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[ecrea] CFP - The Creative Industries and Collaborative Production

Mon Jul 13 14:16:16 GMT 2015

Symposium: the creative industries and collaborative production

Organised by The Promotional Cultures Research Group, Middlesex University

Friday 13th November 2015

At the centre of creative economy discourse lies a somewhat anachronistic
proposition. The form of value that this economy is built upon stems from
a romantic conception of individual creativity: of the cultural
worker-as-artist. The Œcreative industries' presupposes that Œculture¹ is
a commodity mass-produced through the immaterial labour of people for whom
such work functions not as a means to an end (ie. a wage), but rather as
the ultimate form of self-expression. The premise of an industrial mode of
production positions these individuals within a putative Œcreative class¹;
yet the post-Fordist imperative of neoliberal governance that actually
structures these Œindustries¹ requires that these worker-artists must
individuate as Foucault¹s entrepeneurs of the self‹as the Œauthors¹ of
their lives/work‹in order for their labour to gain currency in the

This paradox is seemingly at odds with the realities of production in the
various fields and sectors that are taken to comprise these industries. In
the influential work of Henry Jenkins et al. (2013) for example, the
creative practices of consumer participation and co-creation are deemed
central to the commercial success of these industries as both content and
value now Œspreads¹ horizontally through digital networks. Adam Arvidsson
(2013) similarly argues that Œsocialized networks of productive
collaboration¹ (eg. peer-to-peer networks) utilise common resources and
presage the emergence of what he calls an Œethical economy¹. Yet he also
notes that corporations have for some time been attempting to capitalise
on the Œintangible¹ value that is created and circulated in such
collaborative publics.

A more critical view of such developments can be traced in discussions of
subjectivisation and exploitation in and through Œcreative labour¹ (Ursell
2000, McRobbie 2002, Maxwell and Miller 2006, Gill 2008, 2014, MccGuigan
2010, Hesmondhalgh and Baker 2011). Sarah Brouillette (2014) develops this
line of argument but also, like Mark Banks (2010), points to the ways in
which other forms of craft or non-creative labour remain (or indeed may
have become) structurally necessary for Œcreative labour¹ to take place -
yet are typically elided in creative economy discourses.

What emerges from a review of this literature is a sense that networked,
collaborative and cooperative working practices and assemblages have been
under-examined in cultural economy and creative labour research. A number
of pressing questions therefore arise from an enquiry into the
relationship between creativity, cooperation and value in the creative

€         What is relationship between creativity and autonomy in the
processes of collaborative production that attend, for instance, book
publishing, film production or content marketing?

€         What roles are played by promotion and reputation in the
valorisation of collaborative or cooperative cultural work?

€         What evidence is there to suggest that the creative industries
are or might be developed around an ethical regime of collaborative
publics (Arvidsson) as opposed to the exploitative valorisation of
individual creativity (Brouillette)?

€         What new models of authorship might be traced in collaborative
forms of production and creative practice?

Internal (Middlesex) participants in the symposium will address and
develop these questions through papers that engage with otherwise discrete
cultural fields:

·      Assembling authority through social media networks: Indian
journalist-writers and twitter;

·      Autonomy through cooperation: social enterprise publishing as an
Œart world¹;

·      Digital work and value production;

·      The creative industries and new economic and labour models: from
practice to homological form in globalised film and TV production.

External speakers are invited to submit proposals (250 words + author bio)
that speak to these themes or address any of the questions set out above
by Friday 18th September. Participants will be invited by mid-October.

Please send proposals or queries to: James Graham, convener of the
Promotional Cultures Research Group, (j.graham /at/

For details of current and past projects by members of the Promotional
Cultures Research Group, see:

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