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Going round in circles: European Conceptions of the Creative Industries

Thu, Mar 14, 2019    6:30pm

In Europe, the Cultural and Creative Industries are recognized as an increasingly important driver of national economies. This is especially so in Britain, where the idea originated that a number of enterprises centered on the imagination, art and design and producing symbolic goods could be defined as a distinct “industry”. Yet in spite of the current emphasis on the economic importance of the Creative Industries, there is very little agreement as to what they are, and still less understanding of how the “creative” aspect of their operation functions. In this presentation, I will trace the development of the Creative Industries concept, and demonstrate that policy thinking is dominated by a particular conceptual model, whose iconography leads to a false conception of how the creative economy operates.

In addition to his work in the field of Ruskin studies, Robert Hewison has written widely on British cultural history since 1939, with an emphasis on the relation between culture and the state. Between 2006 and 2012 he was Professor in Cultural Policy and Leadership Studies at City University London. As a journalist, he is a regular commentator on developments in cultural policy. He is an Associate of the think tank Demos, and in that capacity has advised the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Heritage Lottery Fund, among others. His analysis of developments in British cultural policy since 1997, Cultural Capital: The Rise and Fall of Creative Britain, was published by Verso in 2014.