Harnessing creative clusters to civil society and the digital economy

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Drama

Abstract

This project worked closely with a number of creative clusters formed around social, environmental and/or political issues. It sought to understand the creative and activist practices of issue-based clusters, and to explore the ways in which these practices might be helped or hindered by digital technologies. A website was established to enable issue-based creative clusters to share knowledge and good practices, and to continue the dialogue on the advantages and disadvantages of harnessing their work to civil society and the digital economy.

Publications

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Schaefer, K. (2012) 'MED Theatre and environmental change on Dartmoor and in community performance research' in Research in Drama Education. Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance Studies

 
Description The project worked closely with a selection of Issue-Based Creative Clusters (IBCC) to understand issues of access related to using the web to promote their work. IBCCs benefited from discussions with and knowledge sharing between researchers, CultureLab's IT specialists, and other IBCCs. The various engagements between different co-researchers led to the development of a guide for IBCCs, published on the ageofwe.org website. The guide stresses the importance of maintaining ownership and control of IBCCs web identities and suggests ways in which to achieve this. The guide covers topics including understanding/making informed decisions about web software, acquiring skills to manipulate, design and configure software; and time management.

Finally the ageofwe.org website is a key outcome with great potential to benefit IBCCs, those involved and not involved with the project. The development of the website was a response to a request by the group members for a non-commercial tool for community activists and artists who wish to use of the web for networking and capacity-building.
Exploitation Route IT professionals might recognise the potential creative and social applications of IT skills. They might look to work in contexts that allow them to combine technogical knowledge and social applications.

Researchers and practitioners with community media skills might realise that their skills are highly valued by IBCCs and be encouraged to partner with them.

While the web provides opportunities for connection, the value of digital technologies is, in some respects, of equal value to analogue elements. The work of community activists/artsworkers in building partnerships and relationships in real life is extremely valuable.

The website produced by the project is an ongoing resource for IBCCs, and can be used as an archive for research partnerships.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)

URL http://ageofwe.org/
 
Description Working with a participatory research methodology with both Issue-based Creative Clusters and IT practitioners/researchers, the project produced a guide for IBCCs, published on the ageofwe.org website. The guide stresses the importance of maintaining ownership and control of IBCCs web identities and suggests ways in which to achieve this. The guide covers topics including understanding/making informed decisions about web software, acquiring skills to manipulate, design and configure software; and time management. The guide has been used by other IBCCs and the website has provided a platform for IBCCs to network and build (web) capacity.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description invited talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact I was invited to share findings from "Harnessing Creative Clusters to Civil Society and the Digital Economy" at the Digital Folk symposium in Sheffield, November 2015. The day-long symposium was a collection of approximately 20-30 people comprised of project investigators, experts in 'digital creativity', folk music practitioners and PhD students in music/sociology. There was a programme of presentations followed by discussion and expert summary.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.digitalfolk.org