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Creative Work -

School of Performance and Cultural Industries, University Of Leeds, LS2 9JT
18 October 2007 00:00

A symposium organised by the Cultural and Media Industries Research Centre (CuMIRC) at the University of Leeds

Over the last decade creativity and the creative industries have become central to many visions of information or knowledge societies. Creativity is seen to be crucial to a new economy driven by competitive innovation. The creative or cultural industries are right at the centre of this, supposedly providing sustained employment growth and operating as catalysts for the wider creative economy. According to such visions, these industries are not just economically beneficial but represent a new relation between work and individual fulfilment. The creative industries are portrayed as a liberating force, breaking with the grey bureaucratic drudgery of twentieth-century 9-to-5 jobs. Workers in the creative industries are seen as exemplary, moving from project to project in fluid networks animated by creative entrepreneurial energy, re-inventing themselves and their businesses as they go. Indeed, Richard Florida has famously linked the energies and lifestyle of this 'creative class' to the economic transformation of cities scarred by years of decline.

Analysts of the cultural industries have been slow to respond to these claims, and indeed have often endorsed them. In recent years however there has been a growing number of critical voices regarding the creative industries in general and creative work in particular. Studies of the 'creative workplace' have revealed new forms of control and exploitation and research into particular creative industry clusters have revealed high levels of insecurity and inequality. Equally, as 'creativity' and 'innovation' have become highly prized assets they have also been subject to routinisation and mechanisation in the search for increased profits. At the same time there have been attempts to theorise the status of 'creative labour' within modern societies, in relation to a 'new spirit of capitalism' (Boltanski and Chiapello). Cities also have learned to use 'bohemia' as crucial parts of the post-industrial metropolis, subjecting these previously marginal areas to new forms of commodification and exploitation.

This symposium brings together leading researchers from a variety of disciplines to tackle these and other issues through a series of papers and discussions.

Contact Name:
Haili Heaton
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