Saturday, December 13, 2008

HEA/BMAF Enterprise Education Event brief Feedback

I am going through an insomniac phase at the moment so at 7.45 a.m on a Saturday morning I've already been up for 2 hours already!

Thought I'd give a little feedback from the HEA/BMAF event I was presenting at on Thursday. I'll frame this around my tweets from the day (I use twitter - micro blogging). Here are the three tweets, the latter 2 are in response to my twitter pal and enterprise education colleague Dr Kelly Smith (from Huddersfield University).

1. A very interesting day. With some tough love re:responsibilities of business schools in relation economic crisis

2. @KellyJS on this basis, what responsibility do we take/have?Could new enterprise/entrepreneurship pedagogy's be more appropriate? about 19 hours ago from web in reply to KellyJS

3. @KellyJS long story short:Business schools continue to teach Fordist models, these clearly don't work in 2008. i.e. credit crisis (David Rae,2008)

The day was set in the dramatic, wintery valley scenery of Pontypridd at the University of Glamorgan. First up was Prof David Rae who gave a timely insight into where we sit as business schools in terms of our delivery of business management pedagogy's.  According to David our continued Fordist approach is out-moded and unsustainable. The current economic crisis clearly shows this.  This gave a lot of food-for-thought for myself and the other delegates.

As my colleague Prof Harry Matlay and I were immediatly following David we had to think on our feet somewhat to respond to this message. I think, however, that our own presentation complemented his in so much as we were focussing very much on the who, when, why, how and when entrepreneurship/enterprise should be taught? We also considered what Business Schools could learn from how other disciplines deliver their generic pedagogy. Here I used creative disciplines as an example (see this earlier paper which explores this idea). Briefly,  we suggest that generic training within, for example, art and design potentially leads to more enterprising behaviour, for example: experiential, project based curricula, peer review (crits), lecturers who are practitioners and exhibiting work.

Speaking with  Dr Andy Penaluna (the organiser) yesterday I was expressing my sense of seeing the world and future a little bit differently as a result of this day. From my perspective this was one of those occasions where you come away recognising that your thinking has altered, in other ways a thoroughly stimulating day. 

The presentations and a podcast from the day, I believe, will be made available soon and I'll point to them once they're online.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Off to Glamorgan

Today I am off to an event organised by Andy and Kath Penaluna on behalf of the HEA/BMAF (Higher Education acadamy for Business, Management, Accountancy and Finance) and ISBE (Institure of Small Business and Entrepreneurship). My colleague Harry Matlay and I are speakers at an event and looking at Enterprise education (there is a brief outline of the day here).

We will be discussing the key questions 'The Current state of Entrepreneurship education: the Key questions'. I will, with the permission of my co-presnter give some more detail related to this when we're done and what we think those questions are. But as always any thoughts welcome?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hello BCU

Today I am due to present to some colleagues about why I blog. So thought I'd I've myself literally 5 minutes to put down as many reasons as possible:
write down ideas
brain dump
practise articulating
raise profile
manage profile
have profile
have online presence
be myself
be me
write some more
have ideas
exorcise ideas that won't develop
have ideas that might develop
come back to things
a repository of ideas and thoughts
figure stuff out
things to go back to when ideas dry up
think about multiple perspectives
avoid mentioning names
research ethics
note to self
link to people
link to events
link to research
link me to literature
connect me to people
association with events and people and places
tell my story..........

I think I could go on and on. Blimey the endless benefits. Others might mention the 'conversation' being part of, and contributing to, the conversation around my research area.

Okay my blog has also just proved useful to thinking about what I might say this afternoon! Happy day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

a mini catch-up

Since I last posted I've been very very busy. This is me in my first full year as a lecturer and still a researcher - trying to find the balance, afraid my blog has gone a bit on the back burner. I've had a couple of conferences in the last couple of months. Most recently ISBE -this is the 5th time I've attended this conference and I enjoy it more and more each year. Perhaps because I get more and more immersed in the networks there and they increasingly provide a rich source of knowledge, friendship and opportunity.

Note to self
A couple of issues that arose which I will blog about at some point:

1. the entrepreneurial university -
- is it lead by an entrepreneur?
- is it made up by entrepreneurial individuals?
- are academics entrepreneurial but just haven't recognised it yet?

2. Are those that are creative industry individuals running a business entrepreneurs?
I was reminded of a definition of 'entrepreneur' which clearly suggests that they are - I need to dig this out - But any thoughts in the meantime are welcome

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My blog is 3

A rather auspicious occasion came and went and I forgot to mark it. You see this little old blog had a birthday. Started on 23rd October 2005 it is now 3 years old. I'm afraid as children go this is a bit of a neglected one at the moment. My life in the last three years has changed hugely both personally and professionally - whether or not this blog has changed I'm not sure. Anyhow thought I ought to take the opportunity to reflect, look back at this blog and possibly to reflect upon its usefulness.

So as a starter for ten here is my second posting October 24th 2005 - 'Creative what?'

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? ............

Seems odd reading it - especially based on how much I've subsequently read, digested and written about the definitions of the Creative Industries. Moving rapidly on - a year later saw a rather proud moment. My first paper to actually get published in a peer -reviewed academic journal, not many people probably will read or have it (probably) but in the world of academia this is where it's at. Here is my thoughts on it at the time. Pleased to say that this has been followed by several more.

A year later October 2007 saw me at the Plus festival. I really like this posting. I went to see Michael Wolff speak and his words really stuck with me, not only that but I have repeated them - especially the bits about 'creatives needing to be able to articulate their value'.

And now a fourth October 25th as a blogger. I haven't been as good at keeping my blog up-to-date of late. My life seems to be unbelievably busy. I am now a lecturer, researcher, PhD candidate and more recently a PG cert in HE student, not to mention a mummy. But the blog has been and i hope will continue to be a fantastic place for me to get my head around ideas and occasionally when I'm lucky some feedback. It offers me the opportunity to reflect. Ironic that this blog is arguably more heavily read and way more public than any academic journal article I am likely to write, yet allows me to write with far greater ease and informality.

Anyway that is my brief blog birthday post. A lot more has happened I've travelled a lot, met some fantastic people, been involved in some truly fascinating research and listened to wonderful stories in that time - a lot of which have been reported upon here.

So a final word for the next year I must try to blog more often as it really does help me!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: What can enterprise do?

Today is blog action day . A day where bloggers are encouraged to raise awareness of a global issue through their combined weight. The issue this year is poverty. So I was thinking: what would be appropriate to this blog to talk about?

I figured I could talk at length about what creative enterprise could do for poverty and possibly link to some examples. And hey I might do that. But thought I would just briefly draw attention to the work some local small creative enterprises are doing to respond to blog action day.

An idea initiated, I think by Nick Booth of Podnosh a small podcasting company, in response to BAD08; he rallied a bunch of other local media companies, individuals and experts to spread their blog/social media related expertise amongst charities working with poverty in our region.

I liked this idea. I liked that a group of small creative companies organised themselves into a critical mass, to provide some practical and useful support - in what appeared to be a very short time. Leveraging the networks that these sectors are characterised by, not to mention the social media platforms they were advising on.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend but I saw this picture from Chris Unitt, taken a couple of hours ago - looks like they had a full house.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Trying to blog...

Wow can not believe I've not posted since July- I think perhaps my twitter addiction is to blame. That and what has proved to be a very busy summer. Not holidaying you understand but writing. And then writing some more. I've already mentioned this is not something that comes particularly easily to me. But hey.

Thought I would do a little recent news for those who might be interested and for me to remember what I've been up to.

Well term starts soon so I am in the process of writing some course materials for an interactive marketing module I'll be teaching. But as well as this I am developing my current research portfolio and developing some interesting areas with colleagues from all over the place - more news as these emerge. I've also been writing a chapter for the Diana Symposium over in Belfast later this year -this is related to my PhD research so it is taking priority somewhat. I feel a bit sort of too close to this one to talk about it too much so I'll see how it goes before saying anymore.

While in Belfast I will also attend this years ISBE conference, building on some of my project work my paper there develops some of the ideas I've been having around the role of the practitioner as educator and looking to creative disciplines to see how it works there - this paper focuses, specifically on assessment and assessment of ideas (please still do the survey if you do teach in a creative discipline - see last post).

In other news earlier this month I was at BAM in Harrogate. I really enjoyed this conference for the most part. It was in the Majestic hotel which was fabulous - sort of faded glory, I loved it. The conference had a 'Creative and Cultural Industries' track which was great for me. There was a good set of strong papers presented, mainly in a 'round-table' format, which was good for a less formal discussion around the various topics. I've still got to go through all of the various bits of paper I collected, but when I have done I'll try and comment more on some of the themes which emerged.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Creative educators; ideas assessment survey

I am involved in a small research project which is looking interesting, part of it requires gathering the perspective of educators from creative discsiplines. Can you help?

'Creative disciplines education is characterized by an experiential, project based learning environment, regular peer review and frequently led by lecturers who are also practitioners. In contrast, teaching entrepreneurship in business schools has been criticised for its traditional lecture and text book based delivery, as well as issues on the assessment of ideas within an academic framework. The aim of this research is to explore how creative disciplines education is taught, delivered and assessed, and how this might inform the development of enterprise education UK.'

Are you an educator in *any* creative discipline? If so I would be very grateful if you could complete this survey on how you assess ideas:

Creative Educators Assessment Survey!

It should only take about 5 to 10 mins and would contribute significantly to this emmerging field.

Following the development of the exercise, academic papers may be prepared for presentation at an academic conference (or for publication in an academic journal which uses this survey data as material). Institution details and names of individuals will be kept confidential. If the results are used for other purposes you will be consulted.

Many Thanks


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Community managers for start-ups

Following today's TE3 Open day and discussion around how, as enterprise educators, we can help students consider their marketing strategies. I came across this link courtesy of local journalist Joanna Geary about whether or not start-up owners can manage their own online communities.

Great to meet everyone who came today - I'll try and blog in more detail about the event in the next few days.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Digital divide - first thoughts

I got a bit annoyed yesterday evening when I noticed a question I'd raised on the 'live blog' for Birmingham's Big debate had been used in the context of a blog posting about some folks (especially older folks) not having mobile phones, in the context of the digital divide. Anyway once I got over my annoyance it was actually quite useful for me to get to grips with trying to articulate something about the digital divide. Here was my response to the posting:

I must have missed this one but as Technorati picked up your link to my blog and your quoting me I feel obliged to respond. The question I raised was in the context of the debate. Like you, my question was based on anecdotal evidence and intended to stimulate the debate a bit. Perhaps with all of this we each bring with us different ideas and perceptions about who we mean when we talk about the digital divide.

For me I guess it is born out of research work I've been involved in, looking at social inclusion in the creative industries - the digital divide often being cited as an issue or major contributor to exclusion. So perhaps I am/was thinking of a younger demographic than you or at least those of working age.

My point I suppose was that as mobile technologies become more sophisticated, more accessible and the various media converge, then the digital divide might not be as vast as we perceive. I think I was responding to an assumption often made that folks need to be sat at an expensive PC to get internet access, when in fact most mobile phones and increasingly TV's can get internet or digital services. My understanding is that approx 45 million mobile phones are in use in the UK belonging to something like 85% of UK households (not my stats from various online sources).

I think there are issues for example: if a job application form is only made available online, as I believe some local authority cleaning jobs are, then this is an obvious issue as a regular mobile phone would not be too handy in this situation. I guess my point is that a lot of assumptions are made about the digital divide and perhaps we need to be a little clearer about who we mean. Although I have worked with a lot of folks who would identify themselves as non-techy or not computer literate I also see them doing all sorts of sophisticated things with their mobile phones and accessing all sorts of digital services.
Incidentally both my parents and even my 91 year old Grandmother are or have been mobile phone owners.

Having slept on it I think what I was trying to say is a lot of this stuff is about individual perception and confidence, not necessarily about availability and as media converges, mobile phones and TV's become more sophisticated (and with them users) then the divide narrows. Of course this is not my specific area of expertise but certainly I think it is an area which will effect my own research - so thought on this all very welcome.

I should say that there is a disclaimer here: most of my experience related here is from a UK and urban perspective.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Environmental entrepreneurship - the sea change

This is just a reflection from my lecturer and enterprise educator perspective. As some of you will be aware this blog is about enterprise within the creative industries, following the research I am involved in within that sector. As part of this research I am pretty heavily immersed in enterprise education, initially from the how do you teach creatives to be more enterprising, but also generically how can enterprise be best taught and I've spoken about this here before.

Last month I attended and presented at the ICSB conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia - a sweet city by the coast. I presented some research related to recent ideas about implicit and explicit enterprise education and the idea of contextualised enterprise education. I'll explain about this another time maybe. But for now I just wanted to draw attention to an article I read in the guardian, some of the key note speakers at the conference and discussion I've had with my students.

I'll start with the latter. Back in January I was teaching on a module called 'Ideaslab' during these sessions one of the emphasis was on where folks find ideas, innovation and opportunities. To me an obvious area to look was to opportunities that climate change, greening consumer trends and the increasing emphasis on CSR might offer. So I developed a lecture and series of exercises to work through some of the potential ideas and opportunities. At the time I was a little bemused by how some (not all) of the students responded to this: i.e. as if I was trying to push some sort of political agenda or belief system. Still that is by the by and to me just re-iterated that attitudes towards enterprise and being an entrepreneur, in some quarters at least, are rather outdated.

Anyway fast-forward 6 months and I am in Canada at the ICSB conference and although there are a few papers here and there relating to the credit crunch, climate change and ethical businesses (you see it takes academia a little while to catch up - research -results-peer review to publication and dissemination is a slow process). But one of the occasionally annoying but generally valuable and interesting aspects of this conference was speakers during meal times - these were generally local successful entrepreneurs. A major characteristic of these entrepreneurs (and I don't know if it's a Canadian thing, a trend or a deliberate choice on behalf of the organisers) was that their businesses were generally coming from an ethical standpoint.

The first was a business who re-cycled office furniture and computers and stuff - they then re-used them elsewhere in the world - e.g. furnishing schools in a developing country. The point of the business was to reduce stuff, otherwise headed for landfill, service some corporate CSR policies, do some good in the world and make some money in the process.

The second was a modelling agency run by a very young entrepreneur (24 yrs old) he'd been in business since he was 14! Thing is the business was a different kind of modelling agency - the models were all 'normal' sorts of sizes - you might know some of them from the Dove campaign.

So I thought I'd take these examples back, both hugely successful companies with a conscience, for my next cohort of students. Then just to add a little punch to the argument I came across this from the Guardian. Seems investors are dictating change by backing environemntal and ethical businesses with their funds.

Perhaps the next group of students will start to take this a bit more seriously.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

How to register for TE3

If you want to go I forgot to add the llink to register for the TE3 Open day - there are still some places - go to:

Open day details and registration

It's a free event.

TE3 Open Day 2008

Well it's come around fast - you may recall me wittering about the 2007 Open day for the TE3 (Technology Enhanced Enterprise Education) project, where I presented the evalutation I'd been carrying out, last year. Well, somehow a whole other year has passed by and once again the Open day is upon us. The event is hosted by Birmingham City University here is the press release:

Universities Unite to Enhance Enterprise Education

[10th July 2008] Leading practitioners of enterprise education from across the UK, will be sharing the latest innovations in enterprise skills development, at the fourth annual Technology Enhanced Enterprise Education (TE3) Open Day. This year’s event will take place at Birmingham City University’s Technology Innovation Centre (tic) on Wednesday 16th July 2008.

Established in 2003, the TE3 project has developed into a collaborative community of Midlands-based enterprise education specialists. In order to expand this collaboration to a national stage, the TE3 Open Day is co-organised with Enterprise Educators UK, a national network of over 500 higher education practitioners from 83 member institutions.

TE3 Open Day co-ordinator, Charlotte Carey, a Lecturer in Applied Research at Birmingham City University’s Business School says: “The main emphasis of this year’s event is on play, as we want delegates to get hands-on and experience the technologies themselves. Sessions will range from high-technology virtual worlds, to mind-mapping table cloths!”

The event’s opening session will explore how internet-based ‘Web 2.0’ applications can be utilised to create engaging and connected enterprise education. The Head of the TE3 project, the University of Birmingham’s Dr Kelly Smith, will join Birmingham City University’s Charlotte Carey to assess the use of Web 2.0 tools, including blogging, social-networking, wiki’s and Twitter, in enterprise-related curriculum.

The University of Wolverhampton’s Jane Edwards and Kevin Brace will then take delegates on a short tour of the virtual learning spaces in the internet-based virtual world, Second Life. Delegates will be invited to sample a virtual enterprise project, which allows participants to experience the cut and thrust of business, in a low-risk virtual environment.

The open day programme also includes an exploration of a wide range of high and low-technology solutions for student engagement and curriculum development, with contributions from Leeds Metropolitan University’s Alison Price and Sheffield Hallam University’s Dr Simon Brown.

Commenting on the importance of enterprise skills development, the Head of the TE3 project, Dr Kelly Smith says: “Enterprise education gives students both an alternative career option and the confidence to make a difference in whatever type of work they choose. By utilising new technology, we can spread learning opportunities to a wider audience and make learning more engaging, helping more students to develop vital entrepreneurial skills”.

Dr Simon Brown, Director for Enterprise Teaching and Learning, Sheffield Hallam University and Vice-Chair, Enterprise Educators UK says: “The TE3 Open Day is a great opportunity for colleagues from different backgrounds to meet and share experiences. Our association with this event provides a welcome opportunity for members of Enterprise Educators UK to learn from this well established and highly regarded project.”

The TE3 Open Day will take place at tic’s Millennium Point campus in Birmingham City Centre. Further event information can be found at

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Research and entrepreneurship ditty

I've been doing some work on my literature review this afternoon. Like I guess a lot of folks in my situation this can seem an overwhelming experience. I am currently about 18,000 words in. It looks like this section alone will be approx three chapters eventually and I am working away at each of the various sections. But as someone who is not the worlds fastest reader I struggle a bit with it, not least because for everything you read there is a ton more other stuff you could read and all the stuff the folks read who you're reading. Or put another way it's like climbing a mountain in order to reach a destination only to discover, when at the top of the mountain, that there are multiple other mountain ranges a head each of which need climbing.

Another frustration is that each hours reading only seems to result in one or two sentences of critical analysis of said literature. so results are slow going. Today, however I have been getting into it. The mountain was entrepreneurship, the following mountain ranges appear to be economics, neo-classical and Austrian (Fine Art degree is feeling less useful by the minute). I did come across this little ditty that I rather liked, while considering definitions of the entrepreneur, it goes something like this:

An alternative definition suggests that when discussing the role of the entrepreneur, within ecenomic development, one can frame the discussion by taking the view of a historian with hindsight, here the entrepreneur is identified by ‘being the one who was right when practically everyone around them was wrong’ (In Carey 200? Casson, 2003:10)

Not sure why quite liked that one.

Other news PhD related. I have started to disseminate my survey - this is slower going than I'd like, the sample group are harder to reach than I anticipated and I am anxious about whether or not they'll participate. Still fingers and more crossed - I'll blog about this more at some other point. As well as something about researching, ethics and blogging.....coming soon.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Conference in Canada

I have a big post being written - honest - and I know size isn't everything. But I've had a busy old time of it lately. A great deal of marking, some teaching and trying to get a bunch of research complete before the funding ends and somewhere there is a lot to say. But just a quick note to say I am off, tomorrow, to Canada, to Nova Scotia to be precise-ish. Here I will be attending and presenting a paper related to enterprise education, building on a previous paper looking at the role of the entrepreneur educator or practitioner lecturer.

Anyway the conference is the 53rd International Council for Small Business (ICSB) 2008 World Conference and I'm looking forward to it. It should be good to meet some people, hear about other's research, and an opportunity for some time out of my, recently hectic, schedule to focus on my research. I'll feedback on my return. And perhaps use the flight and 3hr check in!! to get on with that ever so long other post!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Women in the Creative Industries

I have a rather long and rambling blog post coming together in the background.In the mean-time I thought I'd highlight a recent-ish article, which reminded me of some of the motivations for my research. Here the lack of women in high-ranking positions in the U.K's top arts organisations is highlighted

From the first piece of research I was involved in, looking at 'social inclusion in the creative industries', I've been aware of the sector not being quite as 'right on' as perhaps, I'd originally thought or hoped. As the U.K's culture minister Margeret Hodge puts it:

"Ironically, this sector has a longer way to travel to really reflect diversity than other sectors....there is the challenge around women not just in executive positions but also in non-executive positions... We need to ensure barriers are removed."

The full article is here: More women are needed in top-ranking arts posts, says Culture minister

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

boo bloody hoo -Yes I'm moaning

I had supervision the other day and was reminded of how far off my Gantt chart I have got. I think this is pretty usual and trying to do a part-time PhD while doing a full-time job, along with trying to be a reasonable parent is pretty tough going whatever the weather.

Anyway I was trying to work out why I cant just do the two hours every day (should be 14hrs a week) and figured my concentration span just doesn't work like that. I don't think I lack discipline, just that I am working pretty hard at most other aspects of my life and this one, well, it's hard, and at (when the other aspects are generally asleep)I don't necessarily have the mental capability or motivation to apply myself.

So what to do? I am having some significant work/life balance issues. Having recently ditched my car I also seem to have an hour less each day! but intriguingly have aqcuired an extra two hours reading time (#onthebus). Perhaps buses could get tables then laptops would be easier to manage - that way I could do whole PhD on the bus!

I don't know how to resolve this stuff I guess I'll continue to muddle on with the constant sense of comprimise and frustrations at a job or some jobs not quite done.

Monday, May 26, 2008

PhD: a child's eye view

In typical style my daughter was styling out going to bed this evening. This used to involve asking her most tricky questions at bedtime, classics being 'how do you make skateboards?' or 'how was the earth made?'. This has become more sophisticated as we've got older and she has become very good at engaging me in conversation at this bedtime time.

Anyway this evening, for the first time, she showed a real interest in my PhD (oh I know she's smart - obviously seen me waffling about it to some poor soul, cornered at a family gathering, and thought 'that'll buy me 10 more mins' and the rest). Anyway as someone who is big into narrative and the benefits of storytelling, I always value the opportunity to reflect on my own story. What was also good was that her questions are so left-field I could use this for Viva experience.

So here is something like how our conversation went:

Q.Did they always have a PhD or did it only start when you started working there?
A. No the university already did PhDs. Everyone does a PhD on their own subject - sort of something they want to figure out and get expert in. I'm a student, it's a bit like doing a course.

Q.What is your subject?
A.Gender and entrepreneurship in the creative industries

Q.What does that mean?
A.Well Gender is sort of you know whether someone is a male or female, entrepreneurship is about running a business and creative industries are you know art, film making, design and stuff.

Q.Oh - why are you doing that?
A.Well I did some research and it seems women are less likely to run businesses doing that stuff than men

Her: Mum - you know it's just because in the olden days women didn't even work

Me: I guess, I mean I know that's sort of why

Q.Well you don't really need to bother doing the PhD now do you? I mean that's the answer

A.Yeah but. the whole thing is I can't just say that I have to do the research to evidence it.

Q.Why don't you just be an artist instead?

A.Well I was when I left college. You know uncle XX and I had our studio in the Custard Factory and we tried, but you know, I guess I just didn't know how to run a business.

Bingo I was off...

You see as an artist you need to know how to run a business, you know sell your paintings, promote yourself, get commissions, deliver on time, do your tax returns...

(Well that was the entrepreneurship and the creative industries bit covered...)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Creative Enterprise 2008 Presentations and speaker info all online

Had all the stuff from the Creative Enterprise 2008 conference through yesterday, which has been neatly packaged into a press release and a section on our Media Depts - website with all the speaker presentations and biog details. According to the press release here's what I said at the time with regard to the relationship between schools of Art and Design and Business schools in terms of delevering enterprise education:

"We had some interesting comments about collaborations between Art, Media and Design faculties and business schools which suggested some tensions, however the conference highlighted how, at least two institutions had navigated this and benefited. What is clear however is that the pros and cons of such collaborations are somewhat uncharted."

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Teaching new media marketing with Twitter....

I am sitting at my desk it is 5.38 so officially outside of work time now. Wondering what to do next? I have head spinning issues. You know? when you are sort of over tired, too much to think about, too much to do and ideas and general stuff keeping you from actually doing anything? So I figured I'll blog - get some of it down.

The last few days I've been doing some pretty solid lecturing here at the university. 6 hours Tuesday, 7 yesterday - this is extreme hard work! To retain concentration, enthusiasm and energy for those sort of stretches is kind of exhausting. However the thing I find about lecturing is that you get to reiterate your ideas and thoughts about stuff, if you're lucky you also get the input of some keen minds and whole bunch of new ideas emerge.

I've been teaching New Media marketing. This week I was mainly focussed on online social networking sites, creating community around your product and keeping an eye on the ever changing/evolving online world. Twitter became one of the focuses for these sessions and by day two I was encouraging my Twitter buddies to participate in the lecture (imagine Twitter projected to class).

My final cohort of students were Msc Business creation students they are all 'entrepreneurs'in the making. Twitter offered the opportunity for my class to interact with, some of the freelance and SME community who are my Twitter buddies, one offered themselves as a 'Live' case study, others offered pointers in online marketing.

All of this was unplanned and could potentially be a much bigger session with all of them sat at computers, laptops, pdas or with their mobile phones participating in a more formal way, with my 'followers' chipping in as and when. Another real benefit of the exercise was it was a direct demonstration of how the users help the evolution of the product (Twitter)by reconfiguring its application (teaching aid) on the fly.

Anyway big thanks to Podnosh, Livebrum (URL to come) and Robert Sharl for their input yesterday - much appreciated.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Message and Medium

Well I've been kind of quiet here since the female bloggers thing. It sparked some interesting discussions and thought processes for me. As my PhD research is very much focussed around gender and entrepreneurship in the creative industries sector I am always sensitive to what are the drivers and barriers to women (and men) within these sectors (Incidentally I am using the DCMS definition of the creative industries which is broad and includes software design, computer games design and publishing - blogging must have a fit there). So the discussion that arose from the Birmingham Bloggers meeting has been a useful one for me, as it highlights some of the opportunities and challenges for the sector in terms of inclusion.

Perhaps some early indications are that women are, potentially, more pre-occupied with the message (content) than the medium (technology)- Of course both are serious drivers of innovation and change, but perhaps here and among the Birmingham Blogging community (ok not all of you I know) the emphasis is sometimes on the latter. Now this is all anecdotal and not even remotely scientific, but as I am currently developing, and deploying, my various surveys (online and face to face narrative interviews). It will be interesting to see if this is an area which emerges.

Incidentally I am keen to develop more research projects in this area if anyone would be interested in collaborating then do drop me an email. charlotte dot carey at gmail dot com

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Women, the creative industries, digital technologies, blogging and inclusion

I want to keep this brief because it's supper time, but a little explanation around this blog, my research topic and how a little event on Monday suddenly put all that stuff into sharp relief.

A story: About 10 years ago I was immersed in all online stuff in the local area (was even regaling the whole 'Charlotte Carey Online' debacle (a rather low budget BBC Radio WM weekly tech radio show) the other day) this all carried on for a few more years and then in 2000 I had my daughter. I took 6 months maternity leave. What happened in that time was a bit weird. I kind of lost my tech mojo or perhaps my confidence to keep on top of the fast changes in technology.

Another thing I noticed was a whole bunch of women that I'd previously met at private views and the like, who had mysteriously disappeared, were now in this other world. The mummy world. It is a day time world where there aren't many private views or networking events, def no impromptu after work schmoozing and networking happens but accompanied by nappy changing and other baby related stuff.

Now this is all quite a while a go for me, mojo was recovered, although slightly altered, private views became once more an option - occassionally. But the whole impromptu thing now has to be planned for.

(and I should add a little disclaimer here: In my experience having a baby and looking after ones small child is one of the most awesome and wonderful experiences - I am not trying to diminish that in anyway. I also know that this is not unique to women and that increasingly men stay at home and take care of childcare)

Now why do I mention this all? well it was this experience and some early research I was involved in that lead me to the work I am immersed in at the moment around gender and entrepreneurship in the creative industries. I got to thinking: if so much about the sector is characterised by sort of night-time living, networking, friendships and 'who you know' then how do folks with caring responsibilities and baby sitting issues get involved? how are their careers affected by this potential exclusion?

This was highlighted recently at the Bham Bloggers (see below) meeting where a bunch of women couldn't make it due to childcare. Now this is not to say that this is the only reason women weren't there (but that is for another posting). But a point that was raised, was that potentially women’s voices are missing and this is pretty serious to the development of these areas. Discussion (see comments related to this blog posting by Stef) led to how women could potentially organise themselves into some daytime blogger meetups, child friendly ones at that. That perhaps these could be a stepping stone to the wider group.

What interests me is that by having a voice, women interested in technology and how it could shape their businesses and the sectors they work within might really add value and a different perspective to the overall mix.

Later: Re-reading my final paragraph and having thought about it some more I realise this sounds a little patronising. What I sort of mean is that they should be shaping/influencing this stuff as much as any one else and in some quarters probably are, but here in the WM it still feels very male dominated - am Imaking sense?

Anyway I'll get in touch with those women and see if we can fix something up?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Social media cafe and blogging and men and stuff

Last night I went to the 3rd Birmingham bloggers meet. Organised by Nick Booth, Podnosh. Overall I have to say it was kind of fun, and interesting too. First of all I thought I would share the rather mischievous notes/observations I made (verbatim) at the event and if I have time I'll expand on them sensibly.

  • SXSW(M) bit- tech savvy scale?

  • Birmingham Bloggers appox 30

  • Women 2

  • Dubber - very smooth camera holding/beer reaching action

  • Digital media passé - apparently

  • Applying what was learnt at SXSW to other areas beyond creative inds - (Re: Michael Wolf)

  • Strikes me - I must invite my single girlfriends next time (1/15) "Girls I found where all the men are!"

  • Co-working movement - Re: San fran

  • Man from London – ‘wanted folks to know how 'cool' this stuff was.... ‘

  • Refreshing to know, that at least in this area London doesn't appear any cooler

  • Social Media cafe and co-working space (sounds kind of familiar~)

  • Bert and Ernie

I'm humming YMCA while I type - wierd....

  • CUBIT....back in da day, 90's and custard factory - also thing in Wolverhampton

  • def recalling research around co-working spaces etc empty spaces

  • Increasing chance of serendipity

  • Appreciating canteen at work in a whole new way

  • Thinking how great in some ways working in a University can be - constant opportunities to network cross faculty/collaboration/serendipity ago go

  • 'Evangelist' totally soo 90's - no?

I couldn't help pointing out that the group was seriously lacking in diversity. All but, I think, three were white, male and around the late 20's early 30's mark. In the pub afterwards it occurred to me however, that as a community it was as much my responsibility to help diversify the group as it is anyone else’s. But I do have some confusion about the purpose of the group.

Is it a group for folks that happen to blog and live in Birmingham?

Is it a group for folks that blog about technology and live in Birmingham?

Is it a group for folks who blog, have an interest in new media/social networking/digitally stuff and live in Birmingham?

Is it a group for freelancers working within new media sector to come together?

It was interesting for me to see how this is developing. From the Creative Enterprise perspective there was a definite focus on how small businesses, sole traders and freelancers can make use of social media both on and off line and I could sense a business plan or proposal to an RDA percolating from some of the group. One thing I would say is a lot of this stuff had been tried before. It is not new that there are a lot of freelancers (particularly in the creative inds) about, who seek out space to network, work, share space and collaborate, even the internet as a conduit to this collaboration isn't all that new, the tools may have changed a bit (was email, newsgroup, discussion lists etc - now blogging, facebook, twitter etc) but not necessarily the application.

I'll expand on some of my bullets at some point.

Homework done 517 words ok Pete?

Oh and just noticed Stef Lewandowski has some pics up

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday afternoon blues

Today I am a bit stuck. I am having one of those days where I am utterly overwhelmed with all that is around me and all that there is to do and I can’t figure out where to start. So what to do?

Blog about it!

I know it might be boring for you (if you are even there) but you know I need to get some stuff out of my head and ordered in some way and this could be the place to start.

Here are a list of the things I am thinking:

1. I heard this and now I know it is true: A PhD is a long and lonely journey. So few other people have sufficient interest or knowledge about the topic, meaning that they don't get why I am ranting about its importance or about one journal article or another blah blah is a lonely place and apparently never bloody ending.

2. What to teach students?
I have an issue with the expectations of a group of students over what I feel they need or should be taught over their sense of what they need or should be learning. I am looking for a middle ground. I want to equip them with some principles but they want to know how to know how to use particular bits of software - with just 4 hours and 160 students (in groups of 20) what will really be useful for them?

3. Yesterday I went to an LSC/AWM creative inds event. It was an annual forum where regional (West Midlands, UK) 'key stake holders' feedback on what they've been up to and what they are going to do. All reasonably interesting with some new research about to be published on the regional ‘balance sheet’ (I’ll link to this when I’ve had a proper look) this describes the actual ‘supply and demand’ of our regional creative inds sector.

With regards to some of the other stuff discussed I did have a couple of concerns otherwise:

- 'Same old same old' a lot of the same issues covered again and again year on year and somehow never resolved and statistics being used inconsistently by the various stakeholders (I am aware that this is always an issue and about different interpretations of data - something I also am guilty of).

- Richard Florida is still cited widely and seems to be highly influential in regional public policy - this is a little scary, not that Florida doesn't have an interesting and useful hypothesis, more that his writings appear to be followed unquestioningly.

Okay can feel a rant brewing so will be quiet for now............

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Creative Enterprise 2008: Part 2

I am astonished to find a whole week has passed and I haven't managed to complete this feedback from the conference! Here is what I said I'd cover:

- Some of the great student presentations
- My own presentation
- The dynamic duo (otherwise known as Kath and Andy Penaluna)
- Other longitudinal research
and the final panel discussion

So following Linda Ball's outline of research, past and present. Some very engaging students and beneficiaries presented their businesses within the context of the support they received. I was reminded about how hearing some authentic stories from ‘the front’ can really put some meat on the bones of this type of , otherwise relatively academic, conference. The students were two from the MA Media Enterprise, run by Birmingham City University and two from the NESTA Insight Out programme. What was nice was to get to hear some brief comparison between the two styles of provision.

Back in 2006 (Creative Enterprise 2006) Gaynor Richards reported on the DCMS findings, which identified 5 unique styles of enterprise provision for creative disciplines these were:

- Curriculum Embedded Assimilated /Bolt-on
- Extra-curricular activities
- Post-Graduate Courses
- Continuing Professional Development
- External Agency Provision

Here we got to hear some of the ways in which students benefited from these different styles. They also highlighted some key aspects of the provision which have been most useful, namely, the application of the course work to their actual business and career development 'I used my own company as the case study'. Other key things were the access to networks and networking and the increase in confidence they all felt.

After a really very good lunch we broke into workshops. I was in a strand looking at the research side and pedagogical considerations. Here I presented some early findings from a piece of research I have been involved in since 2006. I work in a business school and since 2006 (just before the last conference) I have been seconded (just a day a week) to our school of art and design. Here I have had a research role and have been capturing the entrepreneurial learning and the journey of the first cohort of students on the afore mentioned MA in Media Enterprise. I presented some of the early indicators again highlighting all the things the students had mentioned plus some issues around success criteria (i.e. if a students leaves to start a business - that's a success right? unless you are a big institution teaching that student maybe?) this raised a bunch of issues around whether universities are the best place to teach enterprise and was picked apart in more detail in the Big Debate later on.

After me were Kath and Andy Penaluna. I've seen this pair present before and generally speaking they are a breath of fresh air in the big academic conferences, where one frequently sits through seemingly endless papers and PowerPoint presentations. They describe themselves as a left and right brain couple and stood each in their respective sides of the room. Andy the left, the creative and Kath, the right and ex-bank manager. What was great was how their own story, which they regaled, highlighted some significant differences in approach from a traditional business school approach to an art and design approach to teaching and learning generally and teaching enterprise specifically. Again this simulated a lot of questions about the role of the business school in all of this.

Finally Antonia Walker gave an interim view on some research she has been carrying out at Bath Spa University. This is a longitudinal study capturing the perceptions and aspirations of students, tracked through their lifetime within the university. Here she is capturing a more real picture of what students’ imagine they will be doing once they graduate. This will certainly prove to be a telling and important part of the overall picture as this field of research matures.

In the late afternoon I was joined by Andy Penaluna and Sian Prime (now a freelance consultant but previously she headed up the NESTA Academy), between us we responded to questions from the audience and from Dr Paul Long who chaired this more open, panel debate. The discussion ranged from what constitutes an entrepreneurial university? to how creativity, education and enterprise can meet. If anyone has any further comments or feedback on this or the other parallel session please do 'comment'.

That's it for now.

A paper about the last conference abstract here.
A paper about characteristics of art and design education and implicit enterprise education

Friday, March 14, 2008

Creative Enterprise and SXSW

This is a little aside to the conference proceedings. A couple of thoughts have been coming together which I just wanted to try to get straight in my head. At the conference the final question to the audience was something like 'have we missed anything?' and of course inevitably a bunch of issues get missed because, well it was only one day. Still even though I piped up something along the lines of 'needing to consider social inclusion ' because ultimately the sector with all its networking is extremely exclusive (just do a quickie demographic audit next time you're out at a launch/conference/private view). Importantly I should say that in my own research experience what gets termed the 'creative industries' is often coming from a very white, middle class and western perspective - okay I am now off on a tangent and need to reign myself back in.

What I want to talk about is technology. Because what occurred to me (while swimming - always a good thinking place)was that when I am talking to students here (business school) about their business ideas what is imperative is how they engage with/adopt/ keep abreast of new technologies. I mean it is hard to imagine a business were some sort of web presence/capability or in fact the whole nature of the business wasn't just online (okay - I’ll give you sole trader window cleaner).

... and we didn't emphasise that much on Wednesday (apart form one student flagging up that the relevance of a module on the MA Media Enterprise which looks at new technologies and new media - apolos I can't remember the exact module name off the top of my head). Anyway it occurred to me that Dave Harte (yes him again) was simultaneously also part of a network of local folks out in Austin Texas at the interactive conference (although his was more of a virtual presence - obviously).

My understanding was that this group of creatives’, all I believe from slightly different disciplines (journalist, web developer, designer, blogger... anyway look at their site) were out there on a major fact finding mission on behalf of the West Midlands creative industries sector - all disseminated as it went along - they also asked folks from back home to suggest tracks/panels that they should attend on our behalf. I with my new media marketing lecturer hat on asked them to go to some of the marketing focused things but what occurs to me now. Now it is too late. Is it is the enterprise panels that may have been really useful. How small creative businesses and new nascent entrepreneurs in the sector can leverage technology? Although I guess that was probably the gist of a lot of the whole conference.

But here's the thing: when we teach students to be enterprising, we really need to be making sure that they are in a competitive position to be able to understand and exploit the continuous change and development of technology and have them really get how folks (customers/suppliers/promoters/distributors) engage in it.

Yeah and Dave? SXSW09? Room for any lecturers?;-)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

CE08 update

A quick update - had this link through from Jemima Gibbons, from Interactive Know How who facilitated one of the workshops - 'Teaching practical entrepreneurial skills' - I didn't get to this one so it's good to get a flavour from her notes of the day: Intereactive Know How

Also Dave Harte of Digital central has linked to everyone who spoke!

Oh yeah and another thing - the whole thing was recorded - so should be a podcast and some rather dubious pics of speakers coming soon!

The first insallment! CE08

Yesterday was the 2008 Creative Enterprise conference, hosted by
the Media departmentof Birmingham City University and situated in the historic School of Jewellery.

This was a day long conference exploring issues of what's working in terms of teaching enterprise to creative discipline students. The day went in a usualish format i.e. organisational address, keynote speaker and then if took a bit of a detour some refreshing perspectives from students and beneficiaries from various courses followed by the most amazing lunch courtesy of Lassan restaurant in the jewellery quarter.

The afternoon consisted of two sets of break out sessions one of which I presented some early findings from the research I am doing with the MA Media Enterprise (will talk about this later) - I also got asked to sit on a panel discussion.

So here are some highlights (incidentally if you came along then please do feel free to comment with your own highlights):

Following a very smooth introduction from Dave Harte: marathon runner, who'd of thought it funny man and project leader of Digital Central , Linda Ball from the University of the Arts London, gave a keynote address and picked out a whole host of issues which were continually referred back to throughout the day by the various speakers. These included:

- The importance of critical both self and peer evaluation - This is a key attribute of an art and design education and it's interesting that Ball has picked this up as I understand it a sort of success criteris in entrepreneurial life.

- She also really emphasised the importance of continued development of creative practice 'Critical for success', something, I feel, sometimes gets lost in all the discussions around developing enterprise in these sectors.

- Other issues around the nature and characteristics of the sectors, all now well documented the networking, motivation, portfolio working were themes picked up again and again throughout the day. Mainly in terms of how education can try to stimulate these and provide a rehearsal space for some of these later entrepreneurial behaviours.

- Another key theme again picked up by many (myself included) was the importance of experiential learning, Linda described a 'Progressive experiential learning cycle' model to describe this.

- Confidence again was a key theme, and a bit of a no-brainer you might think, but the implications relating to confidence are wide in terms of social inclusion and diversity issues.

Linda also spoke about the business skills required and the nature of business support that would be beneficial. I'll get onto all this in more detail in a later posting. So far I am upto about 10.45a.m yesterday morning so I'll leave it at that for now and post a little bit more later about:

- Some of the great student presentations
- My own presentation
- The dynamic duo (otherwise known as Kath and Andy Penaluna)
- Other longitudinal research
and the final panel discussion.............but right now I need to do some work work!

Oh I nearly forgot and must remember to blog in detail the buzz word of the day 'risk' who takes it and when?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Creative Enterprise 2008

Briefly, just back from Creative Enterprise 2008 - I know Dave Harte (Digital Central) gave out this address so I will endeavour to do a proper blog posting with, what I saw as, some of the highlights of the day - but for now I am on my way out to another event - so it will most likely be tomorrow!

If you did attend please do email me with anything you'd like discussed here (or if you didn't for that matter)

charlotte dot carey at gmail dot com

Sunday, March 09, 2008

New Zealand, enterprise and academia

Written last monday - posted sat

Well back from what felt like a flying visit to see my brother over in Auckland (NZ). Having woken up at 3a.m for the last couple of nights and having my morning 'smoko' (I don't know it's what my brother calls elevensies - he is totally gone Kiwi and lost is sarf London twang) by 8.45 in the morning, I thought I might as well put the time to reasonable use and report back on thoughts and observations from a city that appears to be extremely enterprising.

Observation one: Owning your job and intra-preneurship

I bought a wedding present for my brother and his new wife - it was a steam iron. Now on the face of things this is not the most exciting story, or gift for that matter, but here's the thing I came out of the store having bought the top of the range, most expensive iron that the store had. This was not my intention when I went in. But Thomas explained to me, in great detail, the differences between each of the irons, he really new his stuff and shared his knowledge with great enthusiasm - who knew that irons get dirty inside? he'd even come across a woman who'd had 'ants living inside her iron'- but not this beauty with special clean inside device, self-turning off switch and stainless steal face - well the coated ones peel apparently. Safe in the knowledge that I'd selected an iron that would last a lifetime, Thomas then offered me a 20% discount - just like that!

The thing that struck me about the whole thing was that Thomas was at most 17 years old, he refferred to the irons as 'his section' he knew everything about the irons, he was enthusiastic about irons, he SOLD me an iron, he sold me the most expensive iron on his section without me realising or begrudging parting with over 100 dollars (discount included) for the privilege. The store was a big old ware house style B an Q type place but the experience was very personal and professional. when I mentioned this all to my brother he explained this was common phenomena in NZ because individuals were really encouraged to 'own their jobs'. Now from an enterprise perespecitve and when, in my work, I have been thinking and discussing enterprising organisations and developing enterprising characteristics it struck me that giving ones staff the autonmomy to make descisions (e.g. give discounts), to have that level of responsibility and ownership makes such a difference to the consumer, customer and service users experience. It presumably empowers the staff member and makes them have more of a sense of loyalty to the company. Anyway I'll think more about this and its fit with enterprise but it occurred to me that Thomas had more scope to use his initiative and be enterprising than, perhaps his UK counterpart, he had the knowledge and power to offer me the discount when he recognised I was at the crucial 'tipping point'.

Observation two: is everyone in NZ self-employed?
Okay fast froward to the wedding day, a beautiful ceromony, at home, followed by a sit down lunch for the 20 or so guests prior to the big party. Around the table every person was or had been self-employed (apart from the kids). All of whom within the creative industries. In fact I was tempted to do a quick survey while at the table. I'd half planned to do a comparative (with Birmingham) study of female run creative industries run companies and do the interviews while out there but decided to have a holiday instead. But here, at the wedding breakfast, i had a t least five of the thirteen sub-sectors covered. On closer inspection it would seem that self-employment in NZ is rife and with their film industry growing rapidly it would seem the creative industries are also a major growth area.

Observation three: Academia is international - nah
Talking of the NZ film industry the monday after the wedding (wow not even a week ago) I had the great pleasure in zooming over to Massey university (the Auckalnd campus) where I met with an esteemed colleague, who has written extensively on entrepreneruship within New Zealand and specifically about its creative industries.

I was struck by how academia offers you this great framework with which to speak with colleagues from across the globe, in fact at the wedding I'd spoken to a lecturer/researcher from AUT University he and I are both struggling with balancing the whole PhD/life/job/when to publish/conflicting advice thing - all very bonding!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Hokey Pokey ice-cream!

Now I'm probably not the most frequent blogger so not posting for a few weeks will probably not be noticed, but just to say that unless I feel especially inspired to do so, things will be a little quiet around her for the next few weeks. I'm off to the drink 'flat whites', eat hokey pokey ice-cream, 'merge like a zip' and look and live on a volcano for a bit. Yes. I am off to New Zealand to see my big bro get married - will obviously check out the enterprise scene in Auckland and will report back on any findings on my return (1st wk March) when normal service will resume!!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Creative Enterprise 2008 Conference update

I Just, very briefly, wanted to mention the Creative Enteprise 2008 conference, happening March 12th here in Birmingham. Amongst other speakers, I will be feeding back some of the research findings from the work I have been doing in this area - with our School of Art and Design's MA Media Enterprise(I'll try and post more about this before I go off to NZ next week) but just thought I would flag the conference up as I believe it is nearly sold out!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Online identity, new media marketing and entreprenruship and more all mixed up!

I have been feeling a long and rather rambling blog post coming on for a few days so here goes.

A lot has been happening in my working life and bits are beginning to join up where other bits are falling away. I'll talk about this a bit more in a bit. Firstly I feel obliged to clear one or two things up. Following the Created in Birminghamwin of the Guardian Media award for Best independent blog (congratulations again to Pete and Stef), Pete Ashton gave an overview of various blogs that he has come across and who make up part of the general blogging milieu within Birmingham. Now the only reason I mention this is he referred to my blog presence as a little schizophrenic and I wanted to explore this a bit.

In my teaching work (although I am called a lecturer in applied research) I teach a module called 'New Media Marketing'. This incidentally is based on a previous career where I had various job titles, which included: 'Online PR and Marketing coordinator, online marketing consultant/strategist, Internet consultant and the such (made up names, for at the time, made up roles - i.e. not that many people even used the internet let alone consulted or taught how to – mid 90’s on). Now I may talk about this work in more detail at some other point. But the point I wanted to make is that within my lecture today I was talking about the concept of online presence and Pete's comment struck me - that my own may be a little ambiguous. But then here's the thing? Does it matter? Should I explain? Is it not working if I have to?

Later on in the day I came across Stef Lewandowski, who I don't think will mind me mentioning a couple of brief points that came from our discussion. We were talking about the debris one leaves in 'cyber space' (sorry couldn't resist haven't heard it called that for a long time but I referred to it in my teaching today - when I cited this event: Virtually there; the future shape of cyber space'.).

Did I mention this was going to be long and rambling (possibly a good moment to hit the back button - except... there is some interesting stuff about why I do what I do?)?

So am I hopelessly off topic in my ponderings here?

Let me try and bring it back together, firstly, an explanation of my two blog thing, then secondly how all these strands, the teaching, the online presence etc fit with my research and the topic of the blog - Creative Enterprise.

1. Back in 2005 I started this blog to accompany an expanding area of research which I had been involved in for some two or three years. I had worked on a research programme looking at a bunch of projects which were exploring social inclusion in the creative industries including Strip search by Hi8us and , projects by the RBSA, Scriptand many others. Throughout this time I interviewed and captured the 'journeys' of the artists, writers and musicians involved. A key issue that kept arising was that ultimately folks needed skills in how to be self-employed, how to seek and exploit opportunities and how to build momentum and confidence around their talent and offering (and a bunch of other things - there are a number of papers published on this). Anyway this whole experience sparked my imagination and I became heavily immersed in the world of enterprise and entrepreneurship within the sector. I finally settled on a PhD topic (I'd say title but keep changing it) and that was ' Gender and Entrepreneurship in the Creative Industries. In my day job i.e. the contract research I get paid to do my work I was beginning to focus on Enterprise curriculum in creative inds HE provision. So out of these two areas this blog was born. It was intended to be an informal space for me to explore issues, and hopefully get feedback, around enterprise within the creative industries sector.

Last year I found I was beginning to go off topic or at least wanting to. So I started a
personal blog. Here I rant on about other stuff (much less than I do here) it is an experiment I might dump it, I might grow it, I can't decide. But the point is that it is not related to this topic. However it probably has the same tone of voice, both are ultimately about me or my experience and a reflection of what is happening at a given time in my life - so in that regard it maybe a little schizophrenic.

2. How do all these things I am waffling on about fit together? And what on earth has any of this got to do with creative enterprise? Well a couple of things. I am aware of are how everything is coming together (in terms of thoughts etc). I am one of those people that really hope that their research feeds into their teaching and guess what mine is! Both in terms of pedagogical considerations and also in terms of content. I am transferring what I know about creative discipline styles of teaching (you may recall earlier postings which talk about characteristics of creative ind education which have implicit enterprise education) to how I deliver my lectures within the business school! The second thing is when teaching New Media Marketing I am aware that a great deal of theory dates as rapidly as the Internet evolves. So I am feeling really privileged to be amongst a bunch of people figuring out how the whole blogging thing works and drawing directly upon their experiences to add context to my lectures - in short you're all going to be case studies!!

And breathe! not sure if I'm done or if any of this makes sense but I have typed enough ... for now.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Today I went over to Wolverhampton School of Art an Design, the place where some 14 years ago I graduated with a degree in Fine Art, Time-based Media. It was more than a little weird to mooch about. I was over for a meeting and sort of insisted on heading for the 7th floor. The thing that was weird was that I ended up telling my story of my career to the lady I was meeting. As the career 'journeys' of creative graduates makes up a large proportion of my research, it was strange to hear myself regaling my own story.

I was so touched to back in the place, especially as the lady serving coffee recognised me! (obviously spent rather longer in the canteen than you're meant to) but I also remembered the fun we had, the weird and sometimes ridiculous, sometimes pretentious movies we made, the odd exhibitions we set up in strange locations, the opportunities to show our films shows at places like the London Film-makers coop and the general rehearsal (private views included) of a life in the arts that this gave.

Unfortunately there were no students about which added to the wierdness, but generally it was just totally ace to be back in the big old Brutalist building over looking the ring-road.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

push and pull in creative entrepreneurship:briefly

I saw my supervisors today, both of whom I like a lot and who seem to compliment each other in style and give me the right mix of kick up arse and support. Some interesting issues came up, well for me anyway. Apart from the usual things of me needing to pay attention to regular stuff like punctuation etc. there were some points around 'Push and Pull' factors to why folks become entrepreneurs.

I expect I might talk about this a bit more at some point and have a feeling I may have published something around this already, although perhaps not here. But the thing was around this 'if you go to art school are you then pushed into entrepreneurship (self-employment)?' or by going to art school are you responding to an 'entrepreneurial' pull or as I described a desire for independence?

Or am I just going entrepreneurship crazy?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Presentations from CURS

You may recall an earlier post relating to an event over at University of Birmingham - 'Creativity and the Creative Value chain', well they've published all the presentations here. Along with news of their next event. Thanks to Ian for the link.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Birmingham Bloggers

Birmingham Bloggers

I live and work in Birmingham UK.

Last night I went to the first meeting of 'Birmingham UK bloggers' (name under review). We met in the back of the Kitchen Garden cafe, in the Kings Heath neighbourhood of Birmingham. I was a lone, late 30's female, amongst a group of rather young men (not an altogether unpleasant experience) and I know those that turned up where not particularly reflective of the wider local blogging community - it did mean, however, that our table was a veritable smorgasbord of gadgets! Anyway enough of the observations.

The thing about a meeting like this is that it is hard to figure out why we're getting together. I guess to meet and share with a bunch of folks with a similar pursuit. What became clear was that the role of blogging is changing, with user generated content cited as more heavily read than the generic corporate type websites (I don't have ref for this but think it was the gist of what one of the other bloggers said) it would seem that all sorts of organisations are looking to the blogging community to either harvest or exploit this content.

Now in some respects this is a good thing. I mean we write this stuff, imagine someone, somewhere reads and cares and if someone links to you well then that's all good. But what came across strongly was the sense of what characterises a good blog. For me authenticity and independence stuck out. From my perspective I blog here about my research and my personal blog about my personal rantings and stuff. It is not specifically about where I live and not about where I work. But of course, these things are often interrelated, there are cross-overs and frequently there might be issues, which would be of interest or might feed well into some other organisations context/agenda.

I get the sense that the blogging community is at a strange point - a bunch of organisations were cited, who either: want a blog, content, or appear to have a bunch of ready made stuff. But how as a community do we organise ourselves? Should we organise ourselves? Should we be capitalising on our networks and content? Should we be promoting the city we live in? or be using our blogs to do so? Should we be happy to have our content re-purposed for some other organisations benefit/context/agenda? Now this is not to say that this blog is of any huge value to anyone other than me having a place to waffle on, but I got the sense last night that these are some issues we (the bloggers) need to be considering.

I should say that some of this discussion was in the context of this Guardian article which failed to give Birmingham a mention so for my part I will do my bit for my local blogging community because, well, I said I would. These will include having a specific Birmingham UK bloggers blogroll and tagging my postings with ‘Birmingham UK’ where appropriate (maybe always?) and by the same token I would encourage others to do the same.