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Free Content Re-spatializing the creative industries: a relational examination of underground scenes, and professional and organizational lock-in

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The accelerated growth of the creative economy poses two problems for policy analysts. The first is the disconnect that exists between the use of conventional economic accounting tools used to capture skills and innovations in quantitative ways, and the qualitative essence of creativity itself. The second problem is the tendency to examine and portray the creative economy in theoretical terms rather than through empirical studies, which creates an artificial basis for policy design. In this article, relational mapping is outlined as an alternative empirical model and as a possible solution to both sets of problems. Relational mapping portrays the creative economy as a system of relations between workers and networks, which represent the principal creative spaces through which creative enterprise takes hold. In categorizing the creative economy in this way, it is possible to uncover new patterns and regularities in creative practices, which open up new avenues of enquiry. As an example, a relational map of arts-based organizations and networks operating in the West Midlands, United Kingdom is examined here, which magnifies the importance of underground scenes in creative economic activities, and from which it is possible to conceive of an upper-ground, middleground and underground of creative spaces taking hold and driving creativity in different ways.

Keywords: creative economy; lock-in; networks; relational mapping; social capital; underground

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/cij.3.1.47_1

Affiliations: Coventry University.

Publication date: October 1, 2010

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  • The scope of the Creative Industries Journal is global, primarily aimed at those studying and practicing activities which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent, and which have a potential for wealth creation. These activities primarily take place in advertising, architecture, the art and antiques market, crafts, design, fashion, film, interactive leisure software, music, the performing arts, publishing, television and radio.We are pleased to announce that the Creative Industries Journal has been included in the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) list 2010.
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