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Cultural and Creative Districts as Spaces for Value Change


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This chapter considers the process of value appropriation embodied and enacted in physical space. Drawing on activism as a construct of value appropriation, the chapter considers the development of cultural activities in Ouseburn Valley in Newcastle, UK, as a tool for changing cultural values. While activism has traditionally been associated with activities aimed at promoting or directing social, political, economic or environmental reforms, it is used here as a conceptual framework for understanding the concerted actions of people, which culminate in changes to values, identity and society. The chapter draws on the cultural investment and regeneration of a former industrial area to demonstrate how the characteristics of such spaces contribute to local identity, through reinforcement of heritage, local values and community roots. The designation of cultural and creative districts as one area of the creative economy is then examined as spaces for activism, by focusing on the role of citizen engagement as a tool of activism.
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Construction in
the Creative
Negotiating Innovation
and Transformation
edited by
rachel granger
Palgrave Studies in Business, Arts and Humanities
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Faculty of Business and Law
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Rachel Granger
Value Construction in
the Creative Economy
Negotiating Innovation andTransformation
ISSN 2662-1266 ISSN 2662-1274 (electronic)
Palgrave Studies in Business, Arts and Humanities
ISBN 978-3-030-37034-3 ISBN 978-3-030-37035-0 (eBook)
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Rachel Granger
Faculty of Business and Law
De Montfort University
Leicester, UK
Part I Dening the Creative Economy Through Value 1
1 Exploring Value in the Creative and Cultural Industries 3
Rachel Granger
2 Problematising Hidden Culture 19
Laura Parsons and Rachel Granger
Part II The Creative Self 45
3 Dening Excellence: Value in Creative Degrees 47
Pinky Bazaz
4 Problematising Philanthropy in the UK Cultural Sector 67
Jennie Jordan and Ruth Jindal
5 Value Denition in Sustainable (Textiles) Production and
Consumption 85
Claire Lerpiniere
6 A Cloth to Wear: Value Embodied in Ghanaian Textiles 109
Malika Kraamer
Part III Collective Creative Spaces and Processes 129
7 Intercultural Entrepreneurship in Creative Place-Making 131
David Rae
8 Co-creative Third Space, Maker Space and Micro
Industrial Districts 151
Rachel Granger
9 Cultural and Creative Districts as Spaces for Value
Change 177
Jennifer Garcia-Carrizo and Rachel Granger
10 Silent Design and the Business Value of Creative Ideas 199
David Heap and Caroline Coles
11 The Hidden Value of Underground Networks and
Intermediaries in the Creative City 217
Rachel Granger
12 Value Transformation: From Online Community to
Business Benet 243
Tracy Harwood, Jason Boomer, and Tony Garry
13 Conclusion: Value Constructs for the Creative Economy 265
Rachel Granger
Index 279
Pinky Bazaz is a senior lecturer in the School of Art and Design,
Nottingham Trent University, where she specialises in fashion marketing
and branding. Pinky has more than ten years of design experience in the
creative sector, including as head designer for eyewear design in pri-
vate practice and was previously creative lead in in the design indus-
try for women’s wear and prior to that, a children’s wear designer.
Jason Boomer is a researcher in Machinima, a form of lm making,
which uses computer games graphics. Jason works at Side-Fest, a Leicester-
based social enterprise that works to promote STEAM (science, technol-
ogy, engineering, arts and mathematics) education for all.
Caroline Coles is the senior teaching fellow and deputy head of Law
School at Aston University. Caroline has extensive commercial and aca-
demic practice on copyright and trademarks, and is a trained solicitor in
intellectual property. Her previous research includes work with Boots
Opticians and Boots Foods, and current research focuses on teaching
excellence in law.
JenniferGarcia-Carrizo is a doctoral researcher at Madrid Complutense
University and recipient of a European Scholarship for her work on cre-
ative industrial districts. Jennifer is a visiting researcher at the Local
Governance Research Centre at De Montfort University where she is
extending her research on creative cities in the UK, to examine the role of
‘cities of culture’ and identity.
notes on Contributors
Tony Garry is a senior lecturer in the Department of Marketing,
University of Otago, New Zealand. Tony’s research interests include
service and relational marketing, and emergent technologies within ser-
vice contexts, including gamication as a customer engagement
Rachel Granger is Professor of Urban Economies in Leicester Castle
Business School, and Director of the Creative and Cultural Industries
Research Group at De Montfort University. Rachel is an urban and eco-
nomic geographer with research interests in the creative city, smart city,
urban hacking and disruption, and alternative economic spaces, as a means
of social and economic growth. Her current research includes work on
transforming urban spaces, smart city strategies, and urban innovation
labs. Rachel is co-founder of Inno House, Director of FLOKK (an online
economic analysis platform designed and used in Leicester) Lab, and holds
several board membership positions in cultural and community
Tracy Harwood is Professor of Digital Culture in the Institute of
Creative Technologies, Leicester Media School. Tracy’s research is trans-
disciplinary, working across computer science, arts, design, health and
marketing subjects. Current projects relate to the application of
emerging technologies to business and consumer contexts, including
AI, Internet of Things, VR and AR. She has a management back-
ground, with a PhD in negotiation behaviour, and is also manager of
De Montfort University’s Usability Lab, and co-leader of the Art AI
Festival in Leicester, a partnership between De Montfort University,
Phoenix, High Cross and Luba Elliott.
DavidHeap is Associate Professor of Design Cultures in the School of
Design at De Montfort University. As a trained furniture designer and
Design Manager, David is interested in how design is used within manu-
facturing businesses; and was actively involved in UK manufacturing
through the now defunct Furniture West Midlands Group which
championed design and manufacturing in small rms. David’s cur-
rent research includes auditing design maturity in small manufactur-
ers and fabricators; a related strand of research involves investigating
Silent Design in companies to establish ownership of ideas.
Ruth Jindal is a senior lecturer in Arts, Design and Humanities, De
Montfort University, specialising in arts and the cultural industries. Ruth
teaches on critical and contextual studies on the Design Crafts,
Product Design, and Furniture and Textile Design programmes at De
Montfort University. Ruth’s research interests are in design writing and
criticism, cultural labour, philanthropy and design in cities.
JennieJordan is an associate professor specialising in business manage-
ment in the cultural and creative industries in Leicester Castle Business
School, De Montfort University. Formerly senior lecturer on the BA Arts
and Festivals Management and MSc Cultural Events Management courses,
Jennie is interested in cultural leadership and cultural policy, market-
ing and audience engagement. Her current research is in festivalisation in
regional cities.
MalikaKraamer is researcher and consultant curator on African, South
Asian, Islamic and African heritage art and culture. Formerly Curator of
World Cultures at New Walk Museum in Leicester, Malika is an interna-
tional researcher on global art and curation, providing curatorial
expertise to a Kente collection in Ghana. Malika’s current research
includes work on eighteenth-century West-African Textiles, funded
by St John’s College, University of Cambridge and Wisbech and
Fenland Museum, and international consulting for the China
National Silk Museum, Hangzhou, and UNESCO on the interactive
atlas on the Silk Roads. Malika is currently afliated to the University
of Leicester and to the University of Cambridge.
ClaireLerpiniere is Senior Lecturer in Printed Textiles at De Montfort
University, who specialises in the human and ecological impacts of textiles.
Claire’s research focuses on how we use textile artefacts as social agents
which are emotionally signicant. Such an approach rejects clothes as
static objects, embracing them instead as locations of meaning, memories
and symbolism, and through her teaching and research Claire pres-
ents conceptual frameworks and technologies to advance the sustain-
able practice of textile design. Claire’s current research centres on
slow fashion, as a viable model of production and consumption, and
is a signicant contributor to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Laura Parsons is a doctoral researcher in the Department of Politics,
People and Place at De Montfort University. Her research is on the
Hidden Culture of Food in Leicester, and covers aspects of authenticity,
community and commensality in cultural value production.
DavidRae is Professor of Enterprise at De Montfort University where he
is Director of the Centre for Enterprise and Innovation. David has worked
extensively in executive level business and enterprise roles in higher educa-
tion. His current research is on the connections between creativity, learn-
ing and entrepreneurial behaviour, with a particular interest in social
enterprise and innovation, and open research, innovation and data in
entrepreneurial development.
Fig. 2.1 Hidden culture 38
Fig. 3.1 Degree attainments, by ethnicity (2003–2014). (Source: Based
on data from HEFCE 2015) 52
Fig. 3.2 Values attributed to degrees, student perspective vs. higher
educational measures 59
Fig. 3.3 Value measure attributed to degrees. (Factors contributing to
perceived degree value for BAME students adapted from
Rokeach (1973) List of Terminal Values) 61
Fig. 4.1 Characteristic values inherent in cultural funding sources 75
Fig. 6.1 Two chiefs at the 1999 Kente Festival in Bonwire (Ashanti
Region) in two different rayon textiles with weft-oat designs
typical of the late 1990s. (©Photograph by Malika Kraamer,
Bonwire (Ghana), 1999) 112
Fig. 6.2 Weaver Andrus Sosu in his loom while speaking to a customer
in Agortorme (upper part of the Keta lagoon in the coastal area
of the Volta Region). (©Photograph by Malika Kraamer,
Agortorme (Ghana), 2018) 113
Fig. 6.3 Women and men exchanging greetings at the 2018 Agbamevorza,
the Kente Festival, in Agotime-Kpetoe (Volta Region). Some
women wear two uncut wrappers; others are dressed in a Kente
sawn into a kaba. Some men wear a batakari and others wear a
Kente cloth wrapped around the body. (©Photograph by Malika
Kraamer, Agotime-Kpetoe (Ghana), 2018) 114
Fig. 7.1 Value creation through intercultural entrepreneurship 135
Fig. 8.1 Copenhagen creative ecosystem, by units (2019) 161
List of figures
Fig. 9.1 Map of the city centre of Newcastle Upon Tyne (rectangle),
which includes the Ouseburn Valley (circle). (Source: Own
elaboration from Google Maps 2018) 184
Fig. 9.2 Different industrial chimneys in the Toffee Factory at the
Ouseburn 186
Fig. 9.3 Local bollards and murals 187
Fig. 9.4 Local tours. (Source: Lesley Turner, Admin & Communications
Ofcer, Ouseburn Trust) 190
Fig. 9.5 Logo from the Ouseburn Valley and its variation to ‘Made in
the Ouseburn’ campaign. (Source: Ouseburn Trust 2018b) 193
Fig. 11.1 A sector-relational map of creative and digital sectors, Leicester
(2018) 225
Fig. 11.2 Key actors and interfaces in Leicester (2018) 236
Fig. 12.1 Two-step ow of communication. (Source: based on Katz and
Lazarsfeld 1955; Robinson 1976) 248
List of tabLes
Table 8.1 Analytical, synthetic and symbolic knowledge systems
(Asheim and Coenen 2005) 158
Table 8.2 Characteristics of creative capital, Underbroen (2016–2019) 172
Table 9.1 Cultural production and consumption in the Ouseburn Valley 185
Table 9.2 Activists in the Ouseburn Valley 196
Table 11.1 Sector interactions in Leicester ecosystem (817 organisations) 223
Table 11.2 Creative specialisation of Leicester’s HE Institutions (2018) 230
Table 11.3 Leicester creative city ecosystem (2018) 231
Table 12.1 Sample description 251
Dening the Creative Economy
Through Value
3© The Author(s) 2020
R. Granger (ed.), Value Construction in the Creative Economy,
Palgrave Studies in Business, Arts and Humanities,
Exploring Value intheCreative andCultural
The creative and cultural industries as the primary focus of this book con-
stitute the most distinct area of economic growth of the new Millennium,
and are increasingly viewed as an emerging paradigm in their own right
(see Lazzeretti and Vecco 2018). Recognising and exhorting their early
economic potential, UK and Australia under the Blair and Keating gov-
ernments began to commercialise the creative and cultural industries in
earnest during the 1990s, and in so doing, invested heavily in public and
private agships, which were to become key international demonstrators,
(for instance, London’s Tech City, Manchester’s Northern Quarter and
Media City, Brisbane’s South Bank and Creative Precinct). These early
demonstrators drove fascination and spawned creative projects through-
out much of the western world, drawing on Florida’s (2001) assertions of
the creative city and creative workers as an economic panacea, and produc-
ing a ‘serial replication’ of investment (McCarthy 2005) in creative infra-
structure. As such, the rst decade of the new Millennium could be
R. Granger (*)
De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
characterised as a period of creative consolidation in the UK and Australia,
with new international creative cities and clusters emerging in regional
capitals such as Bristol, Birmingham, Shefeld, and Glasgow in the UK,
and in Australia, Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. Elsewhere, cities have
invested in new creative bases to replicate these early successes in the UK
and Australia, developing meandering creative quarters in metropolitan
areas across both Europe and North America (e.g. New York, Portland,
Austin, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver).
The resilience of the creative city form in the face of a global downturn
has been especially notable, perhaps acting as one of the few truly expan-
sionary areas of the global economy, and the most recent spatial x under
capitalist conditions (see Harvey 2001; Jessop 2006). In the Global South,
especially in South East Asia, there has been a concerted effort over the
last decade to develop internationally competitive creative cities to match
those of the Global North, and as a result, considerable investment has
been directed in recent years into the creative industries in world cities
such as Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, Bangkok, and, more recently, the Middle
East. This globalisation of the creative and cultural industries has been
underpinned especially in South East Asia by new digital technologies, and
a landscape of mature multinationals and global investment.
At the heart of this growing policy attention is the remarkable growth
and economic potential of the creative economy, which in some countries
has offered a route out of long-term structural decline of deindustrialisa-
tion. In these countries, creative industries now account for one in ten
jobs in the economy, and one in four new jobs (DCMS 2018). For exam-
ple, between 2011–2014 and 2015–2016, the creative industries in the
UK grew on average by 11 per cent, twice as fast as in the rest of the
economy (Nesta 2018a). In a climate of continued economic and political
uncertainty, where the effects of the Global Financial Crisis are still being
meted out a decade on, and the risk of a further downturn ever present,
the potential for employment and income from new areas such as the cre-
ative economy acts as a centripetal pull on policymakers. In this sense, the
value of the creative and cultural industries can be seen in terms of jobs
and wealth, and this provides one view of value construction in the cre-
ative economy. This cursory view of what the creative and cultural indus-
tries are, and what value they have, is a recurring theme of this book.
While more and more is known about the creative economy, in other
respects our understanding of it has been constrained by prevailing narra-
tives and a dogmatic orthodoxy tied to the economics of production.
Despite the richness of data now available at a variety of spatial scales and
places, and across sub-sectors (e.g. Florida et al. 2012; Nesta 2018b;
Nathan and Kemeny 2018; Gabe 2011; Lazzeretti 2014), our under-
standing of what it means to be creative (or cultural1), how this is con-
structed, and the wider impact of this remains dictated by the economic
lens. Thus, while the last decade has seen advancements in dening cre-
ativity (e.g. Cunningham 2002; Landry 2011) and understanding the
bifurcation of production and consumption (e.g. Potts etal. 2008a; Anand
and Croidieu 2015), and of new genres of creativity (Capdevila et al.
2015; Floriani and Amal 2018; Lorentzen 2013), the same cannot be said
for our empirical constructions. We have expanded our conceptual under-
standing of the role of others in the creative economy through networks
(Potts etal. 2008b), intermediaries (O’Connor 2015; Hracs 2015; Perry
2019), users (Di Maria and Finotto 2015; Flowers and Voss 2015), and
co-producers (Potts et al. 2008a; Hracs et al. 2018), and we are more
aware of the precarities of pay and access to creative work (Banks 2017;
Oakley and O’Brien 2016), and yet in all of this, our view of value remains
either conceptual or embedded rmly in industrial notions of success
(measured by jobs, earnings, investment, and business), as universal values
based on the use and functionality of creativity.
defIcIts InthecreatIve dIscourse
The corollary of early efforts to commercialise and prot from creative and
cultural activities is the primacy of the ‘creative product’ and of the pro-
ductionist lens in creative discourse, which has reduced value to a narrow
set of impacts shaped by the dogma of economic institutions. Framing the
creative and cultural industries, and more precisely their products, as cen-
tral to the expansionary potential of economies is to frame humans (cre-
ative workers) and projects as market actors, vying for capital, neoliberal at
heart, and imbued with power relations (see discussion by Mould 2018).
The overall effect is a decit in our understanding about this important
contemporary economic and social form. There are at least four decits,
pertinent to the discussion about the value of the creative economy, which
1 Following Jones etal. (2015, p.5), the arts and cultural industries can be seen as a subset
of creative industries because they depend on creativity and derive value from this creativity.
See also Tose (2011), Caves (2000), Throsby (2001), Heilbrun and Gray (2001), Throsby
and Withers (1979), and Vogel (2007) for commercial underpinnings of arts and culture.
relate to: (1) the economic returns on creativity and the hegemonic eco-
nomic lens; (2) the creative city form, premised on capitalist expansion;
(3) the inequalities inherent in the creative paradigm; and (4) the domi-
nance of prevailing narratives in the creative discourse.
Within the creative and cultural industries, diverse communities, actors,
and interests have voice, and the idea of value itself is multiplex. Much of
the denitional basis of creativity and the way society ascribes value to
it—or valorises—draw on economic and productionist terms of reference.
This is reinforced by the views and practices of a small number of institu-
tions, through and by which our perception of value has become institu-
tionalised over time. The overall pattern has been one of reducing complex
aspects of value into simple, often economic congurations, and restrict-
ing analysis to fewer and fewer mainstream activities. To qualify, the recent
Cultural Value Scoping Project in the UK (Kaszynska 2018) conates
those who actively make, debate, and assess cultural value with ‘people
working in arts and culture’ (ibid., p.3) or those ‘making and inuencing
cultural policy’ (ibid., p.5). Yet, a more expansive and discursive approach
drawing on ancillary sectors and actions would provide a richer lens
through which to conceptualise impact and worth. As we argue in this
book, there is an imperative for policy and academia to prioritise new ways
of thinking about what value means in the context of the creative and
cultural industries, leading to new ways of working across sectors, drawing
on the experiences and techniques of other disciplines, and adopting new
ways of using the evidence base. Broadening the framework of creative
and cultural activities as active production rather than products, and
including behavioural change and intricate connections (Glaveanu etal.
2014) as part of ecologies, as well as interrogating how conversations
around value are framed, have salience in addressing this current decit in
understanding. Conversations guide denitions, and conversations and
techniques conned to established communities of understanding and
practice limit new knowledge, as a result of lock-in of ideas and thinking.
It could be argued that prevailing narratives on both the ‘creative city’
and ‘inequality’, which have come to dominate the creative landscape,
refer to two sides of the same coin, and emerge from this productionist
view of creative and cultural industries. The creative city as a spatial mani-
festation of the creative economy, neoliberal at its core, results in a
homogenised socio-economic model, which Mould (2015) argues is para-
doxically devoid of creativity. It is merely the most recent permutation of
the neoliberal form, reecting both cities’ transition to ‘entrepreneurial
urbanism’ (Harvey 1989) and a ‘fast urban policy’ (Peck 2005) based on
conspicuous consumption. As Mould (2015, p. 33) argues, ‘cultural
industries soon became an arena, in which a tidy prot could be made’,
and leading quickly to the ‘Porter effect’ (p. 67), in which every locale
sought to become a creative city, quarter, or cluster.
Inevitably, and following the logic of capitalism, creative cities lead to
revanchist approaches as part of the entrepreneurial urbanist project in
which they must now operate. Gentrication, precarious working, inequal-
ity of access, and poor social mobility are by-products of a system that
disadvantages the most disenfranchised in society. And yet the current
policy model of creative cities overlooks the original sentiment of the
term, which Montgomery (2008) argues is a triumvirate of characteristics
based on creative activity and the built environment, as well as meanings.
He suggests that a cultural quarter, for example, which provides no new
meaning (no new work, no new ideas, or new concepts) is likely to be
merely a pastiche of another place and is not authentically creative
(Montgomery 2008, p. 310). Meaning in this sense might connote the
hidden signs and symbols of creative and cultural activities, or the semio-
capitalism through which a place becomes unique and authentic—the
spiritual, social, intrinsic, and symbolic. Lefebvre (1961) articulates these
often hidden signals and symbols as the ‘background noise of the city’.
On the one hand, we recognise that creative and cultural industries are
a diverse set of activities with different product and consumption combi-
nations, complex issues of power ingrained into access, and different semi-
otic values and material bases, which elicit aesthetic values (see Lash and
Urry 1994; Jones etal. 2015). On the other hand, it seems inconceivable
that one might frame the functionality of creative and cultural activities (as
products) without considering the broader notion of signs and symbols
that shape its materiality and consumptive appeal (see Baudrillard 1996).
Moreover, the fact that some creative activity or cultural assets do not have
a direct (or indirect) economic functionality is becoming acutely obvious
(see Mould 2015, p.69). Therefore, reducing creative cities and associ-
ated discourse to nothing more than economic returns oversimplies what
has already been established as a complex area. Against this backdrop, the
primary purpose of this book is to provide a critical response to this de-
nitional decit, and to provide a framework for looking towards other
disciplines and approaches, and investigating different creative forms. Our
hope is to create a space for reconceptualising value and impact in the
creative economy, which moves beyond the economy, and accordingly
dening value in the creative economy is the rst pillar of this book.
values InthecreatIve economy
There have been numerous attempts to categorise values into universal
value systems, which reect values at the level of the individual (e.g.
Rokeach 1973; Hitlin and Piliavin 2004) and those operating at the soci-
ety level (e.g. Hofstede 2001). Both are seen as instrumental in shaping
decision-making. As such, sociologists and anthropologists have been
studying values for over a century, given their centrality in understanding
human groups and societies, and differences between these. Values give
direction to the way that individuals, organisations, and societies act, what
they strive for, and what they deem important. For example, ‘Values shape
people’s beliefs about what is desirable, important, or worthy of striving
for in their lives … are of particular relevance to people’s social and envi-
ronmental concern, [and] people’s motivations to express this concern …
and feelings of social connectedness’ (CCF 2016, p.6). As the Common
Cause Foundation go on to note, public expression of value is shaped by
the interplay of people’s own values (their personal value system), and
people’s perception of values is reinforced by those held important by fel-
low citizens and shaped by our institutions (CCF 2016, p.5). In a land-
scape dominated by economic institutions, individual and organisational
values will inuence wider perceptions and policies towards the kind of
economic society they would like and how institutions should operate to
reinforce the economic lens. People’s perceptions of fellow citizens’ values
are likely to contribute to a deepening of their commitment to some val-
ues (e.g. economic) and a weakening of commitment to others (e.g. semi-
otic, intrinsic, aesthetic etc.), and people who have values that differ in
importance to them may not be activated in particular contexts (Jaspers
2016) or be part of the mainstream.
The issue of value, and more specically, the dominance of economic
value, is therefore very important in helping us to rebalance the creative
and cultural industries, and in opening up new avenues of debate. Our
starting point in this book is to recognise value in a variety of forms includ-
ing—but not exclusively: (1) the arts and other manifestations of human
intellectual achievement leading to a need for more nuanced understand-
ing and appreciation (valorisation) of culture and creativity; (2) the ideas
and customs of a particular people or society, and the networks, spaces,
and relations, as well as valued patterns of behaviour, which govern these,
and which lead to value constructions; and (3) personal and social values,
and behavioural activities, as well as institutions of society, which construct
key value points. Our hope is that within this broader but also open frame-
work, which covers different creative and cultural sectors and different
research disciplines, a more convincing paradigm might emerge, which
sets out new thinking for contemplating value in the creative economy, for
the next decade and beyond.
vIewIng creatIve value through
thePerformIng lens
Recognising that the critiques of existing research on creative and cultural
industries constitute a set of methodological and critical decits, the sec-
ond pillar of the book relates to the need to look towards other disciplines
and approaches. The starting point is a critique of existing discourse,
which reinforces creative and cultural mindsets, and views the creative
landscape as an amorphous economic term. By contrast, the contributors
to this book view the same landscape differently, as a markedly diverse set
of activities and values, each constituted with its own set of characteristics
and preferences and narratives. In this vein, the book looks towards disci-
plines such as sociology, anthropology, geography, and law to attempt an
alternative view of the creative economy.
While the contributors come from the Midlands, UK, and draw on the
experiences of Leicester, we have sought wherever possible to discuss value
in an international context to draw meaningful comparisons for a wider
readership. In many ways, Leicester’s experiences as a regional capital and
middle-ranking creative city provide important insights in a literature
dominated by world city narratives, with the book providing a richness
that speaks to the multitude of ‘ordinary’ cities, which must compete with
star creative cities and an overwhelming economic logic.
We contend that there are limitations from the tendency and ability of
economic narratives to be reduced to subsumptive accounts, which over-
simplify (and overstate) causal factors and relations and build explanations
upon all-encompassing logics, while ignoring the explanatory capacity of
the other, expressed here as other paradigms, disciplines, and creative sub-
sets. Moreover, we recognise that these interlocking decits limit engage-
ment with new and alternative lens and prevent the development of
informative spaces of contestation. These decits highlight the failures of
the existing elite to grapple with the micro-criticisms of the prevailing
economic framework, noted previously by O’Brien (2010) (acknowledged
partially by Bakhshi etal. 2015) but which have nevertheless become part
of the creative mainstream.
In thinking about how to move forward the debate, it would be tempt-
ing to look towards Bourdieu’s (1986) work on capital, as a construct that
lends itself to the creative and cultural industries, and has both currency
and a wider reach. However, Bourdieu’s framing of embodied, objectied,
and institutionalised cultural capital, as well as his work on social capital, is
in many respects an overly simplistic framework that does not take us any
further in exploring the other, for instance, the distinction between the
individual and collective, the importance of place-based meanings, sub-
narratives, emotions, and other hidden aspects. It does, however, high-
light the importance of spatiality and power through the central role of
habitus. Bourdieu’s work sheds light on the way activities—such as the
creative and cultural industries—are shaped, owned, and used in society.
Such a view shifts the focus away from simple cataloguing of differences
between sectors, occupations, and places to a more subtle and complex
inquiry into how resources are created and can be used to produce dif-
ferentiation, and the role of the other in this. Bourdieu’s work has a further
advantage in that it acknowledges implicitly, the variability of identities,
behaviour, histories, and so on through and by which the economy, com-
munity, and workers perform, and through which assets are accumulated.
Looking towards sociology, Butler’s (1990) Performative Model,
which draws on ‘performative utterance’ to examine gender, has been
invaluable in destabilising rigidly applied gender identities and categories,
while enabling a richer unpicking of issues related to these same notions of
power and precarity. Butler’s conclusion that gender is ultimately con-
structed through one’s own repetitive performance underpinned by sym-
bols and signs (see also Cameron 1997) implies that people and
communities are active producers (that enact and perform) rather than a
product per se. In other words, gender is produced from actions, not
applied from a label. In thinking about how these same ideas might be
applied to the creative landscape, the notion of ‘performing’ moves the
discussion away from the functionality of creativity as a product, towards
materiality, eliciting a different view of value, which intersects with narra-
tives in potentially illuminating ways. The overall effect is to frame the
creative economy in a more nuanced way, from which new outlooks and
models might advance. It therefore offers one way of resolving current
criticisms of the creative discourse and the puzzle of how best to convey
value. Building on the use of performativity used in other disciplines (e.g.
Richardson’s (2019) use of performing in housing), this book interacts
with ‘performance’ and ‘performing’ in six main ways:
1. Performance as Doing—reecting a technical undertaking such as a
task, constructing identity and so on
2. Performance as an Art Form—as an act, a manifestation of intellec-
tual capability
3. Performance as an Expression—reecting deeply held views or
aspects of an identity
4. Performance as Power—exerting control and power in the construc-
tion of the creative economy
5. Performance as a Process (performing)—through which social accep-
tance or monetary value/success is ascribed
6. Performance as an Experience (visible, hidden, or private)
In doing so, the use of performing as an underlying construct for this
book enables the creative and cultural industries to be framed in poten-
tially richer and occasionally, contradictory ways:
as a reection of one’s own ideas and values (expressively)
as a set of relationships
as assets and conduits
as transformative processes
as an indicator of personal status and success (monetary and
as a permanent or continuous (evolving) facet
It is my contention that theorising creative and cultural industries as
acts of performing provides a valuable way of viewing the creative econ-
omy otherwise. The contributors to this book agree that the creative
economy is a signicant part of our economy and society and is here to
stay, and that more robust frameworks and methods are needed to over-
come the challenges to it. We must go beyond old notions of money and
business designed for an industrial era, in order to get a better sense of the
meanings of creative and cultural industries and the intersection of value.
The use of performing as a construct provides a potentially more valuable
lens through which we might glean new patterns and theories. In Chap. 2,
Laura Parsons builds on these same ideas to examine the value of culture
to society and reects on value that remains ostensibly hidden in society as
a result of rigidly applied taxonomies and labels. In her work, Laura dif-
ferentiates between value that is hidden by virtue of being unknown
(unconscious acts), that which is unable to be conveyed through codied
means (tacit, intrinsic, and symbolic values), that which is ephemeral, or in
hard to see settings such as the household. These diverse views on cultural
value serve to shed light on the limitations of mainstream categories and
lenses, and open up ideas for alternative and more nuanced taxonomies.
In Part II of the book, which deals with the Self, several contributors
reect on different areas of value—embodied, objectied, institution-
alised—and which interact with different power dynamics, that shape per-
formance of creativity and culture. In many of these cases, the creativity
economy is framed in terms of a concerted action and manifestation of
intellectual capital and artistic skills. In Chap. 3, Pinky Bazaz examines
education and specically degrees, as an objectied part of the creative
economy, from which society ascribes different values. Pinky draws on
Rokeach’s (1973) taxonomy of value to underscore the inherent conict
between the economic valorising of degrees in the market place, and the
more subtle, soft returns of cultural degrees such as design, especially
faced by BAME groups. Pinky uses the construct of ‘success’ to examine
what cultural capital and performing in universities might mean as a pro-
cess, through which economic value develops, but which for some groups,
creates barriers of achievement in society and raises wider questions around
voice, wealth, power, and race.
In Chap. 4, the same dominant issues of power are brought to bear on
an analysis of the visual and performing arts sector in the UK, and the way
power and policy process militate what art means and how this is accessed,
experienced, and shaped by the corporate other. In their work, Jennie
Jordan and Ruth Jindal examine the notion of ‘philanthropy’ in the arts,
the emergence of which can be viewed as a paradigmatic shift in arts policy
and funding. As Jennie and Ruth argue, the mainstreaming of philan-
thropy into arts is to introduce signicant power dynamics into the eld,
and fundamentally to alter the experience and value of arts by the self to a
more commercial and collective experience. By shaping the location of,
access to, and content of arts, philanthropy in effect changes art from an
individual to a collective experience and process, shaped by commer-
cial others.
In Chap. 5, Claire Lerpiniere reects on the consumption and produc-
tion of fashion and textiles, which on the one hand could be viewed as an
objectied form of capital (literally an expression of capital wealth) but
which reveals wider views of the self, relating to personal values on the use
of raw materials and environmental damage caused by the production of
fashion. In Chap. 6, Malika Kraamer frames fashion and textiles more as
an embodied and art form, which depicts historical and anthropological
issues of how value is constructed in a society, and the use of a cloth to
express self-identity within a community. Malika uses her work to reect
on different aspects of performing, which take place through Kente Cloth
in Ghana—its use over the years to reect both tradition (history) and
modernity (innovation), and the individual choices to wear such cloth and
perform in the cloth, to connote complex relations between occasion, self-
identity, belonging, and political standing in a society.
In Part III of the book, Collective Space and Processes, the creative
economy is portrayed as a collective space and process through which
value is constructed. In Chap. 7, David Rae reects on the collective char-
acteristics of two locales, one in Canada and the other in the UK, and the
role micro cultures play. As David argues, micro cultures play out (or per-
form) at a community level and are critical in shaping value, in this case
through micro cultural entrepreneurship. David draws on the collective
power of a community, and the cultural signs that reside there to trans-
form the area in which they live. In Chap. 8, I use the same ideas to reect
upon the unique signs and collective power of another space and locale in
Denmark, which is argued to perform as a third space. What is revealed
from the chapter and discussion of Danish culture and use of innovation
incubators is the importance of social spaces, and the collective performa-
tivity of informal production spaces to produce economic benets, as well
as generating value from a wider sense of belonging and collective identity.
In Chap. 9, Jennifer Garcia Carrizo and I examine the effects of culture as
an art form in the North East of England, which performs as a transforma-
tive process, which has boosted morale and collective identity in the
Ouseburn Valley. As we argue, while the arts activities themselves might be
viewed as low economic value, their performative power can be seen in the
way they drive social capital, their collective self-worth in the community,
their collective voice outside of the community, and their inclusivity in
bringing a range of economic, social, and third actors together. Many of
these aspects go unnoticed, and to draw on Laura Parson’s work, are hid-
den day to day in the community.
In Chap. 10, David Heap and Caroline Coles reect further on the
value of the hidden in collective terms, by investigating the notion (or
value) or silent design in the commercial design sectors. David and
Caroline draw on the examples of silent design in the furniture industry
and the value of non-designers in the wider design process. Reecting
further on the legal and commercial dominance of value in design, David
and Caroline raise some concerns about the degree to which the economic
lens pervades many aspects of creative performance, effectively excluding
some groups from commercial success, preventing some workers from
performing as designers, and imposing signicant risks on others through
intellectual property. David and Caroline conclude by examining the role
of creative commons in value construction, and whether this acts as a pro-
cess through which other values are enabled. The same ideas are expressed
in Chap. 11 on hidden networks, where I take a relational view of the
creative economy and examine the degree to which some actors and sub-
sectors perform different roles in producing economic value in creative
products. While current taxonomies and measurement apparatus privilege
the economic value of the end product, we seldom view products as a
longer-term process and acknowledge the role of intermediaries, co-
designers, and gatekeepers, or ancillary networks and platforms.
Acknowledging platform in a different, virtual, sense, Tracy Harwood,
Jason Boomer, and Tony Garry examine the different performances that
play out through the ‘Let’s Play’ eld, which has emerged from the prac-
tice of Machinima. Viewed ostensibly as a consumptive practice, Tracy,
Jason, and Tony examine the wider values derived from the Let’s Play
performance, which is viewed as a complex interplay between both con-
sumption and production. This interplay between production and con-
sumption, hidden and visible, and individual and collective raises a number
of issues about how frameworks need to straddle and be exible.
Performing in this area produces considerable value and is leading to a
rewriting of the creative economy taxonomy.
These different contributions serve to remind us that the creative econ-
omy is not an amorphous term; rather a set of separate sub-sectors, actors,
and areas of practice with very different characteristics, histories, and lan-
guage. The book spans the areas of gaming, textiles and fashion, food, and
art, but also thinks about the role and production of communities, pro-
cesses, identities, and expressions. It provides a variegated menu that will
have broad appeal and offer different policy ideas and contributions to the
wider creative discourse. While Pinky Bazaz (Chap. 3) and Jennie Jordan
and Ruth Jindal (Chap. 4) address power in a negative way, Jennifer Garcia
Carrizo and I (Chap. 8) frame this as an empowering process. Equally,
while David Rae (Chap. 7) and David Heap and Caroline Coles (Chap.
10), for example, frame power as a hidden asset and space through which
value is constructed, Claire Lerpiniere (Chap. 4) and Malika Kraamer
(Chap. 5) frame this more emphatically as an expressive event. In these
seemingly disparate accounts, we have attempted to provide a variety of
viewpoints on what is often conveyed as an exclusively economic area
of activity.
We believe that a desirable attribute of this book is that it accommo-
dates a wide variety of viewpoints and sector analyses of the creative econ-
omy, and in doing so draws upon a diversity of conceptual frameworks and
approaches that readers might use for further development. Value has
been conveyed in a variety of ways and the goal of the book is not to pro-
vide a unied approach and ideological framework; rather to present a
diverse framework with options that might stimulate future conversations,
leading to more nuanced approaches and understanding of value capture.
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19© The Author(s) 2020
R. Granger (ed.), Value Construction in the Creative Economy,
Palgrave Studies in Business, Arts and Humanities,
Problematising Hidden Culture
LauraParsons andRachelGranger
In the previous chapter, culture and the wider creative paradigm were
argued to be one of the most notable areas of economic activity of the new
millennium, and as Lazzeretti and Vecco (2018) note, have come to dom-
inate policy and scholarly outputs over the last decade. In this chapter, the
hidden aspects of that creative landscape are considered in full. The chap-
ter examines what is meant by hidden culture, the value attached to this,
as well as why culture becomes hidden.
Culture is a contested notion, having been subject to frequent scrutiny
and debate in cross-disciplinary scholarship (e.g. Crossick and Kaszynska
2016; Williams 1989; Belore and Bennett 2007). In the literature, cul-
ture is portrayed frequently as both a solution (an economic solution to
locales), but is then problematised as a result of its neoliberalist tendencies
(framed frequently as injustice and precarity), and a problematic economic
asset and tool. For example, the cultural industries as one area of the cre-
ative economy are widely credited as a driver for economic growth and
urban regeneration (e.g. Florida 2014; Landry 2000), but as Granger
argues in the previous chapter, neoliberalist paradigms have given primacy
L. Parsons • R. Granger (*)
De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
to a nancial lens through which use of public resources is scrutinised. The
resulting imperative of ‘impact’ connotes value to the public but also raises
wider issues about the nancial impacts as a proxy of utility value or the
collective benet of products or institutions. For this reason, culture has
been presented more as a lens for understanding societies (e.g. Hall 1997;
Bourdieu 2010), communities (Belore 2018), and organisations
(Hofstede 2011; Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner 1998), and yet
there has been a narrowing of the lens through which one might consider
culture. Siloed working practices also mean that sector-specic denitions
of culture have ourished, and as a result, there is a multiplicity of
approaches for how we interpret culture and the wider creative economy
as action, experience, or asset. Moreover, it could be argued that the con-
ated use of terms such as popular culture, low culture, subculture, and
counterculture obfuscates what is valued, what is consumed, and what is
visible to society. As Raymond Williams notes, despite denitions which
belie the true nature of culture, “we all want to be a part of culture and
relate to it, and relate ourselves to it” (Williams 1971, p.306). In other
words, every discipline wants to claim culture as its own.
Against this backdrop, this chapter examines and problematises the
denitional basis of culture, noting in particular the problems associated
with ‘hidden culture’. As is noted, these hidden cultures are manifest in a
variety of forms: secret or invisible; unacknowledged by those in power;
latent or repressed; non-visual, or non-economic or taking place in private.
The chapter considers all of these forms while making a case for a more
transparent taxonomy of hidden culture and a framework for capturing
the value in tacit, intrinsic, and embodied cultural forms. The chapter
starts by dening what we understand by culture, as a context for consid-
ering what is meant by hidden culture and why this is relevant to a broader
discussion about value construction in the creative economy.
defInIng culture
Despite the disparate use of ‘culture’ as a term, a common thread in
discipline- specic literatures is that the scope or terminology of culture is
either too broad to be meaningful, or so narrow as to exclude certain cul-
tural forms or societal elements (Eagleton 2000). This is especially evident
in the work of Williams (1971), who extols a whole range of general skills
in culture, from gardening, metalwork, and carpentry to active politics.
That said, what can be gleaned from the wide range of literature devoted
to culture and creative economy is a commonality in acknowledging one
or more of three strands:
1. culture as a way of life, pertaining to the beliefs, values, behaviours,
and activities of certain sections of society (activity, process)
2. culture as a utopian ideal, or the mark of a successful civilisa-
tion (output)
3. culture as an artistic activity or product representative of a specic
way of life (performing identity, embodiment)
There is evidence of these three embodiments of culture in different
disciplines. Broadly, an anthropological view of culture denoting a way of
life seems to underpin all denitions, but the scope of this varies and is
especially marked in policy and sociological readings of the term. Culture
as a civilising force is present in some policy literature, but mainly seems
applicable to literary and art history elds. The privileging of the cultural
object seems almost ubiquitous, yet the scope of what constitutes a cul-
tural object varies across disciplines, as will be reviewed later in this chap-
ter. Such exible denitions mean that culture is relevant and of interest to
a broad range of elds. Moreover, a review of these disciplinary approaches
allows us to reach a comprehensive denition not yet apparent in current
discourse. The literature within policy, languages, the arts, economics/
business, and sociology are particularly notable and warrant further
Homogenous Policy Approaches toCulture
The focus on the tangible, primarily economic benets of culture in recent
decades has placed the various policy denitions of culture under scrutiny.
For example, while the 2016 UK government (DCMS 2016) describes
culture as being created by “an extraordinary network of individuals and
organisations, that together preserve, reect and promote who we are as a
nation, in all our rich diversity” and discusses the value of what is local and
unique, this is contradicted by the primacy of cultural outputs; for instance,
there is a clear reliance on Arts Council England (ACE) in providing the
national policy framework. While this is not problematic in itself, its termi-
nology “art and culture” (ACE n.d.) may be interpreted as legitimating
cultural forms and the prioritisation of objects, over less visible or intrinsic
cultural forms. In addition, ACE offers a toolkit to organisations to make
the case for art and culture, which differentiates between traditionalist
consumers, creative intellectuals, and aspiring parents. The rigidity of this
approach leaves little room to reect on the nuances of a community and
demonstrates a view of culture only as a tool for societal improvement.
It might also be argued that economic value is clearly prioritised over
social or intrinsic value. While the white paper devotes pages to nancial
value of the creative economy, the intrinsic benets receive just one para-
graph: “Culture creates inspiration, enriches lives and improves our out-
look on life. Evidence suggests that culture has an intrinsic value through
the positive impact on personal wellbeing. Data shows that engaging with
culture (visiting, attending and participation) signicantly increases overall
life satisfaction” (DCMS 2016, p.15). This view of culture, in which the
public are consumers rather than creators, seems to disregard the cultural
forms which give groups collective identity, or that which cannot be reli-
ably measured.
Creative Scotland, the counterpart to Arts Council England, are careful
within policy documents not to conate the terms ‘art’ and ‘culture’.
Culture is used more broadly, alongside heritage, to connote a specic set
of dening national and regional characteristics, such as the “special local
intimacy of local creativity in places like Helmsdale, Langholm and
Ullapool”, while the “Arts, Screen and Creative Industries” are designated
as having specic (and more circumspect) “cultural value” (Scottish
Government 2019, p.6). The culture strategy for Scotland was written
after consultation with cultural organisations and creative individuals, and
eschews the usual economic markers in favour of ambitions of transforma-
tion, empowerment, and sustainability. Similarly, Creative Australia takes
the notion of dening national characteristics further, describing culture
as “created by us and denes us. It is the embodiment of the distinctive
values, traditions and beliefs that make being Australian in the 21st cen-
tury unique”, placing emphasis on the grounding of the culture in indig-
enous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and acknowledging
the cyclical nature of culture (Creative Australia 2013, p.8). The docu-
ment also stresses that “[c]ulture is more than the arts”, acknowledging
indigenous languages and ceremonies, collective celebrations, craft, and
design as valid cultural forms and “the substance to our identity” (ibid.).
Looking across these different forms, only some of which have been
presented here, there appears to be a common language of community
and transformation in Western cultural policy, but a very different approach
to dening what culture comprises. This may be due, in part, to the
presence of indigenous populations, ancient languages, and historic strug-
gles for power and agency leading to a more visible link to, and awareness
of, embodied cultural forms.
Literary scholars Raymond Williams and Terry Eagleton utilise historical
and theoretical perspectives on culture to make sense of culture, with both
venturing—verbatim—that a “culture, while it is being lived, is always in
part unknown, in part unrealised” (Williams 1971, p.320; Eagleton 2000,
p.112). In his socialist reading of culture, Williams (1971, 1989) rejects
elitist tropes and divisive boundaries in dening what may be dened as a
cultural object or activity. In categorising an exclusive preference for ‘high’
art, he classies almost all intellectual output, including trade union
marches and political speeches, as cultural artefacts. In this sense, culture
has been framed as an emancipatory political device and is elevated to
become the measure of our future success. By contrast, Eagleton rejects
the notion that culture can form a utopia, questioning Williams’ inclusion
of institutions as culture and suggesting that this denition would render
a public lavatory a cultural institution (2000, p.38). However, in criticis-
ing postmodernist readings of culture which “privilege the minority” as a
concession to “identity politics” (2000, p.10), Eagleton also disregards
feminist, post-colonial, and queer critiques of culture, thus silencing the
voices which may effectively disrupt traditional and restrictive denitions
of culture, and which have a stronger voice in contemporary spaces.
Visual Arts
Visual art scholars, by contrast, tend to dene culture through a produc-
tionist lens, with the art object representing cultural norms and values,
and acting as a signier of symbolic meanings through inter alia class
struggle and gender inequality (Hadjinicolaou 1978; Berger 2008).
Debate by art scholars over the role of the artist as a uniquely creative
force within society provides rich ground for the artist to be used as a
proxy for the value of art.
In The Social Production of Art, however, Wolff (1993) critiques the
shibboleth of the artist as a creator and names the artist a producer, in part
to democratise the role of artist; acknowledging creative agency among a
greater range of individuals and communities. Acknowledging a broader
category of producers also points to the multidirectional inuence of wider
societal values upon art itself.
Economic-Led Considerations
Despite the apparent dominance of the economic lens, policy makers and
arts funding bodies, cultural economists have predominantly resisted the
reliance on the restrictive boundaries of economic methods to value cul-
ture as a whole (Throsby 2001; Bakhshi and Cunningham 2016). In cri-
tiquing “the reication of the economy” (Throsby 2001, p.2), Throsby
acknowledges the twofold nature of culture as both a way of life of an
identiable group, and the cultural artefacts produced by such a way of
life, utilising multiple lenses to ascribe value, including aesthetic, spiritual,
historical, symbolic, and authentic value. This may be seen to consolidate
the work of scholars in art and literature, by acknowledging the holistic
value of various modes of culture.
Throsby (2001, p.4) offers a triumvirate framework to dene culture,
but in contradistinction to Williams (op. cit.) adopts an anthropological
lens, emphasising culture as an object rather than process:
that activities concern some form of creativity in their production
that they generate and communicate symbolic meaning
that their output embodies some form of intellectual property
Intellectual property in this context may be read as a cultural signier:
these processes and products are indicative of paths of thought shaped by
lived experience and inherent philosophies. If we take culture to mean any
activity or object which ts these provisos, we may begin to separate out
cultural products, especially those which do not t within the mainstream
schema of, for instance, the preparation and cooking of food, and the
production of certain fabrics.
Culture inSociology
At the centre of Bourdieu’s (2010) inuential work on the relationship
between social order and cultural products is the idea that systems of edu-
cation, language, judgements, values, methods of classication, and activi-
ties of everyday life unconsciously reinforce hierarchies and class structure.
Within the concept of ‘habitus’, cultural practices derive signicance not
from intrinsic qualities, as in readings by art and literary scholars, but from
their relationship to one another. Bourdieu uses ‘taste’, a preference for
certain cultural forms, as a proxy for cultural value and a signier of class.
Hall’s (1997) work on the politics of representation draws similarities with
Bourdieu insofar as the assertion that art, music, images, and even the
food that we consume represent the material dimension of a wider system
of beliefs and practices. As Hall notes: “social actors … use the conceptual
systems of their culture and the linguistic and other representational sys-
tems to construct meaning, to make the world meaningful and to com-
municate about that world meaningfully to others” (Hall 1997, p.25).
However, whereas Bourdieu’s theory of ‘habitus’ incorporates genera-
tional evolutions of taste and social structure, tied irrevocably to notions
of power, Hall posits that the symbolic meaning of cultural products
changes continuously, propounding the notion of culture as a tool for
radical social change.
Bourdieu’s methods have come under scrutiny in the wake of societal
transformations from the late twentieth century onwards (see Bennett
etal. 2009; Warde etal. 2007). For example, Bennett etal. (2009) argue
that the lack of empirical data does not support the distinctions in taste
and subsequent relationships to class. Bourdieu’s model is predicated
rstly upon distinct boundaries between legitimate and disinterested ‘low-
brow’ cultural forms, and Bennett etal. (2009, p.257) nd that disinter-
est was rare, suggesting that accessibility is a more signicant factor in
cultural forms (2009, p.257), and that the overlap between what is con-
sidered legitimate and popular is at best unclear. Lash and Urry (1994)
also depart from Bourdieu and Hall’s focus on the primacy of the cultural
product as signier, mirroring instead Wolff ’s (1993) more tempered de-
nition of the artist as producer, and noting transformation in its role: “cul-
tural artefacts are no longer transcendent as representations … they have
become immanent as objects amongst others circulating in information
and communication structures; and that these become the reality of every-
day life[.] More recently we have seen representations taking up the func-
tional position of objects, objects which only differ from other objects of
everyday life in their immaterial form and aesthetic character” (Lash and
Urry 1994, p.132). This focus on the symbiotic inuence of social struc-
ture and cultural product is useful, as Bourdieu’s work is inuential, but as
noted here, it highlights the problem of classifying cultural forms and the
limitations of poor data in illustrating value and values.
reachIng across-dIscIplInary defInItIon
From these different viewpoints, it is possible to appreciate the differences
between disciplinary lenses, while also identifying areas of commonality,
which warrant further discussion. Firstly, the importance of semiotics is
evident in several discourses—some explicitly, such as Throsby’s (2001)
notion of symbolic value, and some implicitly. Semiotics in this context
might be understood as a signier or meaning behind a cultural object, or
as Barthes (1977, p.56) frames “The Third Meaning” or “The Obtuse
Meaning”. As he argues, all social systems involve some element of signi-
cation, but not all of them are in the act of signifying (performing an
action) or paying due attention to cultural systems.
Secondly, it could be argued that culture should be dened in the con-
text of wider society and its ideals, in order to fully understand these signi-
ers; both to illuminate the cultural object itself, and to allow insight into
the societal fabric of which the object forms a part. Wolff (1993), for
example, notes through a sociological lens that the inuence of a singular
art object is unidirectional, but culture feeds into, reinforces, and inu-
ences change in societies. As he notes, the existence of social structures
enables artistic and cultural activity “in a mutual relation of interdepen-
dence” (ibid., p.9). This consideration of context is not only helpful in
explanations of form or object (e.g. the praxes of Islamic artists in pattern
creation) but also in analysing power relations, such as instances in which
art forms by marginalised communities are appropriated and expurgated
for consumption by mainstream audiences, as noted later.
Thirdly, it could be argued that any denition of culture must encapsu-
late the broadest possible activity to be inclusive, and to democratise the
act of cultural production and participation, and to acknowledge and
legitimise the cultural output of marginalised communities. As Raymond
Williams asks “what kind of life can it be … to produce … this extraordi-
nary decision to call certain things culture and then separate them, as with
a park wall, from ordinary people and ordinar y work?” (Williams 1989
[1958], p.5), and advocates the value of domestic and working-class cul-
tural forms. Eagleton argues that this viewpoint of culture is reminiscent
of “the traditional aesthetic/instrumental dichotomy” (Eagleton 2000,
p.36), and that not all intellectual output may be deemed as culture, must
be a signier of wider social meaning to earn this distinction. This rein-
forces the rst consideration of the importance of semiotics in den-
ing culture.
With this in mind, one might dene culture as: ‘an object, activity or rite
resulting from or in a transformative process, which conveys symbolic mean-
ing to a community bound by shared experience, iterating a wider system of
practices and values’.
This denition moves away from the previous discussion on historical
utopian ideals, instead focusing on the circumstance, location, and tempo-
rality of the creation of the cultural artefact. In an increasingly globalised
society there can be no singular idea of utopia, arguably an outdated and
colonialist notion (Hardy 2012). This denition instead focuses on plural-
ity of beliefs, values, and experience which make the study of cultures so
rich. It privileges the art object, the signifying act, and the long-held cus-
tom to democratise what we dene as culture and broaden its scope (see
Williams 1971). The necessity of a transformative process allows tacit and
domestic activities and objects to become cultural signiers, and the inclu-
sion of community dispels this myth of the isolated creator, while the
notion of an iterative system suggests the circular motion of culture inu-
encing values and being inuenced by them.
the emergence ofhIdden culture
While the term ‘hidden culture’ does not exist in the literature, there is
considerable evidence that some culture remains in a hidden state. The
literature notes the importance of subcultures, counter culture, participa-
tory and community arts, and material and design cultures which may
form part of a wider understanding of what here is termed hidden culture.
For example, in the economics eld (especially the New Economic
Geography), useful distinctions are made between tacit and explicit knowl-
edge, and drawing on the work of Polanyi (1958) tacit, symbolic, codied,
and explicit knowledge. Johnson et al. (2002, p. 250) refer to the
Aristotelian distinction between “epistèmè: knowledge that is universal
and theoretical”, and “technè: knowledge that is instrumental, context
specic and practice related”. Tacit knowledge, or “knowledge that is dif-
cult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbal-
izing it” (Asheim etal. 2017) often dees conscious articulation, meaning
that holders of such knowledge may not even be aware of it—being hid-
den from view or consciousness (see Gertler 2001).
The participatory nature of acquiring such uncommunicable knowl-
edge and skills means that tacit knowledge is heavily context-dependent.
For example, Polanyi is criticised for not specifying the “common rules”
which allow transfer of tacit knowledge, meaning that modes of transfer
“remain primarily idiosyncratic and ‘cultural’ in origin” (ibid.). However,
the transfer of tacit knowledge as a mode of cultural expression is read as
a positive by Asheim etal., resting in the socially constructed world of
norms, values, and perceptions, and fundamentally an “expression of cul-
tural meaning” (Asheim etal. 2017, p.430). The notion of transmission
through sensuous media may also inform a methodology and model for
valuing hidden cultures.
There are complementarities between explicit and tacit knowledge
which can become a site for creativity or innovation. There are instances in
culture, for example, where information may be codied in a way which is
universal but this may not be universally transmitted due to form or acces-
sibility; for example, notated music ostensibly conveys the same informa-
tion wherever it is read, but relies on the need to read music, have access
to an instrument, and have the sufcient skill to play the notated music on
said instrument (or absorptive capacity). Asheim etal. (2017) dene this
equivocal area as “synthetic knowledge”, which is gained through the
application or combination of existing knowledges, especially through
interactive learning with users, and has a strong tacit and context-specic
dimension. Symbolic knowledge is considered “essential for creating
meaning, desire, and aesthetic qualities” (ibid., p. 432). In the case of
culture, it is easy to see how symbolic and codied knowledge can com-
bine to elicit creativity; for example, the oral tradition of West African
music was uprooted to the USA and became bound in the practice of
slavery, only to evolve into a legitimate cultural form in the 12bar blues
and become an identier and a cultural symbol for the African American
community. In this sense, tacit knowledge can be codied in a community-
specic way and passed down through generations or across notional
This concept of both codied and tacit knowledge adds to our under-
standing of culture in two ways. First, we might better understand how
power upholds and subjugates systems, therefore inuencing what we per-
ceive as ‘legitimate’ culture. A system that prioritises the economics of
exploitable codiable knowledge may privilege scientic tacit-symbolic
knowledge. In culture, forms which are replicable, easily interpreted, and
understood may be more readily acknowledged and funded more easily.
Second, the literature underscores the spatial and relational elements of
hidden culture. Gertler discusses the difculty of exchanging tacit knowl-
edge over long distances (Gertler 2001, p. 3), which gives primacy to
face-to-face contact but also raises an issue about culture capture. It seems
logical that in an increasingly migratory and digitised world, cultural space
may not just be physical, a point made by Harwood et al. in Chap. 11.
Digital spaces offer the possibility of such exchanges over greater distance,
which Bathelt etal. (2004) acknowledge in their work on ‘Local Buzz and
Global Pipelines’. This extended reach afforded by the digital and by
migrant communities also creates opportunities for further innovation and
creativity through synthetic knowledge. Thus one might conclude that
networks are important in the transfer of tacit knowledge and, seemingly,
in the perpetuation of hidden culture.
Gertler describes communities of practice as groups “bound together
by shared experience, expertise and commitment to a joint enterprise”
who facilitate the identication, joint production, and sharing of tacit
knowledge through collaborative problem-solving assisted by story-telling
and other narrative devices for circulating tacit knowledge (Gertler 2001,
p.11). At the centre of these networks are ‘knowledge enablers’, who are
small groups within larger communities who hold and transfer privileged
symbolic knowledge. In cultural terms, these enablers could be storytellers
relaying folklore, grafti artists, documentary lmmakers, matriarchs
teaching family how to cook, or online inuencers. Identifying these
knowledge enablers in a model for valuing hidden cultures would be use-
ful in mapping networks and tracking the ow of symbolic meaning in
Finally, the problem of capturing and sharing tacit knowledge is
acknowledged widely, whether this takes the form of unwillingness to cod-
ify certain knowledge or lack of capacity to do so. For example, the impor-
tance of techniques for ‘capture’, ‘harvest’, or ‘unlocking’ is considered.
However, it is worth noting that Gertler’s work operates within the eco-
nomics eld and is explicitly based on market value and company growth,
as part of new growth theory. It therefore suffers from being directly at
odds with a model for capturing hidden culture and for culture that might
pertain to other disciplines and elds. There is a sense that Gertler’s work
does not take us much further in recognising and applying hidden culture
in practice and is nothing more than a conceptual exegesis. While culture
scholars may relate to the desire to create a recursive loop which allows the
public to feed back to cultural producers to democratise the creation pro-
cess, it is arguably at this point when knowledge management and culture
literature diverge. Johnson, Lorenz, and Lundvall describe “epistemic
communities” which form “local codes” to make communication inter-
nally more efcient but keep outsiders at arm’s length (2002, p. 251).
Cultural theorists must acknowledge that outside of the capitalist para-
digm, some holders of knowledge do not want to reproduce or share their
knowledge, for fear of it being appropriated, watered down, or lost, thus
losing meaning.
It is, therefore, useful now to look at some ‘hidden’ cultural forms, to
consider what attributes they share in order to reach a more meaningful
denition of hidden culture.
conceptualIsIng hIdden culture
It is evident that, despite efforts in some academic, community, and politi-
cal circles, the notion of ‘high’ culture remains dominant, yet is only
accessed by a small proportion of the population (Hewison 2014; Neelands
etal. 2015). The literature identies routes where hidden cultural forms
begin to emerge.
Power Relations andValue Allocation
The primacy of value is a key factor inlocating hidden cultures. It could
be argued that central to the rise of the contemporary neoliberalist para-
digm has been a campaign of “derision and contempt” (Skeggs and
Loveday 2012) through media, political rhetoric, and policy targeted at
the working class and marginalised communities. The logic of such a strat-
egy materialised from an increasingly individualised society in which ‘the
self’ holds value and legitimacy but is subject to “access to particular
sources of value, such as cultural, social, economic and symbolic resources”
(ibid., p.475), which at once denotes inequalities in how dominant groups
may prosper. This resonates with earlier accounts of Bourdieu’s view of
power (Habitus) in society.
Using power as a lens trough which to analyse questions of value in
culture, Belore notes the “relational nature of processes of value alloca-
tion and cultural validation” (Belore 2018, p.2), implying that ‘habitus’
shapes cultural value, and the subsequent entrenched inequalities make
the question of who allocates value a pertinent one in recognising various
cultural forms as legitimate. Symbolic power “shapes how different social
groups enjoy not only different levels of access to different forms of artistic
and cultural engagement, but also different access to the power to bestow
value and legitimise aesthetic and cultural practices” (ibid.). This also
relates to the ease of codication and transfer of knowledge between dom-
inant groups and how certain tacit knowledge comes to be a tool for
exclusion for marginalised groups who do not share the context necessary
to understand. This may mean that the favour afforded to certain cultural
forms may actively disempower, subjugate, or marginalise non-dominant
groups and render them and their activities ‘hidden’.
Current iterations of cultural policy have been criticised for a dominant
discourse of celebration, failing to acknowledge dualities in which certain
groups benet from policy initiatives while others suffer, or areas in which
community interests have not been served (Belore 2018; McGuigan
2006). Belore (2018) uses the example of the television programme My
Big Fat Gypsy Wedding to demonstrate how a single cultural object can
become a carrier of both positive and negative value, depending on power
structures: a protable export model and diversity awards allow the non-
GRT producers to gain further social and economic capital. However, the
effects on GRT businesses and wider perception of the community have
diminished both material and symbolic power for the community. This
raises the question of the authenticity of cultural products when they con-
cern a marginalised group but are not produced by said group.
Considering products further, Oakley and O’Brien (2016) observe that
cultural products matter because they ‘shape how we understand ourselves
and our society’ and thus the question of who gets to make cultural prod-
ucts is a profoundly relevant one. In this sense, products can be read to
incorporate the object, activity, or rite of our denition of culture, but the
word itself has broader notions of economic wealth. A pattern in which
the privileged are almost exclusively able to allocate value in the cultural
sphere means that programming and making may become a feedback
loop, potentially excluding audiences from cultural activity, as reected in
the downturn of cultural participation referenced in the Warwick
Commission report (Neelands et al. 2015), creating a recursive cycle of
apathy. Cultural production from an unrepresentative group of producers
may reinforce the disenfranchisement of certain groups. The appropria-
tion by dominant groups of cultural production associated with minorities
often changes or dilutes the meanings of important signiers, becoming
“part of an ideological process that designates non-white groups as infe-
rior” (Hesmondhalgh and Saha 2013, p. 184). This is also a process
through which cultural forms lose their ‘authentic value’ (Throsby 2001).
Material Culture andEmbodied Meaning
The study of material culture expands on earlier readings about tacit and
embodied symbols in objects, showing how the aesthetics of the everyday
may be valuable in uncovering social structures and the knowledge trans-
fer within them. Thorpe uses the notion of ‘indwelling’ to explain the
difculties of articulating tacit and embodied knowledge: “dwelling in a
set of physical skills or theoretical presuppositions, one is through them
aware of the external world and cannot at the same time be focally aware
of these skills or assumptions. One assimilates one’s fundamental assump-
tions to the body in the same way that a tool or a probe can become an
extension of the body” (Thorpe 2001, p.24). This difculty is further
complicated when we consider the uid nature of material culture; for
example, Seremetakis describes material culture as a form which is neither
stable nor xed, but inherently transitive, demanding connection and
completion by the perceiver (Seremetakis 1994, p.7). An example of this
nebulous nature of meaning within material culture may be illustrated by
tacit forms of knowledge such as specic forms of dance being passed
down between migrants and their second-generation children, whose per-
ception of the embodied meaning of certain movement is altered by their
removal from its contextual origin.
Barthes (1977) also writes extensively on the identity of signiers and
takes an inclusive approach to objects having semiotic signicance, vari-
ously discussing everyday decisions, including meal choices, furniture, and
clothing as a language, using the example of a sweater representing “long
autumn walks in the woods” (Barthes 1967, p.43, cited in Layton 2006,
p.32). However, Layton (2006) argues that affording symbolism to such
a range of objects is imprecise. He questions the reach and signicance of
certain associations: “But to whom does this sweater have association?
Possibly just Barthes and his dog!” (Layton 2006, p.32). In this sense, it
is important that objects not only have personal meaning, but represent
mutually intelligible systems, thus fullling the earlier denition of culture
as having meaning to a community bound by shared experience.
With this in mind, there may be power in material culture, whether this
consists of personal objects or daily processes, to reveal patterns and com-
monalities in hidden cultures. These forms may include, but not limited
to, cooking (Petridou 2001; Farquhar 2006), textiles (Lerpiniere 2013),
domestic design (Drazin 2001; Miller 2001; Conkey 2006), or clothing
(Schneider 2006). To capture the tacit and embodied meanings in such
modes of culture, sensory and phenomenological methodologies fre-
quently appear in literature. Lerpiniere (2013) cites Ashworth in using the
‘Fractions of the Lifeworld’ method, to attempt to build a holistic picture
of human experience. These fractions—discourse, project, sociality, tem-
porality, selfhood, embodiment, and spatiality—contribute to the articula-
tion of the ow of tacit knowledge and invisible skills in social groups.
The benets of analysing material forms to better understand hidden
culture are twofold. Firstly, we may reveal personal and emotional connec-
tions with the objects which allow producers to explain meaning that has
previously been impossible to articulate, thus beginning to codify sym-
bolic meanings for non-dominant communities and understand how indi-
viduals comprehend and engage their physical and social environments in
everyday life, evoking interpretative techniques.
Secondly, the study of material culture may begin to uncover and artic-
ulate structures of power which may explain why certain cultural forms
remain hidden. Giard’s (1980) study of female practice in the domestic
kitchen shows some evidence of how subjugation may affect the value
placed on certain cultural forms. Despite frequently referring to the ‘cre-
ative ingenuity’ of the women in the study and the sensual nature of the
cookery process, Giard also reveals the implied tension in routine without
recognition: “yes, women’s work is slow and interminable” (Giard 1980,
p.159). Within this duality, Giard recognises that the language and knowl-
edge of routine cookery is passed on almost through osmosis, reecting
the idea that tacit knowledge is only transferable through contact and
demonstration (Gertler 2001; see also Highmore 2004; Asheim et al.
2017), and thus becomes invisible to those not required or expected in the
proximity of certain activity. By elucidating the value in these invisible yet
transformative routines, the material can be a vehicle for beginning to
challenge existing structures.
Subculture andLow Culture
In considering how power can obscure the view of cultural forms, one may
consider how popular—mainstream or sometimes commercial—culture is
located within power structures, and what signiers exist within such
modes of culture. Bourdieu posits that popular culture is “despised by the
rich precisely because of its ‘easiness’” and describes the “refusal of …
everything which offers pleasures that are too easily accessible” (Bourdieu
2010, p.486). While the rich intertextual readings of popular culture and
subcultures in theory counter this stance (Hebdige 1991; Hall 1993;
McRobbie 1994), certain areas of mainstream culture embrace their divi-
sive nature. The term ‘low’ culture is problematic as perspective may vary
along lines of education, class, race, and gender, amongst other factors.
Hunt describes low culture as a product of “permissive populism”, which
is characterised by its resistance to rehabilitation and deication of “the
good-bad object” (Hunt 1998, p.18). This category might include cul-
tural objects which are considered kitsch, camp, or tasteless. These may
remain hidden as their symbolic meaning is not easily codied in light of
widely held values.
Remaining hidden can become part of what gives subcultures legiti-
macy. In Notes on Camp (Sontag 1964), Susan Sontag discusses her con-
icting feelings about camp culture: “I am strongly drawn to Camp, and
almost as strongly offended by it”, while noting that this intrigue stems
from the historical position of camp as hidden: “to talk about camp is to
therefore betray it”. In this sense we see that some cultural forms benet
from their invisibility: in subsequent years, camp has been embraced, but
early proponents of the culture needed to avoid prosecution and persecu-
tion to pass on the embodied meaning in its associated practices. On sub-
cultures, Hebdige mirrors Seremetakis (1994) on material cultures in
noting that the meaning of subculture is always in dispute, as “the tensions
between dominant and subordinate groups can be found reected in the
surfaces of subculture” (Hebdige 1991, p.2), showing how subcultures
may shift between visibility and legitimacy depending on wider social con-
texts. Fiske, on the other hand, frames subcultures as a genuine protest
movement, by which “the subordinate make their own culture out of the
resources and commodities provided by the dominant system” (Fiske
1989, p.15).
However, while subcultures are deliberately transgressive, and charac-
terised by signiers of a dual or fragmented identity to escape various
obligations and shed workaday identities (Chaney and Goulding 2016), to
participate in subcultures often requires ‘extraordinary consumption’,
such as attendance at costly festivals, purchase of specic items of dress,
and other visual signiers. Subcultural signiers such as dress are signiers
of ‘extraordinary selves’ but also remain a culture of conformity and com-
monality and can bestow a certain anonymity. They can deceive, mislead,
or, alternatively, reveal more than they hide as representations of a tran-
scendent reality (ibid.). Materiality legitimises the subculture and its
values, which may be seen to invalidate Marxist readings of the movement
as in this respect the cultural form cannot be a site of protest, but merely
of an alternative mode of consumption. Hebdige (1991) does, however,
note that mundane objects, including safety pins (as a proxy for punk and
anarchist tendencies), tubes of Vaseline (used by the queer community),
may act as cultural signiers with a symbolic dimension. Mainstream dis-
missal or disdain for these objects is part of what makes them sources of
value and totemic items. This recalls Lash and Urry’s (1994) postmodern-
ist reading of the cultural object as central to the circulation of informa-
tion. This duality demonstrates the difculty of codifying the tacit symbols
which identify subcultures and other hidden cultural forms.
Building on these useful conceptualisations of hidden culture, and
drawing on the earlier denition of culture, hidden culture might begin to
be dened as:
a cultural entity within a community of practice, whose embodied meaning
remains in some sense uncodied.
Entities may be invisible to dominant societal groups because power
structures obscure the explicit meaning of their symbolism, or because the
embodied meaning subverts mainstream values.
Entities may be unacknowledged by their producers as holding meaning,
either because intrinsic knowledge has not been considered, or because
dominant narrative excludes the cultural form.
Entities may be consciously hidden by their creators to preserve authentic-
ity, avoid harm, or circumvent appropriation.
The notion of a cultural entity encompasses the ‘object, activity or rite
resulting from or in a transformative process’ of the broader denition of
culture, thus still incorporating semiotic and contextual meaning of a
breadth of cultural products and processes. The word entity is used
because it conveys something more than artefact (something which results
from action) and implies the richness of quiddity while also being a recog-
nisable and therefore usable term for research purposes. The inclusion of
the term community of practice embodies the notion of hidden cultures as
created by networks that hold tacit or symbolic knowledge, perpetuated
through knowledge enablers, invoking the spatial and relational nature of
hidden cultures.
a hIdden culture approach toValue capture
In extending formerly held notions of culture to assume a wider concep-
tualisation which houses often marginalised or voiceless communities, we
open up the possibility of nding cultural value in inherent practices, and
in tacit cultural norms which may inuence regional or national behav-
iours. Rather than enhancing the morals of the individual, cultural pro-
cesses and products are fundamental in forming our values system, both
on an individual level and collectively. This, however, should not discount
the importance of individual experience, especially when analysing the
impacts and inuences of various modes of culture. The follow-up scoping
project to the wider AHRC cultural value research project notes that
accounts from individuals should be held “at the heart of our thinking”
(Kaszynska 2018, p.4). This implies the real need for more suitable quali-
tative models to effectively convey the value of cultural activity.
To begin to conceptualise a model for capturing and valorising hidden
culture, it seems imperative to nd a way of documenting and valuing
these activities and understanding as fully as possible authentic practices
and interpretations. There are important insights here from public gover-
nance in understanding notions of ‘public value’. In public governance,
‘intangible value’ has formed the basis of a model for analysing the public
value of cultural events in the Italian city of Ferrara, and given primacy to
structural, human, relational, empathetic, and evolutionary values.
However, in the empirical study of Ferrara, respondents felt that intangi-
ble value did not serve them, and preference was given to economic and
social benets of events. What may be taken from this research is not a
rebuttal of non-economic approaches; rather that approaches need to look
deeply into the meaning and symbolism attached to community events in
shaping the identity of the city. The study nevertheless is useful in illustrat-
ing how power imbalances caused by removed policymaking can disguise
embodied meaning and value, and also serves as a reminder to spatial ele-
ments and relationship networks in a model. The idea of evolutionary
value may also be important in understanding how value builds and is
shaped by a longer history of events and cultural values.
Much of the public value literature focuses on a scorecard approach to
measuring value (Smith 2004; Talbot 2011; Cwiklicki 2016) and appears
to detail ‘how to produce’ value (Smith 2004; Papi etal. 2018), providing
what is arguably a toolkit for policy makers to make the case for a pre-
scribed set of accepted cultural (or other public) forms. The premise
behind a model for hidden culture, however, is quite the opposite: an
acknowledgement that the value already exists, and needs to be uncovered
and communicated, or more deeply unpicked and understood.
In 2012, the Western Australian government commissioned a frame-
work specically for the arts, which acknowledged that process is a key
element of cultural value, that authenticity is a factor in ascertaining the
value of cultural entities, and that previous models of valuing cultural
forms lacked transparency and may have perpetuated a hierarchy which
privileged certain art forms over others (Chappell and Knell 2012).
However, the subsequent model developed places value and reach in a
closed loop with impact. The subjectivity of these terms and the emphasis
on the abstract impact are what can be argued to hide many cultures in the
rst place. As such it seems sensible to argue that any model of hidden
culture moves away from ‘making a case’ for certain cultural forms and
towards a more open-ended value model.
To suitably extract the parameters and to qualify the signicance of hid-
den culture, one must shape a common language and currency, build a
collective intention about the ways in which hidden cultures may create
value, and shape an evidence base that includes tools and resources that
will allow producers and participants in hidden cultures to better capture
the value they create. The model below (Fig. 2.1) begins to frame these
terms and may be applied to research design and case studies.
The intention here is to use the model to open up new avenues of
debate about suitable but nuanced measures and proxies of the model to
inform new research design on the creative economy. The model evokes
interpretative approaches and in particular phenomenological, sensory,
visual and digital techniques, to elicit meaning previously difcult to artic-
ulate. It also emphasises the role of participatory methods in the creative
economy to give an authentic voice to hidden communities who have
never been given the opportunity to express themselves before. In this
sense we may begin to understand the value of hereto tacit cultural forms
which are strongly symbolic for communities and individuals. Looking to
environmental sociology and drawing upon the Citizen Sense project
(Gabrys 2014, 2017) in which the public evidence pollution to argue for
improved infrastructures of care, a Hidden Culture approach might seek
to allow participants to provide their own data independently, through
digital media, to document their everyday cultural experience and begin
to articulate the symbolic value in their communities.
Fig. 2.1 Hidden culture
The model also seeks to articulate cultural forms which are identiers
for communities and individuals. Methods might usefully foreground
objects, which participants may not consider signicant out of context,
but are central to certain experiences, and by exploring the role of place in
everyday practice. To elicit suitably rich case study data in uncovering both
tacit knowledge and the spatial-relational aspects of hidden culture,
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city (e.g. Degen and Rose 2012), phenomenological readings of material
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1984; Mould 2015), phenomenological walking methods (e.g. Kusenbach
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The Creative Self
47© The Author(s) 2020
R. Granger (ed.), Value Construction in the Creative Economy,
Palgrave Studies in Business, Arts and Humanities,
Dening Excellence: Value inCreative
This chapter considers the value worth of skills/training in cultural and
creative sectors. Specically, it considers the personal and societal value
of creative degrees, which have come under intense public scrutiny in
recent years as part of a changing public attitude to higher education.
In the UK, perceptions of value in higher education are also framed
within a wider context of debate about value for money from public
expenditure, returns on investment from personal nancing of educa-
tion, and the utility of degrees within the wider society and economy
(Last 2017). Reviewing what value means in the context of creative
degrees therefore comes at a time of wider transformation of higher
education, continued paradigmatic shifts in central government policy
and changing attitudes to widening participation from society, much of
which have been shaped by the media. Within this operating context in
the UK have come institutional changes in universities, most notably,
P. Bazaz (*)
Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK
the arrival of self-nancing of student fees, and with it student loans,
rises and caps in fees. More recently, there has been the introduction of
the National Ofce for Students (OfS) in 2017 with a remit to develop
greater transparency in how student fees are spent and how degrees are
providing real value for money. The Teaching Excellence Framework
(TEF) in the UK, introduced as a measure of university performance,
is also being promoted as a tool for student choice, with the conse-
quence that universities are under mounting pressure to demonstrate
their overall societal worth.
As consumers, students now occupy a changing position in the edu-
cation system with inevitable comparisons drawn between ‘worth’ of
learning and economic ‘costs’, vis-à-vis potential salary (as measured
by the LEO Survey). Drawing on Rokeach (1973), value in this chap-
ter is considered as an integrated belief system or ‘terminal value’,
which individuals maintain through social and personal interrelations
and through ‘instrumental values’, and accordingly are inherently sub-
jective. This contrasts with a more objective interpretation of value
based on merit or monetary returns (see debate by Tuulik etal. 2016).
As a result, the chapter draws extensively on the notion that value is a
set of “standards, which guide and determine the actions and attitudes
towards objects and situations, based one’s self to others” (Rokeach
1973, p.23). This is especially pertinent in conducting a qualitative
and interpretativistic research on creative degrees as is done here,
which reects on individual and differential performance and attain-
ment, leading to discussion about outcomes of learning at higher edu-
cation level between groups of different students. Within this vein, the
chapter notes and examines the differential performance and attain-
ment of White and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) stu-
dents, and draws on the case study of De Montfort University to
examine perceived differences in the value of (creative) education for
BAME students. The chapter draws on the university’s empirical data
collected through its ‘Freedom to Achieve’ project, charged with
reducing the attainment gap for BAME students, which also examines
how the relationship between the student and institution can be linked
to attainment and therefore in turn degree value. The chapter begins
by examining the growth and perceived societal value of the creative
economy, and the role of creative education within that by drawing on
the area of design teaching at De Montfort University.
the creatIve economy
As noted in Chap. 1, in monetary terms, the UK’s creative industries are
worth circa £95bn annually, with design noted as being pivotal to £85.2bn
of wealth, as measured by gross value added1 (Benton et al. 2018). Indeed,
Landry (2011) notes how economies over the last 20–30 years have
evolved around quality, design, innovation and creativity. It might be
argued then that with the (monetary) value of the design economy so
high, the value placed on creative and, for example, design training and
design degrees is accordingly high. The introduction of the TEF in the
UK has certainly underscored the importance of demonstrating value in
creative education and as Hadida (2015) notes, there has been signicant
effort expended in recent years on dening and measuring value and per-
formance in the creative industries, which includes a range of commercial,
social and corporate values. And yet societal values remain mixed.
The Creative Industries Federation report on Creative Diversity (CIF
2017) suggests that diversity in creative business, including design, cor-
relates with economic success more than any other business area.
Furthermore, it suggests diversity and success are linked inextricably
through the positive impact diversity can have on organisational perfor-
mance. As Lyaton argues ‘strongly diverse organisations attract talent,
strengthen customer orientation, increase employee satisfaction and
enhances decision making’ (ibid.), which resonates with wider thinking
that diversity can be propulsive in: ‘crafting and capturing value’ and
developing ‘new business models’ (see Svejenova etal. 2015), ‘developing
new roles and routines’ leading to service innovation (Barthes 1990;
DeFillippi 2015; DeFillippi etal. 2007), creating ‘new cultural landscapes’
through new symbolic codes (Jones et al. 2005), and having spill over
effects elsewhere in the economy (Potts and Cunningham 2010). As such,
embracing diversity has been seen as a positive development that adds to
organisational and monetary value. Howkins (2001) pushes the claim fur-
ther in asserting that ‘creative traits’ unlock wealth, which he frames as
‘the economics of the imagination’ and the emergence of what had earlier
been termed the ‘culturization’ of the whole economy (Lash and Urry
1994). Notwithstanding these arguments, there is also considerable evi-
dence to question whether creative thinking and skills do indeed result in
1 GVA is the value of all goods and services produced in an economy less intermediate
higher wages (Gabe 2011), and whether this can produce adverse ‘dynam-
ics of stardom’ for some individuals in a company (Currid-Halkett 2015),
profound labour market inequalities between demographic groups
(Menger 2015) and diseconomies in companies through sunk costs
(Bakker 2015), which create long-term impacts beyond the cre-
ative rhetoric.
Lee (2014) makes the point that one of the key drivers of the growth
of the UK creative industries is an educated population who place value
on cultural goods. Through this, he argues, the creative sector can foster
growth in ancillary sectors; effectively equating production with con-
sumption and creating a Keynesian demand management approach to the
burgeoning creative economy. Following this logic, there is an obvious
interplay between educational levels of creative sector employees, diver-
sity within the industry (including widening participation), and the
growth trajectory of the economy. However, despite diversity often being
cited as a key attributor to economic competitiveness within the creative
industries, this is yet to reect the socio-economic composition of the
creative workforce (Granger 2017), university attainment or career devel-
opment (Hunt etal. 2015; Cousin and Cureton 2012). Thinking speci-
cally about design, it is interesting to note that whilst the design economy
employs an above-average number of BAME individuals (13% compared
to 11% for the UK—Benton et al. 2018), the statistics amount to a sad
indictment of the creative and cultural economy of the UK.Commenting
on differential degree attainment in the UK between BAME and white
students, the vice chancellor of Kingston framed “the great hidden shame
of the higher education system” (Ross etal. 2018, p. 104), whilst Arts
Council England concede that a below national average representation of
BAME employees in the arts was pivotal in the decision to link diversity
of arts organisations to continued funding through the ACE portfolio
(Balzagette 2014).
the role ofcreatIve educatIon
To maintain its leading reputation, the creative industry must look to sup-
port the supply of creative individuals through the provision of effective
and valuable design education. Benton et al. (2018) state that design
employees often have a degree as their highest qualication, with 57%
holding a degree (in 2016) compared to the UK average of 34%. And
given that the denition of the creative industries is based on “individual
creativity, skill and talent” who have the potential to “create wealth and
jobs through developing intellectual property” (DCMS 2010, p.1), the
process and place of nurturing talent, in this case the higher educational
institutions (HEIs) should take ownership for developing industry ready
individuals. Comparably this supports the expectation that design and cre-
ative sector employees need to have a formal education at degree level or
higher, demonstrating a formal degree stills hold value within the creative
sector. There are unique skills developed during the higher educational
experience alongside the awarded qualication, which often are intangi-
ble. The softer skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, social skills
and interactions are some of the sought-after and derisible skills for the
future of work (see Nesta 2017; Benton et al. 2018; Dean 2015). The
report published by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
(DCMS 2016) also shows the combined DCMS sectors employ an equal
amount of degree and non-degree holders; however, the employment of
degree holders is above that of the UK average. Therefore, there is an
implied value of holding a formal degree education within the creative
sector. To which, one notes the (creative) Industry’s demand for ‘innova-
tive thinkers’ who are able to problem-solve, which is a core skill in cre-
ative (higher) education. This further implies HEIs are fundamental to
help shape the success of the BAME students within the creative industry.
Black, Asian andMinority Ethnic Students andDifferential
Degree Outcomes
With the value of degrees heavily aligned to outcomes, students who attain
good honours (either a rst or 2:1 classication) are signicantly more
likely to nd graduate employment (Broecke and Nicholls 2007; Miller
2016). However, this is not always the case for BAME students where it is
still widely known that domiciled BAME students are less likely to achieve
a degree, gain a rst or upper second or move on to graduate employment
or study, or obtain employment in comparison to their white counterparts
(see HEFCE 2015). Statistics from the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU)
(ECU 2017) show that in 2015/2016, the gap was largest in England,
where four-fths (78.8%) of white qualiers received a rst/2:1 compared
with three fths (63.2%) of BAME qualiers. In other words, this is a
15.6 percentage point gap. In contrast, the BAME attainment gaps in
Scotland and Wales were 8.6 and 8.5percentage points, respectively (ECU
2017). The report further highlights a larger attainment gap for BAME
students studying non-science, engineering and technology (SET) sub-
jects, such as creative, art and design degrees. However, to dissect the idea
of degree value the complexity of differential degree outcomes and the
attainment gap must be acknowledged. Figure3.1 shows the differential
outcomes for BAME students and the uctuation of the gap over a ten- year
period. Whilst it shows an overall increase in levels of attainment for both
white and BAME students there is no signicant reduction in the ethnic gap.
Broecke and Nicholls (2007) further explain in their seminal report
that, “being from a minority ethic community (was) still statistically signi-
cant in explaining nal attainment” (p.3). The study surveyed 65,000 stu-
dents and controlled for prior attainment subject of study, age, gender,
disability, deprivation index (as a proxy of socio-economic background),
type of HE institution attended, type of level 3 qualications mode of
study, term time accommodation and ethnicity. A report conducted by the
Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE 2015) sup-
ported these ndings with their own study of more than 280,000 graduat-
ing students across the UK in 2013–2014, noting an attainment gap of
16% (reduced to 15% when controlling for entry qualications, age, dis-
ability, gender, subject studied, previous school type and the institution).
Critically, however, neither study provided explanation why students from
white %63.1 63.8 64.7 65.5 66.4 67.2 67.9 69.5 71.5 73.2 75.6
bme % 45.9 46.0 45.9 46.9 48.1 49.2 49.3 51.1 53.8 57.1 60.4
Gap 17.2 17.8 18.8 18.6 18.3 18.0 18.6 18.4 17.7 16.1 15.2
% of Good Honours
UK Domiciled First Degree Qualifiers
Fig. 3.1 Degree attainments, by ethnicity (2003–2014). (Source: Based on data
from HEFCE 2015)
different backgrounds who are receiving the same education at a higher
education institution fail to achieve similar attainment in terms of degree
honours. Although a complex area with multiple factors impacting on
degree outcomes, the two pieces of work from Broecke and Nicholls in
2007 and HEFCE in 2015 suggested differential outcomes could be
explained partially by the relationship between the student and the institu-
tion. If true, this would suggest a critical need for higher education institu-
tions to take responsibility for fostering an environment, which nurtures
change. As highlighted in both studies, relationships are a method to
change and remove opportunities of disadvantage. It seems apparent then
that institutions need to take active measures to remove barriers (visible,
hidden, perceived), which impact BAME student success and prevent them
from developing to their full potential (Berry and Loke 2011).
The Educational Experience: Understanding theContemporary
Creative Student
To understand the perceptions around degree value it is important to con-
sider current student values and how well current pedagogical practices
align to the burgeoning ‘Generation Z’. This is a generation qualitatively
different from earlier generations; they are those who have been born
within the technology revolution or the fourth industrial revolution
(Seemiller and Grace 2017; Hope 2016). These are students who are born
into the information age with information beyond imagination accessible
at their ngertips and often just a click away (ibid.), and who, as a result,
display creative self-sufciency and a global outlook, and have unique
demands and expectations about the university experience (Bhopal and
Pitkin 2018; Hussain et al. 2008).
Some of these students may never have known any different yet we
often expect them to respond to education and pedagogical practices
designed by the previous generation, with outmoded tools and mentali-
ties. As educators we need to adapt and evolve with the subtle and in some
cases not so subtle generation changes. For example, Generation Z are a
collective community who look to do better and are motivated through
social good. As stated by Seemiller and Grace (2017), the ‘we’ centred
mentality is what underpins their societal expectations, behaviours and
values. This is a generation who has been exposed to the hard reality of
global warming; an unstable economy and the impact of climate change
and yet through the digital medium come together to make a difference.
Movements such as ‘#MeToo’ and ‘#BlackLivesMatter’ are evidence that
this is a generation who are intolerant of injustice; they believe in equality
and fairness for all. Considering these driving factors, it is a must that the
educational system must reect on current teaching behaviours and pre-
pare to teach collective community who strive for results.
To contextualise the differences in learning requirements it is impor-
tant to understand the development of the key terms; digital natives and
digital immigrants. Digital natives sit under the wider umbrella of
Generation Z and Y. Generation Z are those born after the millennium
(Palfrey and Gasser 2008) and Generation Y are essentially young people
and children born between 1980 to 2000. These are now the students
within the higher Educational systems. Digital immigrants are often those
born prior to 1980 and can be referred to as Generation X and have
accepted digital technology. They are able to use it even though they may
not be as condent as the natives (Prensky 2001). The term digital natives
was coined by Marc Prensky, a US technologist leading research into the
impact of digital culture within education and who has been writing about
the digital natives since 2001. He believes digital natives have “an innate
condence in using new technologies” (Selwyn 2009, p.365). This is a
generation who are plugged into digital devices, condent users of the
Internet and have immersed themselves into a digital social world: which
they are dependent on so understand it to be the norm. Generation Z are
dened by the technology surrounding them and as digital natives are
accustomed to ‘digitally juggling’ their daily lives. They are immersed in
the digital social world which is integrated into their lives seamlessly,
engaging across multiple platforms. This generation of digital learners sur-
passes the previous cohort due to their digital experience and technological-
enriched upbringing. Many of the traits of Generation Z are also shown to
be common traits found in creative sectors; for example, Rittner (2017)
argues creative collaborations happen outside of the classroom, therefore
creating spaces where software, design skills and innovative ideas are actu-
alised. This stands in marked contrast to so-called millennials and poses
the question ‘if this generation can learn from one another, acquire new
skills or improve existing ones through a digital environment in real time,
do they need a creative degree?’ Active learning does not necessarily need
to take place in real time or on physical campuses, but rather digtail spaces
create an active global community where problems can be addressed and
solutions found.
So simply Generation Z learn, both individually and collectively. This is
a generation that learns from hands-on application and applies principles
in real-life scenarios. As described by Seemiller and Grace, they “need to
be actively doing the learning to obtain the most information” (2017,
p.22). Their capability to access and consume information through the
touch of a button or a click is exemplied by Richtel, who states “in one
recent year (2008), the average person consumed three times as much
information each day as he/she did in 1960” (see Helding 2011), and this
has changed the way they think. However, for BAME students the creative
and digital heuristic is even more complex. It could be argued that the
learning community needed to support learners in learning something for
themselves is hindered for BAME students through impeded reections of
themselves, a sense of belonging and fair representation within the creative
environment (Hunt et al. 2015; Bhopal and Pitkin 2018; Grace and
Gravestock 2009).
The Learning GAP: How WeAre Taught
andWho WeAre Taught By
To discuss the opportunities to reduce the challenges faced by BAME
students in the creative sector, typical art and design pedagogy must be
understood. Traditional teaching of art and design has its origins in the
fteenth and sixteenth centuries (Souleles 2013) when artisan crafts such
as blacksmith and carpentry were taught by a master to an apprentice. This
teaching practice remains at the heart of design teaching today. In con-
temporary forms it is seen through individual tutorials with ‘expert’ tutors
or lecturers who advise and teach students fundamental design skills to
become experts within their desired elds. Design skills are often taught
through repetitive practice following the guidance of expert tutors and
individual tutorials are designed to “demonstrate skills to improve aspects
of the learners’ work” (Souleles 2013, p.250). This method of learning is
often compared to the ‘sitting-by-Nellie’ method and has been criticised
by academics such as Swann (in Souleles 2013, p.250), who believes it
does not challenge the intellectual development of the learner. To qualify,
the design process typically takes place in a controlled studio-type environ-
ment, where projects are developed through a series of inquiry-based
activities to encourage creativity. This reinforces the ‘sitting-by-Nellie’
approach, where mimicking of the expert opinion and expectation is
encouraged rather than nurturing of independent authority. Souleles
(2013) continues to highlight Swann’s judgement that the “quality of
critical inquiry is more valuable than the quantity of the repetitive
performance orientated projects” (2013, p.250). It is this method of
critical inquiry which is now highly attractive to employers who are look-
ing for graduates who are prepared “to be agile and adaptable, with the
right mind-set of lifelong learning” (Fearn 2008, p.17).
The master and apprentice approach still has signicance for Generation
Z learners who as previously noted by Seemiller and Grace prefer to be
taught through observation and application. However, it also draws atten-
tion to who the ‘master’ or teacher is and emphasises the issue of fair
representation of the staff within HEIs. According to the ECU in
2015–2016 only 8.9% of UK staff and 28.3% of non-UK staff were from
a BAME background (ECU 2017). In contrast the report published by
the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS 2016)
showed in 2016, BAME employees made up 11% of the 32,422 people
working in the creative industries, which is an increase of 5.8percentage
points from the position in 2015. Cautiously, one might surmise that the
creative sector has made progress in terms of BAME representation. The
lack of representation within Higher Education is further perpetuated by
the fact that only 0.6% of UK professors are black (ECU 2017) and
although as the literature suggests the ‘diversity decit’ does not have
direct causal link to student outcomes (HEFCE 2015) the lack of promi-
nent role models or in some cases the invisible BAME role models further
highlights the challenges faced within the academic sector. In an environ-
ment of white leadership, higher educational environments can look to
building a representative curriculum as an intrinsic way of adding/creat-
ing value for students of both white and minority backgrounds. In fact, it
is imperative to create an inclusive teaching environment, which fosters
key skills of collaboration, understanding difference and designing beyond
one’s self. This is supported by Singh’s (2009) research, which explains
that learning through methods that are comfortable and reective of self
contribute to student attainment and a sense of belonging. He found that
academics have a considerable amount of inuence in creating a truly
reective and diverse curriculum. This then further accentuates that if
design environment is culturally inclusive through staff representation and
reective contents it enables students from BAME backgrounds to feel
represented, to see visible role models and aspire to be part of the creative
industries. As Fearn (2008) explains students expect to learn through
methods they are comfortable with, such as those familiar to self. This
presents a huge barrier for academic staff, who are not necessarily reective
of the student body or trained to a level where BAME individuals are fully
hard andSoft creatIve SkIllS
Whilst it has previously been stated that individual creativity is the human
contribution to the creative industries, the skills required to facilitate cre-
ative thought and innovative concepts, the skills taught must be appreci-
ated. The key skills of idea generation are often linked to creative thinking
and/or innovative concepts which are difcult to quantify as often the
product or outcome is the measure of success. As outlined in Benton et al.
(2018), design graduates are equipped with highly desirable skills needed
in the creative sector such as critical thinking and the independent critical
voice, which are a fundamental aspect of higher education teaching (Dean
2015). Furthermore, McWilliam and Haukka (2008) state developing the
creative workforce is not based solely on inherent creativity, but also on
the capabilities of the learning environment and skills such as intuition,
insight and problem-solving which can be taught; however, Guile (2006)
is adamant that these are not occurring with higher education. Simply
teaching students how to mimic their tutors has not evolved to reect the
new way learners think or the changes of the digital age, which is creating
graduates who are often unable to act as independent creative thinkers.
This is supported by industry professionals who also believe “higher edu-
cation for not preparing students adequately for the current labour mar-
ket, and thus continuously highlighting students’ lack of transferable
skills” and increasing the disparity between industry and HE (Succi and
Canovi 2019, p. 1).
These skills are not taught through isolation but rather through collabo-
ration and this itself is a method of ‘soft’ added value. As Burt (in McWilliam
and Haukka 2008, p. 653) explains, “people are connected to groups
beyond their own can expect to nd themselves delivering valuable ideas
seeming to be gifted with creativity”. He likens creativity to an import-
export business where concepts which may seem mundane to one group
are perceived as highly valuable to another. Simply put, this highlights that
working with people different to yourself can help to produce more cre-
ative skill sets and ultimately, outcomes. In other words, diversity equates
to a highly creative environment where diverse ideas are invaluable and
have the opportunity to be interpreted differently and reapplied to produce
value. However, understanding the tangible and intangible value of an idea
is difcult, and as Burt (ibid.) explains, the value of ideas is not always
immediately seen and the value may only be identied once the idea has
been transported to another location. This concept of ‘delayed value’ can
be applied to a creative degree, as often the value of ideas or creative think-
ing grows with experience and application. Therefore, the tangible measure
is delayed to later stages of career progression. Now if considered for
BAME individuals where they are less likely to progress into senior posi-
tions, the value of the education or degree is not delayed but rather devalued.
Student IdentIty andvoIce (value ofIdentIty
andknowledge dIverSIty)
To unravel the complexity of the BAME student experience, it seems rea-
sonable to highlight the need for student learning styles and subsequent
expectations to be openly discussed. De Montfort University through the
Freedom to Achieve project are co-creating with students to understand the
wider contributing factors that the student body feel could be areas of
improvement to help students’ attainment grow and subsequently increase
the perceived value. At a co-creation event held in February 2018 and
attended by 117 individuals (students and staff) across all 4 faculties of the
university,2 60 students were able come together to develop ideas and
actions to BAME learning and attainment. Two areas were noted as being
critical to De Montfort University: the importance of relationships, and a
need for increased visibility and access to BAME role models, both of which
supported Singh’s (2009) ndings that although the ‘diversity decit’ can-
not be quantied as a direct causal factor to differential outcomes it is nev-
ertheless a contributing factor to a different student experience. As one
delegate noted “role models offer relatable inspiration” whilst another
noted “having role models can provide critical motivation to strive, to
achieve, and to believe”. Several delegates also noted ‘the power of negative
portrayals of BAME, which could lead to feelings (perceptions) of exclusion’.
Five key areas of work were highlighted through the event and through
research with staff and students:
Relationships with staff and peers
Teaching and learning
Development opportunities
2 Faculties of Business and Law, Health and Life Sciences, Arts, Design and Humanities
and Faculty of Technology.
These ve themes might also be viewed as softer aspects of the educa-
tional experience and potentially where the intangible value is created. As
shown in Fig.3.2, elements which BAME students highlighted as action
points are arguably different to degree measures. The importance of these
themes highlights measured metric of the educational experience, such as
the TEF or league tables are not the key motivators or the most inuential
for a BAME individual’s higher educational experience. In this case 45% of
all references throughout the event related to BAME students’ relation-
ships on campus. In particular students called for greater representation in
the role models available. But as can be seen from the ndings and
literature, making positive changes in these areas to create a more inclusive
university experience could become a method to change the perceived
value of degrees.
Fig. 3.2 Values attributed to degrees, student perspective vs. higher educational
concluSIon: value forall
In bringing together these disparate parts, one might conclude that the
value of a creative degree is difcult to measure as the value of the degree
is multiplex, shaped by a variety of factors and social spaces, is longitudi-
nal, and cannot be measured in the same way across different disciplines.
Nevertheless, there is some evidence to support the notion that the uni-
versity experience and the relationships formed during the journey are
signicant factors contributing to the worth or value of a degree, whilst
also noting that the notion of value can be interpreted differently for
minority groups. As noted earlier, and drawing from Rokeach (1973),
terminal values are inherently individual and therefore subjective (e.g. one
person’s sense of accomplishment may differ to another’s) and whilst the
chapter has not attempted to map these, there is a sense that perceptions
and value bases for BAME groups may differ from other demographic
groups by virtue of the learning and employment experience—in both
creative industries and other parts of the economy. Whilst it has been
noted that the situation within the creative industries has improved for
BAME groups in recent years and is now on the political agenda, the posi-
tion starts from a low performance base. From this point of view, BAME
students experience both a risk of an attainment gap in learning and a
diversity gap in career development, creating complex perceptions of value
of learning and degrees and a double negative connotation.
As Fig.3.3 denotes, it is the role of the educational institutions to rec-
ognise differences in value, the factors that contribute to personal value
and dispel myths around the value of creative degrees. They must along-
side the creative industries actively take ownership of the political debate
and promote their successes to the BAME community. This can be
achieved through a series of small steps. For some institutions it must
begin by taking action to increase the equality of opportunity, understand-
ing the differences of a diverse student body, and creating a curriculum
which is representative of and builds positive relationships with BAME
individuals. This will help to promote positive role models from diverse
backgrounds, which are seen in the academic and professional environ-
ments. The creative potential of a student is the real value of a degree and
the value of creative thinking cannot be measured by metrics and salary
potential alone. As stated earlier (Benton et al. 2018) the value of creative
thinkers across industries outside of the creative sector is increasing. Rather
than marketing the cost of a higher education we should be promoting the
value of lifelong learning and the key skills developed. These are the skills
which are developed during education and demanded from the creative
industry and beyond. In turn this creates a closed value loop, which cele-
brates diversity and sits as the base of an interchangeable world which has
exibility to respond to the needs of a changing student body and require-
ments of a progressive digital world.
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67© The Author(s) 2020
R. Granger (ed.), Value Construction in the Creative Economy,
Palgrave Studies in Business, Arts and Humanities,
Problematising Philanthropy intheUK
Cultural Sector
JennieJordan andRuthJindal
Value in the arts world is a complex area. This chapter raises the question
of value in the context of culture, cultural policy and cultural democracy.
It is a pertinent question in the UK as, since the nancial crisis of
2007–2008, governmental funding policies have acted to narrow and
reduce direct state subsidy for the arts, introducing policies to promote
private philanthropy as an alternative. This paradigm shift reimagined cul-
tural services, previously conceived as merit goods similar to educational
provision, as private and market services (Wu 2003). Denitions of merit
depend on non-nancial value judgements, or ‘taste’ in the case of culture.
Bourdieu (1984 [1979]) argued taste was socially constructed and used to
reinforce social hierarchies. Who decides whether opera is worth more
than grafti art? Throsby (2001) distinguished between economic deni-
tions of value, which he considered individualised, and cultural concep-
tions of value, which he argued were inherently social. This dichotomy
points to a tension at the heart of a public cultural policy that aims to
J. Jordan (*) • R. Jindal
De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
create a greater reliance on funding from private individuals. Does shifting
resource dependency from the state to individuals or corporations reduce
culture’s social role? If it does, what are the values prioritised in public
funding of culture that are being replaced, in this case in the UK, and what
are the values prioritised by philanthropic donors? Assuming these are dif-
ferent, what are the consequences for cultural producers, and the culture
they produce?
Hadley and Belore (2018) identify debates around cultural value: who
has access, participates and is represented by public arts provision, as the
dening cultural policy crisis of the times? This crisis has resulted in ten-
sions between the paternalistic cultural subsidy model institutionalised
within the Arts Council and geographically biased towards London, uc-
tuating political ideologies and a generational turn demonstrating a
renewed interest in equity and democratic participation. These are suc-
cinctly summed up in the Movement for Cultural Democracy’s manifesto:
Culture, as it has been, can be the preserve of the privileged few or instead, it
can be the building block that strengthens our democracy, celebrated as a basic
human right, helping to create a world where all people are free to enjoy the
benets of self-expression, access to resources and community. (Movement for
Cultural Democracy 2018)
The argument here is for culture as a democratic right rather than a
privilege for those who can afford it. For not-for-prot arts organisations
this febrile political context, played out against a backdrop of declining
public funding and concurrent reduction in the number of public funding
bodies, has raised signicant managerial and ethical questions about how
best to full their charitable missions. Although their business models had
for many years been a hybrid mixture of public funding, sales, and spon-
sorship, austerity combined with the new philanthropy policy moved the
balance further away from public sources, raising the question: does a
greater dependence on commercial or philanthropic resources necessarily
imply a concomitant change in underpinning values?
While there is a growing cultural policy literature relating to cultural
value in cultural policy (e.g. Arts and Humanities Research Council 2014;
e.g. Wood 2017), there is little research into the lived experiences of arts
managers attempting to navigate the shifting sands caused by the drive
towards an American style of cultural funding based on individual giving
rather than public subsidy. This chapter seeks to ll that gap. It is based on
research undertaken by the authors as participant observers of Leadership
for the Future (LftF), a two-year capacity-building programme across the
East Midlands of England aimed at promoting philanthropic fundraising
in the charitable arts sector (2014–