

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