Research strands

Cultural Policy and Creative Economy

Strand Leader: Mark Banks

Activities in this strand focus on the key analytical objects of our Institute; namely the ‘cultural’ or ‘creative’ industries, ‘cultural policy’ and ‘creative economy’. It takes a wide-lens, macro view of the dynamics underpinning the alleged transition from the relatively distinct and demarcated worlds of the ‘arts’, ‘cultural industry’ and ‘real’ or ‘formal’ economy to a current conjuncture where there is much greater overlap and synthesis in activity and understanding, but also significant division and controversy. This strand examines what is at stake, culturally, politically and economically, as ideas of ‘culture’ and ‘economy’ continue to meet, clash and combine.


Cultural Work and Employment

Strand Leader: Doris Ruth Eikhof

This strand examines working in arts, culture and media. It examines the socio-economic structures, policies and dynamics that shape the markets for cultural labour, organisational practices of employing and deploying cultural workers and cultural workers’ experiences of trying to make a meaningful living from their work. Cultural work is organised through a range of models and means – from large corporations to smallest micro-enterprises and co-operatives – and often in structures that centre on the individual, as a feted genius as well as a freelancer under pressure to sell their labour power. This strand takes an integrative approach to understanding the conceptual, practical and policy issues involved. With employment as well as gifted and unpaid labour increasing in the cultural economy, it focusses especially on some of the inequalities evident in cultural work.


Cultural Production and Consumption

Strand Leader: Jennifer Smith Maguire

Work in this strand explores how cultural goods, practices and values are constructed, negotiated, and legitimated by institutions and individuals. It brings together accounts of the agency of both consumers and cultural workers, and analyses of the macro-structures of consumer culture in multi-disciplinary research focused on material culture. Recurrent themes include processes of valuation and evaluation, legitimation, representation, identification and discourse, empirically focused, for instance, on food and drink (e.g. ‘local’ food, microbrew beer) and artisanal/craft production (wine, pepper, textiles). By giving attention to the interrelationship between scales of agency and action (individual and institutions; producers, intermediaries, consumers), the strand is broadly concerned with critically unpacking the seemingly inevitable forms of consumer culture that populate everyday life, in order to better understand their implications and potential alternatives.


Texts and Trends

Strand Leader: Helen Wood

This strand analyses the social impact of the products of the cultural, creative and media industries, informed by the broader aim of the Institute to further our understanding of the interaction between economic and symbolic fields. It therefore explores the aesthetic and discursive aspects of media and cultural forms as ‘texts’ and their relationship to broader socio-cultural and economic trends. It tackles aspects of production, text and reception through a critical lens which identifies the textual and the social as mutually constitutive and generated through particular spatial and temporal conditions. This emphasis prioritises areas of inequality, typically in relation to class, race and gender, by drawing attention to the ways in which these are reproduced through textual and affective relations across media culture. It is alert to the contemporary media landscape whereby questions of textual production and reception are no longer clearly distinct as media technologies generate multiple forms of participation (and exploitation) in the creation of media and cultural forms.

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CAMEo Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies

7 Salisbury Road, Leicester, LE1 7QR

(0)116 252 5633

cameo@le.ac.uk

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