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CEEDR/CUSP-ADRI Joint Seminar: Sustainable Prosperity & the Cultural Industries
22 Mar, 4-6pm, Middlesex University, College Building

CEEDR/CUSP-ADRI Joint Seminar: Sustainable Prosperity & the Cultural Industries

Wednesday, 22nd March 2017, 4-6pm
College Building, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, NW4 4BT 
This joint seminar brings together Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) researchers Jonathan Ward and Kate Oakley, University of Leeds, and Graeme Evans, from the Art & Design Research Institute (ADRI), Faculty of Arts & Creative Industries, Middlesex University to discuss the role of the cultural industries in creating sustainability prosperity.

In their presentation entitled “I’m from Stoke I can’t be in the creative arts”: absences, inequalities and exclusions in the cultural and creative industries, Jonathan Ward and Kate Oakley explore the challenges of entering, and maintaining a career in, the cultural and creative industries, and questions the basis on which work in the CCIs might allow for a kind sustainable prosperity. Work in the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) has come to be viewed as exemplary of ‘ideal’ post-Fordist employment. This is not only because cultural work is centred on the production of ideas and intellectual property  but, simultaneously, because cultural workers are apparently also able to maintain autonomy in their practice, free from the most exploitative elements of capitalist relations. In particular, the CCIs apparently allow for meaningful work – work which allows for fulfilment and self-realisation, and which can play a key role in human flourishing and prosperity. However, we find there are persistent inequalities based on factors such as class, ethnicity, gender and location. Further, work in the CCIs is characterised by long hours, low pay and insecurity. This paper explores what this means for policies around CCI and what it means for sustainable prosperity.

Graeme Evans will then present on the role of “Creative Social Enterprises: navigating the local economy and urban regeneration” as a response to the perennial insecurity and exclusion evident in creative working. Specifically, the adoption of community interest companies (CICs) as a social enterprise model and the formation and operation of open networks to encourage new entrants, exchange knowledge and pursue local economic development. This encompasses activism (using arts/ creative methods) and engagement with local communities, development agencies and local authorities against a backdrop of gentrification and loss of workspace. In policy terms this contributes to concepts of creative place making, endogenous growth and creative enterprise zones (see GLA Creative Tensions: Optimising the benefits of culture through regeneration), as well as socially engaged arts practice.


Jonathan Ward is the post-doctoral research assistant for CUSP’s arts and culture theme, based in the School of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds. His research focusses on issues around cultural policy, cultural labour and culture-led urban policy.

Kate Oakley is the CUSP co-investigator leading the arts and culture theme. She has written extensively on cultural policy including in her most recent book “Culture, Economy and Politics: The Case of New Labour” (with David Hesmondhalgh, David Less and Melissa Nisbett). Kate is Professor of Cultural Policy at the School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds.

Graeme Evans is Professor Urban Cultures & Design. His presentation is based on AHRC-funded projects working in east and north London: Cultural Planning for Sustainable Communities; Hydrocitizenship, as well as recently completed studies for the DCMS The Contribution of Culture to Place Shaping.