Creative industries and higher education: What curriculum, what evidence, what impact?

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Bridgstock, Ruth
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Cunningham, Stuart

Flew, Terry

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It has been twenty years since the publication of the initial creative industries mapping documents which made an explicit link between disciplinary creative practice and economic growth. This link began with an emphasis on the impact of creative sectors and industries, but over time also became about the creative workers within them. Policy makers and scholars argued that the application of creative human capital, in the context of an increasingly services-based, knowledge-intensive economy, could add economic value, as well as the cultural and social value traditionally associated with cultural activity (DCMS 1998; UNCTAD 2008; Potts and Cunningham 2008; Hearn et al. 2014). In countries where creative industries policy has found purchase, such as the United Kingdom and to a lesser extent Australia, some higher education institutions (HEIs) with creative disciplinary education and research offerings have shifted their practices to accommodate the concept (Comunian and Gilmore 2016). The shift can be found in creative campuses and precincts, which emphasise knowledge exchange between HEIs and industry, and also creatively based regional economic regeneration initiatives (Comunian et al. 2014; Ferguson 2014). Both of these engagement-focused strategies often also involve government partnerships. Shifts can also be found in thinking and practice in creative higher education curriculum towards human capital – developing the disciplinary and transferable capabilities of students in creative degree programmes, including high-level critical capacities – to prepare them for work in the creative industries and thus ready them for contributing to the creative economy (Oakley 2013), and also the creative human capital that exists within HE academics and other staff, who teach students but also contribute directly to the creative economy through their creative practice, research and engagement activities.

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A Research Agenda for Creative Industries

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© The Author(s) 2019. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Please refer to the publisher's website or contact the author(s) for more information.

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Higher education

Creative arts, media and communication curriculum and pedagogy

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Bridgstock, R, Creative industries and higher education: What curriculum, what evidence, what impact?, A Research Agenda for Creative Industries, 2019, pp. 112-130