Building blocks for a policy framework for the cultural and creative sector

Man indeed does not live by bread alone. The manifold goods and services provided by the Cultural and Creative Sector (CCS) – from the design of the clothes they wear to the music they listen to and from the museums they visit to the festivals – are essential and often inescapable ingredients in people’s lives. The CCS, in short, plays a significant role in the quality of life of many. From a more mundane economic perspective, the CCS generates jobs and is an important driver of notably urban economic development. Less obvious, the CCS can also be seen as relevant for other parts of the economy in its indirect effects. For example in pioneering innovations in the organisation of production (e.g. project-based forms), providing templates for skills formation (master-apprenticeship), pushing suppliers by demanding very high quality (e.g. sound and vision technology), and in contributing to the greening of production and consumption as many strongly intrinsic motivated workers are not primarily focused on economic value but take cultural value and, increasingly, sustainability very serious.

The CCS, quite rightly then, is high on the agenda of policymakers on the local, national and EU level. The aim of the CICERONE project has been to provide new building blocks for policymaking vis-à-vis the CCS by using a a production network lens, which highlights different phases of production (creation – production – distribution – exchange – archiving), the mode of governance of the network (who is in charge of organising and managing the network?), and the embeddedness of the various phases in broader institutional contexts. Based on this we have formulated a set of interrelated elements for a coherent policy framework.

First, we propose a more comprehensive approach to policymaking by taking not just creation, but also production, distribution, exchange and archiving serious as potential leverage points to address issues of competitiveness and contribution to economic development, labour conditions, socio-cultural impact, as well as the greening of the CCS. Given the supra-local/regional spatial footprint of many production networks, this also often means broadening the geographical scope of policymaking.

Second, policymaking to transform production networks is typically about multi-layered collective action involving different sets of actors from the public and private sector. Mobilising and empowering actors to engage in capacity building, hence, is essential. The field of the CCS, however, is highly fragmented and still mainly organised along lines of industries or siloes making collective action often difficult if not impossible. Given this fragmentation, it does make sense to foster collective forms of organisation among workers. This will not just help them to improve their situation, but also gives policymakers a handle to implement policies of, for instance, upgrading of quality or the setting-up of platforms which integrate different production phases. Such policies should definitely take the strong intrinsic motivation of many workers in the CCS into account. Appealing solely to economic or monetary goals will have limited effect. Instead, policies should explicitly highlight the importance of cultural and societal values.

Third, there is a very wide range of variety in production networks in the CCS. To deal with this variety, a pragmatic reduction of that complexity is necessary for policymaking. We propose a stepwise approach with a typology of four basic types of production networks as a first step to characterise the production networks at hand and provide an explicit template for ordering ideas about at which spatial levels policy making should take place and which actors should be involved.

Fourth, policymakers should embrace a cross-sectoral vision of the CCS and consider the perspectives given by the GPN approach when organising consultation with the CCS to design policies.

Fifth, devising effective policies targeting production networks in the CCS requires a (much) broader set of data (both quantitative and qualitative) than currently available.

Sixth, there is an evident need for a pivotal platform or Observatory that provides relevant data as well as playing an active role in organising the field of the CCS in a non-siloed way by mobilising actors across industries.


This blog is written by Robert C. Kloosterman and originated from the CICERONE deliverable D6.4 Lessons learned from applying a production network-based policy framework to the cultural and creative sector

© Photo: Robert C. Kloosterman

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