Externally-funded projects




AHRC Creative Economy Engagement Fellowship: ‘It Takes a Region to Raise an Artist’

This Fellowship (to October 2019) is to support a major new development programme being devised by the Contemporary Visual Arts Network East Midlands (CVAN EM). The project It Takes a Region to Raise an Artist: Researching and Developing the East Midlands Visual Arts Economy will focus on building supportive infrastructures for commercial visual arts activity in the region. Through mapping, in-depth qualitative research and survey work, the project will investigate how to create integrated, region-wide activities that can support emerging and established artists, provide new work and development opportunities, and showcase the region as place where artistic careers can be both viable and successful.


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(Counter)Narratives of neoextractivism in Argentina: mapping creative resistance

Resistance to extractive activities such as fossil fuel extraction and mining in Argentina comes from different regions of the country and takes multiple forms, from frontline communities standing against fracking in the province of Neuquén, to performance-based art activism in Buenos Aires, and to a thriving alternative media scene that denounces corporations, neo-imperialism and the destruction of the environment. Movements against the extractive industries vary from localised to nation-wide, and concentrate on a range of issues such as the environment, indigenous land rights, health and corruption. This project, funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grant studied current forms of opposition to the extractive economic model in Argentina by focusing on the creative processes of protest, art and media production, looking at how various complex and intersecting narratives on extractivism are formed and performed by different sectors of society through these manifestations. This two-year project combined interviews, media analysis and participant observation, as well as collaborations with local organisations and researchers at the Universidad de Buenos Aires.

Doubling Disability

The Doubling Disability project seeks to double the share of disabled workers in off-screen roles in broadcasting within two years. Led by Creative Diversity Network (CDN) on behalf of BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Sky, ITN, Viacom/C 5 and PACT, and supported by the Department for Work and Pensions, Doubling Disability executes a key diversity commitment made by the UK’s leading broadcasters. The project will include new primary research undertaken by CAMEo as well as a series of specifically commissioned trainings and interventions in 2019 and 2020.

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Everyday Diversity in the UK Screen Sector

The UK screen sector is looking to strengthen and diversify its pool of creative talent and skills. Working with the British Film Institute and Creative Diversity Network, this AHRC Leadership Fellow project will conduct new research to help the screen sector achieve its ambitions for greater workforce diversity. The project will first identify the most important situations in which employment and career opportunities are being granted or withheld, and assess how these situations could be changed to have better outcomes for workforce diversity. It will then Everyday Diversity, a set of innovative tools embedded in a bespoke website, to help screen sector practitioners work towards diversity in their everyday business. Through capacity building the project will embed Everyday Diversity with practitioners and policy-makers.

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One by One: building the digital literacies of UK museums

'One by One' is a 30-month national digital literacy building project for UK museums, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The project is led by Dr Ross Parry.
CAMEo, alongside the
Institute for Employment Research, will provide academic research input for the project, focusing on work, employment, skills and training in the cultural industries to achieve the following objectives:

  • map how digital skills are currently developed and supplied in the in the  museum sector;
  • understand how digital skills are currently deployed in the museum sector;
  • pinpoint the current changes in the demand for digital skills/literacy in the museum sector.

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AHRC Phoenix Digital Impact Fellowship

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) awarded CAMEo a Creative Economy Engagement Fellowship to run from January 2018-January 2019. The purpose of the Fellowship was to pair an academic with an arts or creative organisation to support the organisation’s ‘creative economy’ development activities. Phoenix Cinema and Arts Centre and CAMEo were working together to suggest ways in which to further develop and extend Phoenix’s digital arts, culture and creative economy activity in line with strategic  plans. Since being appointed in early 2018, Creative Economy Engagement Fellow Dr Sophie Frost undertook preliminary orientation, desk and background research with Phoenix and stakeholders.


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Bass Culture


What influence has Jamaican music had on British music and British culture? Mark Banks was a co-investigator on a new three-year AHRC project led by Mykaell Riley and the Black Music Research Unit (BMRU) at the University of Westminster. Bass Culture explored the culture, history and economy of Jamaican music in Britain through a series of collaborations between academics and community researchers. The project involved oral history and archival research, community film-making, conferences and events and included partnerships with the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) and the British Library.

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Creative industries, diversity and austerity - CIDA

The arts sector is culturally and economically vital to the Midlands. However, little is known about the challenges that artistic practitioners face during these times of austerity, nor what could be done to support them. Funding cuts and the wider effects of austerity are having multifaceted impacts on artists and cultural workers, particularly those without secure employment contracts or stable sources of income. Austerity is therefore likely to be particularly challenging for women, BAME people, disabled and working class workers as well as those with caring responsibilities, which is why CIDA focused on the relationship between austerity and workforce diversity.

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CIDA studied the lived experience of creative lives under austerity and how austerity affects access and participation. CIDA Project’s East Midlands Artists Survey is funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grant and was being conducted in association with The Mighty Creatives (TMC), the Arts Council England bridge organisation for the East Midlands.


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Diversity meta-analysis for the British Film Institute

Workforce diversity in the screen industries is a key concern for the British Film Institute (BFI) across all of its major activities including film production funding, audience development and film education, and film heritage. The BFI aimed to develop policies and initiatives that support strong and talent-rich screen industries that can attract, retain and progress a diverse workforce. To underpin the BFI’s policies and initiatives, CAMEo delivered a meta-analysis of current research on workforce diversity in the screen sectors. The analysis established evidence on the current state of workforce diversity in the screen sectors, evidence on interventions to improve workforce diversity and evidence on the business, cultural and social case for improving workforce diversity.

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Mapping the Creative and Cultural Industries in Vietnam

A joint project with the British Council and Hanoi Grapevine. This was a mixed methods research project that mapped the creative and cultural industries in Vietnam and explore the networks and linkages between organisations within the sector. The project begun with a largely desk-based review of existing data sources to provide an initial quantitative picture of the sector in Vietnam, this was complemented by a survey designed to fill the gaps between the various sources available. The project then moved on to adopt the method used by Brennan-Horely (2013) in Darwin, Australia. This involved producing maps of Cities and asking local people, workers in the creative industry and businesses to identify areas in which they believe creativity in the economy takes place. This approach helped to capture the informal nature of employment and creativity inherent within these industries that the more formal quantitative methods inevitably miss. Respondents identified areas of the City where three elements of the creative industries work: 1. What Brennan-Horely terms as ‘creative epicenters’ – spaces where respondents feel creativity is most apparent in the local economy; 2. Spaces of inspiration – places within the City or locality that inspire the workforce in their creative work; 3. Where the workplaces actually are. This stage was vital as it enabled policy makers to better understand where creativity in the economy actually occurs and where they need to target the support networks and governance interventions that Liu & Silva (2017) argue are needed to help the industries grow. Liu & Silva produced a diagram to visualize the interactions between policy makers and the creative industries in Nanjing in China which will enable the creative industries to access the support they need from Government. Aside from academic outputs this project produced a report for the Vietnamese Government and populate a directory of cultural and creative organisations on the Hanoi Grapevine website.

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Document: making and marking time in artistic careers

How do artists reflect on their work and understand their own career trajectories and development? Document was a two-year project created by the East Midlands Contemporary Visual Arts Network, which worked with six artists to provide a context for them to reflect on their working life, and engage in activity that documents their own personal and professional development. Mark Banks joined the advisory group of this project, and Paula Serafini conducted research with the Document artists about their working practices, career paths, and time.

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Middle Way Mentoring Project

Funded by Arts Council England, the Middle Way Mentoring project was a two year professional development scheme for Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) writers based in the Midlands. Writers received mentoring for a period of twelve months from an experienced writer, and participate din a series of masterclasses designed to develop the craft of writing. During the second year, the writers begun to focus on completing a portfolio of short stories to send out to prizes, literary journals and to put forward for the scheme’s anthology. Writers participated in a series of workshops and talks delivered by industry experts, received bespoke career coaching and showcased their writing at a number of festivals. The Middle Way Mentoring project was led by writer and publisher, Farhana Shaikh with the support of a number of partners, including University of Leicester, CAMEo, Writing East Midlands, Writing West Midlands, Dahlia Publishing and Renaissance One.

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Where am I? BME role models and leaders in the performing arts

Workers of black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds are under-represented in the cultural industries workforce. This AHRC-funded Clore Leadership Programme project explored the implications of this under-representation for BAME workers’ career aspirations. It particularly focused on the importance of BAME role models for developing a more diverse workforce. If the arts and culture represent overwhelmingly white, middle class, male aesthetics, history, values and thinking, how are BAME workers to value their own ideas, stories and ambitions? What would a world look and feel like if leaders in arts and culture came from all kinds of backgrounds? If there were more black ballet dancers, a female Asian artistic director of the National Theatre, more BAME drama workshop leaders in schools? Would this encourage a more diverse arts workforce?


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Women In View’s 2xMore and 5 in Focus Programmes

Women In View (WIV) has designed and delivered two key programs to address gender inequality in the Canadian independent film and television production industry. The workforce development programme 2xMore gives emerging female episodic directors the opportunity to direct an episode of scripted television. The gatekeeper development programme 5 in Focus targeted various barriers that female directors face as a consequence of managerial and executive decision-making. Led by Dr Amanda Coles (Deakin University, Australia), this research project assessed to what degree 2xMore and 5 in Focus represented the types of industry interventions that promote a fundamental transformation of industry norms, values and practices based on principles of inclusion, representation and belonging. The project, delivered by researchers from Deakin Business School and CAMEo, contributed to a growing body international research that interrogates the role of policy and program experimentation in addressing gender inequality as both an employment equity issue and an issues of sharp social-political significance.

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