The GPN framework is a very useful heuristic tool to investigate contemporary dispersed production systems. In the CICERONE project, we will use this approach and go beyond the mere creative part or conception/design phases of the CCIs and the clustering of these activities in larger (metropolitan) urban areas. We will use the GPN approach to disentangle complex production systems in the CCIs and investigate how the different components are embedded in broader society. We will also examine where value is created under which conditions, and how power relationships within the networks impact on the capturing of value. In addition we will assess the contribution of the different components of GPNs in CCIs to local development and cultural identities. Following this approach, then, we can add a new chapter to the already extensive field of research and studies in CCIs.
As mentioned above, much research aimed at unpacking the geography of CCIs tended to focus on the clustering of the creative part of them. In the wake of the publication of the pioneering study Economy of Signs and Space by Scott Lash and John Urry (1994), a large body of knowledge has been built on the importance of the relationship between the cultural, the economy and the space in an increasingly globalised world. Parallel to the expansion of markets on a global scale, the immaterial, symbolic and cultural value of goods remains strongly embedded to specific places. In this view, cities are at the centre of the geography of cultural production: those productive systems that manage to draw the maximum profit from the symbolic relationship with the territory not only assume an important position in the capitalist economy, but also develop global sectoral specialisations (Scott, 2000). Many studies on the cultural and creative industries have concentrated on analyses of the local, very often urban-centred, dynamics of production, exploring in details all the different kinds of local embeddedness, local clustering and local relations. The production of signs tends to be dominated by a few large firms (e.g. Disney and LMVH) concentrated in large urban regions – initially mostly in the West, but increasingly now also in cities as Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Taipei. With the aesthetisation of consumer products and the concomitant rise of a “capitalisme artiste”, CCIs with their emphasis on creativity, local culture, intellectual faculties of labour have now also moved to the core of urban development strategies and they now represent an important factor for city competitiveness.
With the increasing (often cross-border) fragmentation of the productive cycles, complex geographies of production have emerged not just in manufacturing but also in CCIs. Up till now, the GPN approach has been largely and successfully applied to manufacturing sectors which have been affected relatively early by the global dynamics of delocalization, externalization and, in general, fragmentation of production processes. Extant research has already shown that many CCIs also rely on very long chains of activities with a very intricate geographies reflecting the contemporary economy of sign and space. The music, fashion, publishing industry, just to mention a few, produce goods too that are the result of a production network, which very often is organized following a complex geography. For instance, “The music industry is increasingly globalized and concentrated, currently dominated by five multinational companies based in a few of the world’s capital cities – Tokyo, LA, New York and London. These multinationals deal with multiple media, hardware and software, and they have integrated music production, marketing and distribution with that of other increasingly globalized) cultural or media industries” (Brown, O’Connor and Cohen, 2000).
Because of the these transformations, there is a clear need for sharper tools for both theoretical and empirical analysis in order to grasp the complexity of current dynamics. Accordingly the conception that focuses on the core segments of CCIs and neglects the rest of the activities is misleading. Many studies of CCIs put much emphasis on the very beginning – or the “core” – of the production chain (mostly in the conception/design phase) as most of the value added creation is concentrated there. The rest of the chain is implicitly considered less important and therefore deserving less attention. We believe that this conception is basically misleading and had very deep consequences on the local development of European Regions. Particularly important is therefore to understand how the creative core of the production network is connected to the other segments and how they are embedded in the local societies. Analysis of CCIs should not focus exclusively on the creative phase in order to grasp information on the real extent of the economy of sign and space: one must look at the whole chain of activities where conception, production and marketing of cultural and creative goods are connected.
Applying notions derived from the GPN perspective to the CCIs allows to open up new insights and understanding of these industries and their role in society. In particular, this approach allows a wider and in-depth knowledge on the economic and social implications of CCIs in different geographical contexts; moreover, this perspective sheds light on mechanisms of value creation, enhancement and capture(appropriation) in CCIs, including technological innovation (digitisation/3D), workers’ (self-) exploitation, the role of labels and brands (the significance of, for instance, the “made in Italy” label, Santagata, 2002), and reputational capital (Gandini, 2016). The notion of GPN can contribute to the analysis of the spatialisation of CCIs and specifically to the relationships between clusters/ agglomerations and trans-local links, by exploring extensively around the different notions of embeddedness. The notion of creative and cultural industries is particularly suitable to catch the dynamics of inter-firm relations and to explore the governance model through the analysis of the input-output structure. Analysing the GPN of CCIs, then, is particularly crucial when local development is to be taken into account: we know a lot about the importance of CCI for the economic growth of cities and urban regions, but there is still a lack of knowledge on the implications of the different phases and of underlying activities on the economy of other local contexts. In terms of local development, using the notion of a more comprehensive production network is useful to understand not only where the largest share of added value concentrates, but also where (and in what ways) value is extracted from.
The literature has largely explored the importance of the urban environment for the development of activities linked to knowledge, creativity, culture (Scott, 2008) and, on the other way round, the capacity of such activities to produce added value. Urban economic development has translated mainly into programs of urban regeneration in order to provide the best environment for all the activities concerned with content creation and added value. Yet, the implementation of the creative city tends to focus on the built environment (such as opera theatres, museums etc.) while neglecting other types of interventions that are less visible but probably more effective, such as investments in higher and focused education, or programs targeting specific industries which represent the whole production network.
Regarding value creation and appropriation, the literature on creative labour has made clear that these industries rely on value extraction of creative workers, who are often (self)exploited. This has important consequences in terms of local development (on the medium period) of the urban regions (Pratt, 2011). Exploring the agency of workers and labour conditions within the CCIs, which are very much connected to local development strategies both at the local level and at the regional one, scholars acknowledge that “[t]he creative sector finds itself full of young people who are burnt out, exhausted, unable to consider having children, and often self-exploiting on the basis of the ‘pleasure in work’ factor” (McRobbie, 2011; Watson 2013). A growing body of literature interrogates the notion of power studying the creative labour and their agency, in particular, in terms of value production and appropriation. Still, this literature concentrates only on the content-production segment of the chain for cultural products, being it a piece of music, a webpage or a film, each of them characterised by different configuration of power. “Mobilizing the notion of power and value is useful to demonstrate how the inherent symbolic value of creative industry commodities morphs into, and combines with, other forms of economic rent […] allowing powerful actors within the wider GPN to capture disproportionate shares of the profits created” (Coe, 2015). What is less debated and explored are the mechanisms of value creation and appropriation of the whole GPN of the CCIs, the geography of value concentration and the implications of such dynamics in terms of local development. The application of the GPN perspective is highly relevant as it allows to highlight multiple forms of value extraction, i.e. from the core to peripheral segments, but also within each phase.
Another potential contribution of the application of the GPN perspective lies in the analysis of the spatialisation of CCIs and on the relationship between patterns of spatial concentration (districts, clusters, agglomerations) and trans-local links. CCIs are often seen as a combination of local and non-local connections, and the debate, as discussed above, has largely argued about the importance of agglomeration economy for such industries. Applying the GPN perspective allows to focus into the connections between different kinds of clusters of CCIs activity, and how they are organised at different spatial scales.
Related to this, is the notion of embeddedness. All economic activities take place within specific socio-cultural, and institutional regulatory contexts (cf. Polanyi, 1957; Granovetter, 1985; Whitley, 1999; Kloosterman, 2010). All parts of a GPN, are, hence, embedded in concrete social contexts which may select, foster, constrain or shape these economic activities in various ways. The application of a GPN perspective thus allows us to explore the relationships between selected economic activities and their wider societal environments. These relationships have to be linked to different spatial scales as different forms of embeddedness are linked to socio-cultural and institutional regulatory contexts expressed at different levels – from the local to the regional and the national level (Coe, 2015). Embeddedness is an inherently multi-scalar phenomenon.
Following Coe (2015), we distinguish three levels of such embeddedness:
Value chains and, therefore, Global Production Networks too can be unpacked into several distinct components. We follow the typology of the stages used in Mapping the Creative Value Chains; A Study on the Economy of Culture in the Digital Age (European Commission, 2017) and by the UNESCO (2009). These stages represent more of a cycle without having a clear hierarchical order:
These phases can be understood as the crucial steps of input-output systems in production networks of CCIs. They are, then, the building which lie at the heart of the CICERONE project.
More specifically, the CICERONE project will look at:
The GPN perspective highlights the chain of flows and its dynamics as the primary object of analysis and not the firm per se (although as a legal entity the firm is always an object of policy/regulation). Our research, then, is focused on unpacking the chain of flows comprising creation, production, dissemination, exhibition/reception, and consumption. We will investigate for each of the selected CCIs (1. Architecture; 2. Archives, libraries, heritage; 3. Artistic crafts; 4. Audio-visual; 5. Design; 6. Festivals; 7. Music; 8. Publishing) the following research questions:
→ How are the selected CCIs organised?
→ Who the important actors are in which phase of the production network?
→ Where they are located?
→ What is their role or contribution?
→ Which are the main drivers of changes in labour division among firms (i.e. digitisation, regulations, taxes/subsidies, copy rights policy, conservation etc.)?
→ Which kind of skills are crucial in which phase (ways of competing) and how are they reproduced?
→ What is/how is it transferred in networks (material, immaterial goods; skills, ideas, know how, financial capital)?
→ What are the labour conditions in the various phases?
→ How are these activities embedded (societal/network/territorial)?
→ What are the governance models/coordination mechanisms of the chain (including role of financialisation and related actors)?
→ Where and how is value created and captured?
→ To what extent do phases of CCIs contribute to local development and local identity?
→ Which policy strategies/recommendations can be seen as potentially effective given the structure of the production network?
To address these questions, we will construct stylised models of production networks in the selected CCIs based on empirical research along similar lines as presented in Mapping the Creative Value Chains; A Study on the Economy of Culture in the Digital Age (European Commission, 2017). We aim at capturing variation not just between sectors and between countries, but also within sectors by offering multiple case studies for each selected sector. This way, the dimensions of difference in production networks of CCIs and their drivers can be identified in a more systematic manner and thus offering a better foundation for policymaking.
The CICERONE project is divided into six substantive and distinctive, but interrelated parts or ‘work packages’ (WP). These WPs each cover specific components of the project. Most of these run in parallel and are feeding into one another. All of these will produce a set of reports, each of which tackling a distinctive research (sub)question. Below, we provide an overview of the work packages of the project, highlighting briefly what each is about and how they relate to the overall ambitions of the project.
In this work package, the consortium will review the literature on global production network theory and delineate its relevance to creative and cultural industries. This review has resulted in a report entitled “Creative and Cultural Industries and Global Production Network approaches so far: a brief review of the literature and its relevance for creative and cultural industries“. Click here to read this report.
This review, then, will subsequently be integrated with a scan of the existing extant quantitative data (including employment, sectoral, and financial data) on CCIs in the European Union. Such scan is to identify where the existing data lacks consideration for network embeddedness and to identify strategies to overcome anticipated data collection gaps by doing empirical research.
A third objective of WP 1 is identifying key features for each of the eight CCI sectors that the CICERONE project focusses on. What is their quantitative consistence, their role in the European economy, the territorial distribution of its companies and their typical business models? Along with the quantitative data scan, this exploration feeded into a report that presents the format of the case studies and sets out how to embark on this empirical research. Click here to read the report “Format case study selection“.
Fourthly and lastly, WP 1 also builds the conceptual foundation upon which the specific production networks for the case studies should be selected. Click here to read more about this in a report entitled “The CICERONE project methodology“, which also presents a potential operationalization of the methods for each of the eight selected CCIs.
The objective of this WP is to conduct detailed empirical research on CCI sectors to model the GPN approach at national and European levels. The CCI sectors are organized as follows:
2) Archives (including libraries and cultural heritage);
3) Artistic Crafts;
4) Audiovisual (film, TV, videogames, multimedia) and Radio;
6) Festivals, Performing and Visual Arts;
New (qualitative) data will focus specifically on networks of production and their nodes in order to compliment extant (quantitative) data and map the embeddedness of global production networks. Each sector will be explored separately. Comparisons will be then carried out to highlight shared traits and differences. The number of case studies per sector will range between 2 and 4, depending on the different sectorial nuances and the findings of WP1 regarding the relationship between the guiding questions and CCI business models. Each sector will be covered by a team of two consortium partners.
Each sector study will result in a report that 1) provides a description of the kind goods and/or services that are being produced in a CCI sector, thereby thus positioning each of the selected CCIs in terms of their product characteristics; 2) provides a quantitative scan in which the key data are presented (e.g. employment, share in BBP, firm structure, added value) at a minimum of three levels (EU-level, national level, regional level (NUTS-3)) and possibly a fourth (a selection of cities)) as well as a time series on these various levels in order to show how CCI sectors have been developing; 3) grasps the embeddedness of the sector under study, most notable within national regulatory frameworks, but also within a web of power relationships; 4) “unpacks” the sector under study according to the different phases of their respective production networks; and, lastly, 5) presents a set of conclusions that focus on the interrelations between CCI, embeddedness, labour relations, innovativeness, power configuration and loci of value creation and value capture.
WP3 addresses the central challenge of providing a baseline for policy analysis in the field of Global Production Networks in the CCI. The task is substantial for two reasons: first, that the CCI are a ‘new industry’ and, second, that the CCI are comprised of elements of both the commercial, and state subsidised sectors, as well as the industrial and the cultural fields. These elements have traditionally been dealt with by different policy agencies, and at various scales. Looked at from the perspective of the CCI, and of GPN, the policy environment is fragmented and contradictory. This is the paradoxical legacy of the innovative transformation of the CCI in the last 25 years.
To date, there is no single ‘map’ of the policy and regulatory environment that relates to the CCI of the recent past; let alone one able to engage with the future. Policy is either industrial policy at the national/supra national level, or cultural policy at the local and regional level. The CCI are a hybrid, but one mutating quickly under the influence of new technologies.
Our approach is to use a multi-pronged strategy to render a comprehensive picture of the coverage, and gaps, of the policy environment. The notion of a policy environment does not simply consider industrial policies, and cultural policies, let along CCI policies but also regulatory and trade policies. Whilst the output and scope of the CCI has changed, so has the organisational form of the CCI. Whilst there are differences between industries, broadly the picture is of a small number of multinationals, and many thousands of micro-enterprises, sole traders, and freelancers. This contrasts with most other industries where ‘middle-sized’ firms play a key role. Our aim is to illustrate where policy and regulation is a poor fit, or a good fit for the CCI.
WP3 is to result in a systematic and synoptic collection of data, often grouping them in different ways (based not simply on location, but on strategic position with in a production network). It will also provides important context for WP2 CCI sector case studies and an evidence base for the WP6 proposals for filling policy gaps.
A major weakness in building a policy and analytical network for the CCI is a lack of data, in quantity, quality and detail; and a poor, or outdated, conception of how the industries operate. The GPN perspective is a direct challenge to extant policy and data. If taking such a perspective is to be viable, as well as developing a substantial focus on the CCI, data needs to improve. The CCI GPN observatory will build a proof of concept for the field. Through its action it will be able to provide leadership and a focus for debates, and a repository for both the findings of this project, but also as a potential nexus of information going forward. We plan this to be the major legacy of this project.
The observatory will consist of a portal which provides easy access to data, relevant literature, sites and key organisations related to CCIs in EU member states. Moreover, it will also will offer visualisations of key relationships and flows regarding CCIs and facilitate interactive use to enable users to build their own specific package. The observatory will provide a tool for researchers (a portal to access data and methods) of the wider field of the CCI, but particularly on CCI production networks. Along with the observatory, a database of users, practitioners and experts in this field will be developed. The purpose of this database is the creation of an interactive forum for the circulation of current best practice and sectorial needs, and prospective demands. The precise form of this forum is open and will be defined in discussion with users. The minimal status will be an online network. The ambition is also to explore the possibilities for a legacy Observatory with continuity functionality beyond the project’s lifespan.
The overall objective of this WP is to strengthen CCIs collective/political representation in Europe through the creation of a network of stakeholders from the whole CCI value chain including CCI actors, regulators and audience.
Specific objectives are as follows:
1. Identify the reference group
2. Manage and enlarge the network through tailored engagement activities and online tools
3. Identify policy advocacy opportunities at European and national level
4. Establish synergies with other relevant initiatives at national, European and international level
5. Ensure the long-term sustainability of the network and re-use of project results
The aim of this WP is to deliver a policy framework that is able to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the CCI increasingly organised along the lines of GPN. Such policies have to be based on a clear understanding of the industries that they seek to influence. The existing data, information, and understanding of the CCI makes this a daunting task.
A fundamental problem is the existing policy formulations that obtain in the sector, these are five-fold: first, a concern with (cultural) industrial policy; second, a focus on cultural policy and heritage; third, on attracting foreign direct investment (with a cultural ‘hook’); fourth, local capacity building and development of the local cultural industries; fifth, promotion of culture and identity. Such approaches mix instrumentalism, as well as economic, social and cultural policy.
Our approach is to begin with a refreshed understanding of the CCI, and then to explore policies that might be appropriate to regulate or to promote the actually existing CCI. Accordingly, our analysis examines the extant policies and what they address, and what they miss; as well as attending to the duplication and overlaps, as well as gaps that the current policy tapestry presents. In so doing, the CICERONE consortium plans to establish a new baseline foundation for our understanding of the CCI, and policy responses to them.
To be able to understand the operation and dynamics of the global production networks in CCIs, multiple case studies will be undertaken. Case studies constitute access points to the deeper causal mechanisms that allow us to understand the operation and the dynamics of the global production network.
The case studies of the CICERONE project will cover different CCIs in different countries to provide a broad empirically informed view. The aim of these case studies is not so much one of generalisation, but instead uncovering the key mechanisms and relationships in these networks.
Each creative industrial production network will be explored from the perspective of two to four case studies. Comparisons will be then carried out to highlight shared traits and differences. Each of these case studies will be focusing on industry‐specific ‘production network typologies’ and their respective footprints (where and at which functional and geographical points do these ‘touch down’). This will generate insights in the governance structures (specifically the issue of power in the value production and appropriation), working conditions, the knowledge productions and distribution, and the occurrence of tensions and conflicts.
The case studies will also address the mechanisms and conditions (i.e. institutional frameworks, public policies, common goods) that allow specific CCI sector networks to combine strategically with the local context in order to produce positive economic and social outcomes. The case studies will thus generate both academically and societally relevant insights in how CCIs function and how they contribute to the larger society.
The case study research will take place from spring 2019 to summer 2021 (30 months). It is conducted within the framework of the CCI sector studies, as part of WP2 (see above), and constitutes the empirical “backbone” of the CICERONE project. Through it social media channels on Twitter and LinkedIn, the team frequently shares updates on progress and intermediate findings. All final conclusions are going to be included in the sector study reports (deliverables 2.1 to 2.8) that are scheduled to be published at the end of July 2021.
CICERONE-members Andy Pratt (City University), Thomas Borén (Stockholm University), Clémentine… Read more…
During the Annual International Conference of the Royal Geographical Society… Read more…
The consortium just published a paper entitled "The CICERONE project… Read more…
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