How can you gather research data, share it with other researchers, and help promote professionals from the creative and cultural industries?
That is what three professors are inventing, combining their expertise to investigate trends and changes in creative and cultural industries: Christine Evain, professor at Centrale Nantes, Catherine Morel, from Audencia Business School, and Jonathan Gander from Kingston University in London.
So how do they proceed? For the three professors, cultural and creative industries have been a field of research for many years: Christine is particularly dedicated to the book industry, Catherine to funding and marketing of visual arts - she is the head of the Msc in Management & Entrepreneurship in the Creative Economy at Audencia -, and John to music and fashion. He is also the head of the Department of Creative and Cultural Industries at Kingston University.
For this project, they optimize the way they are collecting raw research data by attending fairs and trade shows in their field, for instance Frankfurt Book Fair, London Fashion Week, or Guadalajara International Book Fair, Pure Fashion Fair, Frieze Art Fair, the London Design Week, etc. All industry players attend these trade fairs which are an essential part of the ecosystem for any given business domain (fashion, design, music or publishing). These trade fairs are convenient places to meet and interview numerous and diverse professionals, focusing on the latest initiatives, technological developments and business models. All the interviews are then concentrated over a short time period within a given location. While most recordings are only 15 minutes long, all interviews are completed with discussions that take place before and after the actual recording. This unique interview process at the crossroads between research and journalistic investigation is the first step of a method which aims at scaling up the gathering of qualitative research data. The interviews are immediately uploaded on the Soundcloud platform: the podcasts are then available for the professionals themselves. They are very keen to communicate materials to promote their activity, especially cultural entrepreneurs who are new to the business environment. This valorization may also be useful for other researchers in the same field: open and qualitative research data is then available for all to download and analyze! In order to gain visibility, the three professors turn into journalists to create a radio program called Cash & Culture on Euradionantes. This monthly program is supported by Audencia Foundation through Audencia Research Lab. They discuss the passion which drives these “culturepreneurs” but also the challenges they face in monetizing creativity in a meaningful and sustainable way. As part of their cultural and entrepreneurship education, the future MSc students should enrich this podcast collection by creating their own interviews. Thus the top professional testimonies will also be valorized through a Cash & Culture program.
What about research objectives? For now, the collection of data is still in progress. However, Christine Evain and Catherine Morel have identified four potential research topics:
In order to tackle these questions, the collection in diverse cultural and creative fields has just begun. For the book industry, many podcasts are already online, and Christine, Catherine and Jonathan are in the process of expanding the collection to all cultural fields. As the material becomes more diversified, some benchmarks will be put into place, and theoretical frameworks will be applied and tested from one cultural industry to another. Cross-fertilization is a key concept not only for business practices but for research methods as well.
To be continued…