Thursday, December 29, 2005

New Year

Happy New Year etc and for me some new years resoloutions:

1. Phd - get started

2. keep on blogging

3. Network - make connections get the whole 'linked in' thing working for me properly

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Entre pre what?

Okay so last week at a rather stimulating 'away day' with the team, we touched on, but didn't get too involved in, the definition of an Entrepreneur. Over the last couple of months I've attended several conferences were the words 'enterprise' 'entrepreneurship' 'freelancer' 'self-employed' and 'business owner' seem to have been used interchangeably. So anyway this day I guess I was doing that same such thing in relation to the creative industries (two other heavily used words) and my esteemed colleague (prof) was quick to point out my inappropriate use of the word entrepreneur. Based on this I have decided I need to apply some rigour to my use of language, but here is where I was coming from.

Firstly here is my original home spun version of what I had always considered an entrepreneur.

It all started with when I was about 12 and my dad described Arthur Daley (Minder, Thames Television) as an 'entrepreneur' he, my dad, described an entrepreneur as someone who sought and exploited opportunities in order to make money (or something like that) the general vibe was someone who was an opportunist, motivated ostensibly by making a reasonably speedy return on their investment (usually from a lock-up in south London).

As I got older I started to think of entrepreneurship as something pretty seedy, this was the 80's after all and my naive left wing, art school trained views lead me to distrust the commercial world and the money crabbing greedy 'entrepreneurs' I perceived as benefiting from Thatcherite Britain...where am I going with this?

Anyway it took me a long time to get over this view, some how as an artist if you did 'commercial' work you had some how sold out. But hang on. As an artist I did pretty quickly get into the commercial world after all I had ideas and opportunities that I needed to exploit, that were timely, that might just serve to raise my profile or might serve any number of 'other' purposes. But was this activity entrepreneurial? When a student leaves art, design, drama, music college and they find they have to work as a freelancer do they not need to exhibit entrepreneurial traits? seeking and exploiting opportunities in order to succeed in a crowded and competitive market?

Well this is all fair and good but it's just me expressing some thoughts and opinions and in the academic world that isn't sufficient. There are definitions, whole strands of academic scholarship devoted to the subject and here I will try and bring to you some of those definitions and ideas as I discover them. You might also wonder whether or not the definitions are important. I am suspending judgement until I find out a little more but my main focus for this is to questions whether or not individuals working in the creative industries, whether they be self-employed, just freelancers or running small companies are actually entrepreneurs?

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Mini Conference

I spend a day a week seconded to our Faculty of Art and Design, as well as working the research strand of their new media enterprise MA I am helping them to organise an event looking at Enterprise curriculum in Higher Education for Creative Industries. I've been responsible for generating the content of the day and so far it's looking pretty interesting. Rather than duplicate it all take a look at Media Content labs website, this is the department with in the faculty running this course. It's also quite a unique collaboration between the business school and Art School, quite appropriate for something looking at Creative Enterprise. I'll keep you all posted as this develops. For your diary it's 25th January 2006 in Birmingham UK

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Monday, December 12, 2005

I have a hunch...

Now I know I've mentioned this before but what started as a vague hunch is transforming into an idea or an opinion at least. Okay so first of all let me set the scene it's Wolverhampton 1991-1994, School of Art and Design 7th floor, (the school of fine art) off a long corridor there are light and airy (often cold in winter) rooms (I will refer to them as studios) in each studio there are between 1 and 6 students sometimes the studio is full, sometimes empty. Each student has their own space, their studio space.

Unlike most students these are not governed by a rigid timetable of lectures, essay deadlines and workshops. Instead they are given briefs to work to, often devised through negotiation with their lecturer (client) and then they are left to get on with it. Although the lecturer will appear from time to time over the coming weeks/months the student will only get to see him/her if they schedule an appointment (meeting). But for the most part they will get on with their work, will require self-discipline and motivation and will often seek the support of their fellow students(colleagues, networks)to bounce ideas around and brain storm.

At an agreed time the groups of students will present their work for critique, they will be required to present to a group of fellow students and lecturer (colleagues and clients) and be prepared to defend the rigor of their work. They may also be required to find an external avenue for presenting this work (a gallery space), requiring negotiating with external groups and orgnaisations.

Okay so what's my point? Well this is a brief outline of the type of education I experienced. And experience is the right word, the transition from Art school to the real world, although painful in some ways was quite straight forward. Well what did I need? Oh yes a studio space (check), some clients (check), some self-discipline and motivation(Check, check). My point is that this sort of experiential learning is not so far removed from the idea of an incubation unit.

The Creative Industries have very high levels of self-employment and endeavours, based on this model, I wonder, is it that suprising?

Monday, December 05, 2005

What is the role of blogging in research?

Following on from my previous post I am trying to get a consensus of some sort as to what the role of blogging is within research. With Creative enterprise I intend to gradually create a place for ideas and gradually build links with others, encourage others to comment and contribute and in so doing contribute to my research. But how does this fit with the regular research process?

Okay in my reasonably limited experience there seems to be quite a lot of secrecy around people's research, with embargoes on findings and obsessions with ownership until the last piece of analysis is complete. Now I know that this is often stipulated by funding bodies, but for someone who worked in internet companies and always talked about the virtues of open source and open philosophies to content distribution the whole embargo thing seems counter intuitive.

I'm not suggesting that one has all raw data online but a certain openness with issues that arise etc.. could offer opportunities.

Maybe I'm missing something?

In need of focus

This might be a bit off topic - but I have some concerns that arose today:

As someone who is relativly new to this academic gig I am just getting used to the way things are done. The type of research I'm involved in seems, often, like reportage.... let me explain.... a colleague and I were talking about this today. I identified a feeling I've had while involved in this work with the creative industries it often goes something like this:

'I used to be someone who created stuff and now I am someone who reports on other people creating stuff'

A part from seeming somewhat depressing, I wanted to get to something else, I mean research in other fields is often about innovation, discovering things and creating things. So my question to myself is:

'how am I innovating? what am I creating?'