A Culture of Creativity: Design Education and the Creative Industries

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A culture of creativity: design education and the creative industries Billy Matheson
Centre for Creative Industries, Wellington Institute of Technology, Wellington, New Zealand Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe the influence of the creative industries on design education in New Zealand. Design/methodology/approach – A range of contemporary literature is presented to help define the term “creative industries”, and to locate this new “culture of creativity” within a wider global trend of creative cultural theory. Findings – Cultural policy initiatives from Britain, Canada and New Zealand are reviewed and used to demonstrate how creative industries theory has sought to combine social, cultural and economic development. Research limitations/implications – This paper is primarily concerned with recent changes to design education and the ways in which universities and polytechnics are attempting to meet the challenges of this new holistic approach to creativity and innovation. Practical implications – In the final section the concept of interdisciplinary study of design is explored. This new model is developed through the example of a new interdisciplinary programme structure developed by the Wellington Institute of Technology in New Zealand. Originality/value – In conclusion the concept of a “virtuous cycle” is used to describe the relationship between design education and the creative industries. This paper argues that, if this cycle continues, the creative industries will expand to become the model for a new economy based on social, cultural and economic entrepreneurship and change. Keywords Design, Education, Entrepreneurialism, New Zealand Paper type Literature review

A culture of creativity

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The rise of the creative industries As Western nations move away from the production of goods and services and concentrate instead on the production of ideas and knowledge, the creative industries have become the subject of an increasing amount of research and theoretical development (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Landry and Bianchini, 1995; O’Connor and Wynne, 1996; Robinson, 2001). The term “creative industries” was initially broadly used to describe design, advertising, film, fashion, interactive technologies, popular music, and a host of other professions. In recent years cultural theorists have argued that these professions are driving more than simply economic growth, but that they necessarily encompass social and cultural development as well. This view places the creative industries at the centre of civic and commercial life (Gans, 1999; Kunzmann, 1995; Volkerling, 2000). The emergence of a “new paradigm” of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship is the subject of two recent publications: The Cultural Creatives (Anderson and Ray,

Journal of Management Development Vol. 25 No. 1, 2006 pp. 55-64 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0262-1711 DOI 10.1108/02621710610637963

JMD 25,1

2001) and The Rise of the Creative Class (Florida, 2002). Both texts describe how the creative industries are leading to a new economy that includes social, cultural, and environmental priorities: The deep and enduring changes of our age are not technological but social and cultural. These changes have been building for decades and only now are coming to the fore (Florida, 2002, p. 17).

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In New Zealand, as in other countries, books such as these are helping to popularise the term creative industries to describe broadly the ways that many professional people are contributing to the cultural, social, environmental and economic life of our country. People who work in these diverse environments can now identify simply as “creatives” without feeling the need to be defined in disciplinary or more traditional professional terms, and increasingly are being recognised as innovative entrepreneurs in their own...
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