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?;-)


Dave Harte said...

Not so sure I'll be the money man this time next year Charlotte but I'll let you know who is so you can make your case for SXSW 09.

At the next Birmingham Bloggers meeting the West Midlands group that went will be present to discuss what they learnt, how they can help shape Birmingham's much-trumpeted Digital Event in November and of course how they can make sure they've got funds to go to SXSW next year.

Date to be confirmed.


Annette said...

As you said Charlotte, it was only a day and we could only pack in so many things. However, I think that several themes or issues came up, which would definitely need to be explored – perhaps at the next Creative Enterprise conference? After chatting with you the other day (our Peaceful Mind meeting), I think the following themes could form the basis of another event:
Risk: who takes the risk in enterprise education? Students? Staff? Universities?
Technology: following on from your point – the impact of new technology on new business models
Research: Linda Ball talked about her current research, but what opportunities are there for other longitudinal research project to really evaluate and measure the impact of enterprise curriculum? And to capture some of the interesting projects and approaches we heard about at the conference.
Collaborations with business school: We had some interesting comments about collaborations between Art, Media & Design faculties and business schools – mostly quite negative. Is anyone addressing this? I think Andy & Kath Penaluna might be developing some interesting research or projects.
Critical analysis: From our point of view as lecturers we want to support our students and enable them to develop professional skills to survive in the ‘real’ world. But this push to develop entrepreneurial skills in the creative sector is also a result of government policy. Should we be more critical and take the time to analyse what this means? To review enterprise, creative individuals and the growth of the creative / cultural sector as a commercial industry as part of this discourse? Certainly, academics such as Kate Oakley, David Hesmondhalgh and Andy Pratt to name but a few, are critical of creative industries policy but are not necessarily debating this in relation to enterprise curriculum development.
I think this is the sign of a good conference, it leaves you with lots more questions!

Kaka said...

I share the same views. Liked your blog very much.