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Research & Expertise
Connections & Outreach
While much ink has been spilled over the UK government's 1998 'Creative Industries Mapping Document' – and particularly its controversial definition of this 'new' sector of the economy – the full story of exactly why and how it was written has not yet been told. Dr Jonathan Gross conducted a series of interviews with key participants in the document's creation, culminating in a 'witness seminar' held at Somerset House on 11 December 2018. The findings of this research are presented in, 'The Birth of the Creative Industries Revisited: An Oral History of the 1998 DCMS Mapping Document'.
Live Cinema: the augmentation of film screenings with live elements in auditoria and site-specific locations is a vibrant and burgeoning area within the experience economy. This ongoing research project captures, map and stimulates Live Cinema activity in collaboration with a number of industry partners and cultural organisations.
Related funding includes: Live Cinema in the EU (2016-2017, Creative Europe Audience Development Fund); Live Cinema in the UK (2015-2016, Arts Council England); and TRI-PACT – AHRC Digital Transformations project (2015-2016, Atkinson – PI).
The project has produced a number of publications, created new live cinema projects and convened three major events: The Live Cinema Conference (KCL, 2016), The Live Cinema Symposium (KCL, 2017) and the Live Cinema Summit @ Sheffield Doc Fest (2018).
Image: Live Cinema Conference at King's College London. Copyright Richard Eaton
Making Cultural Democracy is an ongoing research project led by Dr Nick Wilson and Dr Jonathan Gross (CMCI). Addressing fundamental questions of cultural participation and policy, it investigates the nature of cultural opportunity, and the conditions that empower people in their cultural creativity. Research within this project includes an evaluation of the Get Creative campaign (commissioned by BBC Arts and the King’s Cultural Institute), culminating in Towards Cultural Democracy: promoting cultural capabilities for everyone, (2017), and research with London’s leading cultural education agency, A New Direction (AND), published as Caring for Cultural Freedom: an ecological approach to supporting young people’s cultural learning (2017).
Together, these reports are developing ecological understandings of cultural opportunity. Current research includes analysis of the civic role of arts organisations (with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation), and a study of the cultural ecologies developing within Arts Council England’s 21 Creative People and Places projects, across England.
Dates: October 2017- October 2018
This AHRC funded research project aims to make European broadcasters, policy-makers, children’s advocacy groups and content producers aware of the urgent, unprecedented information and entertainment needs shared by hundreds of thousands of young children who have recently fled to Europe from Arab countries and European-born children who have watched them arrive.
The project shows how imaginatively produced screen content for young children could fill worrying gaps in what is currently available to children on all sides of forced migration flows at a time when children may struggle to make sense of the new environment in which they find themselves.
Principal Investigator: Professor Jeanette Steemers Co-Investigator: Professor Naomi Sakr (University of Westminster); Post-Doctoral Researcher: Dr Christine Singer
In line with the Highlight Notice and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to build collaborations across a range of countries which receive Official Development Assistance (ODA), the research network will connect and mobilise different communities, including academics, practitioners in the creative/cultural sector and cultural and creative policy bodies.
It aims to develop a better understanding of the creative economies in emerging African countries and to explore strategies to encourage and enable sustainable context-specific cultural, social and economic development. It will facilitate knowledge exchanges between the Global North and the Global South, highlighting the importance of context specific knowledge and encouraging connections between local cultural production networks.
The research network started in November 2017 and will run until November 2019. It is supported by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Dr Roberta Comunian (King’s College London) is the Principal Investigator working with Dr Brian Hracs (University of Southampton) as co-investigator
The project website is available at: http://www.creative-economy-africa.org.uk/
‘Integrating Forms of Care’ known as ‘Energy in Store’ is a one-year follow-on project for impact and engagement (July 2017-July 2018) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The project was a collaboration between King’s College London ( Dr Anna Woodham – lead researcher) and Group Head of Collections Services Jack Kirby, Science Museum Group (SMG) with Dr Elizabeth Haines.
The aim of Energy in Store was to consider how to democratise heritage decision-making and open up stored museum collections to a wider audience. The project bought together a group of museum curators and enthusiast experts (independent researchers with a clear expertise in and passion for a particular subject or collection) into a single collaborative working group to explore the significant role that enthusiast experts play in caring for museum collections.
The working group came together regularly visiting each of the SMG's stores in turn and taking part in focussed discussions which 'problematise' these stored museum collections from multiple perspectives.
One of the key aims of the project is to acknowledge different perspectives on the use of museum collections and give these perspectives space to be heard and understood. A key output of the project was a film by creative practitioner John Wallet and Aura Films.
The working group have also devised a clear set of policy recommendations for the SMG and wider museums and heritage organisations on how to design more flexible forms of preservation policy that allows for potentially more varied forms of access and 'use' of objects.
Further information can be found on the Science Museum website
‘In Our Hands’ was an installation and exhibition by Professor Ricard Howells, based on his research and monograph A Critical Theory of Creativity: Utopia, Aesthetics, Atheism and Design (2015, paperback edition 2017). It was held at Somerset House, London, from July to October 2016 as part of the Utopia 2016 project. This in turn celebrated the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s Utopia under the tagline: ‘A year of imagination and possibility’.
The installation took its title from Utopian philosopher Ernst Bloch’s conviction that: ‘Life has been put into our hands’. It combined artworks and artefacts and was staged in collaboration with the Le Gun art collective, who created a new work on site in collaboration with Professor Howells. ‘In Our Hands’ was visited by 5,500 people and reviewed in the New Scientist. Utopia 2016 was a collaboration between Somerset House, King’s College London and the Courtauld Institute and Gallery.