Sunday, October 30, 2005

ISBE 2005

The Institute of Small Business and entrepreneurship have their annual conference coming up. This year sees it taking place in Blackpool on the 1st-3rd Nov. I'll be delivering a paper called 'Sustainable Inclusion' based on a project I've been involved in and looking at the work of a couple of creative/cultural organisation's who have been working towards greater inclusion and diversity. As usual I'm obsessed with the sustainability of work that has short-term funding and how the knowledge/learning gained embeds in the culture of the organisation and whether this is evident in their future approach. I'm also on the look out for other folks doing creative industry enterprise stuff.....I'll let you know how the conference goes

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Tuesday in Manchester

Ok so yesterday I got up early, made may way to Manchester, got very rained on and spent the day listening to the great and good talking about Enterprise and Creative places. This was the Cambridge MIT summit. For me this was a day of stimulating and thought provoking talks. Here are some of my observations from the day - there may be more:

Diversity was a key issue that came up again and again, numerous research cited diversity as one of the key drivers for creativity and 'happy' citizens, but at this conference I had to ask the question; where were the black people? Is it okay to ask the question, open up the dialogue about diversity and inclusion to such a homogenous audience. For me I felt acutely aware of the non-inclusivity of academia. I was reminded of very white, male dominated conference I'd been to last year were the 'old' boys network' had been positively tangible. I don't wish to criticise anyone but having just spent the last three years researching organisational diversification and social inclusion in the creative industries I can't help wondering when the wider academic world is going to 'walk the walk'. I cant help wondering how different the debate might have been would have been had the audience and speakers been more diverse. I did speak briefly with Richard Florida about this and it was something he had been aware of throughout the day and commented that the final panel of speakers was also male dominated, with just Kirsty Wark who was ultimately acting as a facilitator.

It was great to hear Anthony H Wilson tell the story of the Manchester music scene. As someone who did their growing up, teen age and student years through this time, I loved hearing his story and felt aware of the strangeness of part of my own experience and a time I felt I really lived through being consigned to history. Not to mention being a Londoner and the whole Manchester music thing being a rather bitter pill to swallow. I remember going to clubs in London who were trying to introduce house music and everyone desperate to have their rare groove and funky beats back on ... we just didn't get it like Manchester did.

I should also say that throughout that time I and many of my friends made regular trips to Manchester just to go to the Hacienda - so Tony thanks for the memories..

I will respond to Richard Florida's speech in a later when I've had more time to digest it all.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Creative what?

Creative industries what are they anyway?

I've been in them one way or another since I was born. My mother an artist and art teacher, my father a graphic designer, my brother, aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins all artists, architects, computer designers, engineers, map makers, actors, illustrators, jazz musicians or stain glass window painters.....what chance did I stand? With a strict diet of Ballet, Modern, Jazz and tap from age 4 and paper and scissors (my choice apparently) as toys, and batique and pottery as 'at home activities' what was I supposed to think the world was really like?

So having finally given up on becoming a Ballerina age 15 (it wasn't that I was that bad just got interested in other stuff (read boys) and didn't have the required drive to really go there) I moved onto being an artist, five years of college and Art school, two years of being a very poor, working for free artist (read waitress) and 5-6 years of working with my other half in a new media and internet consultancy I feel I have a perspective on these things.

For the last couple of years through employment choices I have found myself heavily involved in the city-wide (Birmingham UK) drive to develop the Creative industries. But I have a problem. I mean I know what they mean - the DCMS have there definitions and we all go by them. Apparently the creative industries are made up of some 13 sub-sectors including everyone involved from fine artists through to advertisers, to software designers. My concern is that Creative insutries as a 'catch all' includes some very varied occupations. In supporting and nurturing these professions are we lumping them altogether? Is it possible that really their needs might all be quite different?

I don't know the answers to this...yet

Enterprise curriculum

I work in a business school but am seconded a day a week to work with our faculty of Art and Design, together we are organising an event to investigate and work through the issues of enterprise curriculum for higher education creative industries courses. The event is due to take place on the 25th January 2006 in Birmingham (UK) - I'll be keeping you posted on how this develops anyone wishing to participate please email me.

Phd Conundrums

For the last year colleagues have been encouraging me to start my PhD. But with short term contracts and plenty of ambiguity around my future working status I'm more than a little afraid of making the time commitment. Then there's the big question - Which of my many research interests is going to keep me interested for 4 odd years! But as a very dear colleague reminded me over coffee this morning;' all the time I'm thinking about the time is passing' and he's right I could be a year into it if I'd applied when it first became an option.

So here's the plan. As I've said tomorrow I'll go to Manchester as planned. I'll take my laptop, not as planned. I'll use the three hours I'll be on a train to and from the conference to really figure out what my PhD is going to be about. And then I'll apply. You see time is my other issue. With a young child and ever increasing guilt about how I split my time between work and home-life I want the PhD to ideally be part of my work-life and not the latter. But work/life balance is another post for another day.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Coming soon

Tuesday I'm on my way north to the Cambridge MIT summit in Manchester (UK) to see Richard Florida speak. As someone who's books have been pretty influential on my own work and thinking in the last few years I'm really looking forward to this. Will report back.

What's it all about?

Welcome to Creative Enterprise. As the name, I hope, suggests this is my area of interest, below I've bulleted my main research areas. But as much as anything I'll be trying to figure out what creative enterprise actually means?

So briefy just to set the seen

My research interests:

- Social Inclusion in the creative industries - what are the barriers to disenfranchised citizens to accessing employment and self-employment in this growing sector? And why is it not as diverse as one might anticipate?
- Graduate entrepreneurship in the creative industries - What is the responsibility of HE in supporting under and post graduates into self-employment? Capturing the journey into self-employment/starting a business - case studies. Including a specific study looking at female entrepreneurship in the creative industries - case studies across the thirteen sub-sectors identified by the DCMS
- Organisational diversification - a piece of developing research capturing the journeys of SME's in the creative industries as they try to diversify their work forces, audiences and markets.
- Creative cities and spaces - how all the above stuff fits into creating a fabulous and creative place to live.
- Business succession planning and non-traditional gender roles (these are two other projects I have some involvement in and tend to influence my main areas of interest - they may crop up from time to time.

I'm planning to use this blog as an external space to explore some of the thoughts and issues I come across in my day job (university researcher) and really try to help focus my mind on what work is the most interesting to pursue. I will also report on some of the events and stuff I go to and freelance jobs I work on.

Apologies in advance this stuff will be rough cut I don't intend to get too precious about spelling, typo's and generally badly formed ideas. I just want a place to get it all down. Constructive contributions welcome.