a creativity policy paradox

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					                                         A 'Creativity' Policy for Culture:
                                             Aims, Terms, Paradoxes

                                                                    by

                                                        Philippe Chantepie 1




The Lisbon Agenda assumes that culture, expressed through creativity, plays a part in long-term
growth and competitiveness. This idea, still quite novel – in which culture is seen as an economic
activity capable of contributing directly, therefore in itself, to innovation2 – risks dissipating and
obscuring what is a specific field often governed by its own rules. Several national or local policies
have already been embarked upon to support cultural activities with the above-mentioned aim. From a
methodology point of view, a number of essential economic and statistical concepts need to examined,
before serving as a basis for these policies:

– switching from the LEG's 'cultural activities field' to the one termed 'cultural and creative industry
economics', so that policymakers can have a comparable field for policy implementation;
– criteria for defining this field and identifying policy goals, instruments and evaluation resources;
– an avenue of approach provided by intangible economy indicators so as to establish a bridge
between culture and creativity.


I – A FIELD OF ACTIVITIES IN QUESTION

An assumption of general causality exists: artistic and cultural activity encourages creativity,
favouring the capacity for innovation which, in turn, leads to long-term economic growth (probably
outside the cultural activities field) and thereby an increase in jobs and incomes. In terms of economic
analysis, however, the underpinnings and terms of this causality are far from evident, unequivocal and
consistent. What – economically speaking – is meant by creativity? Creativity is less a matter of
economics than of psychology, the cognitive sciences and the history of art and science. What are its
attributes? Are they the same as those of innovation? What criteria distinguish it from creation,
invention, etc.? What is the economic field of the so-called creative industries, some of which
certainly seem to belong in it, and does it correspond with that of the LEG? It is necessary to begin by
answering these questions in order to ground creativity policy objectives in a solid concept rather than
in an instrumental-type word.

The cultural activities field is a complicated subject; the LEG worked long and hard to reach a
consensus on it. The resulting final report3 succeeded in laying down a general framework defining the
cultural activities field by domain and function, which acts as a sound and still operative reference
base. New political possibilities are emerging from the concept of creative industries, both to give an
economic justification for culture policies and to promote a creativity policy. The approach adopted in
the United Kingdom by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport since 19984 then 20015 is based

1
   Head, Department of Studies, Forecasting and Statistics, French Ministry of Culture and Communication; member, National Council for
Statistical Information; associate professor, University of Paris 8; senior lecturer in Intangible Economics, Paris Institute for Political
Studies; reader in cultural industry and digital economics, University of Paris 1 and Higher National School of Telecommunications.
2
  EICHENGREEN Barry, The European Economy since 1945: Coordinated Capitalism and Beyond, Princeton University Press, Princeton,
2006
3
  Cultural Statistics in the EU. LEG Final Report, Population and Social Conditions 3/2000/E/No.1, Eurostat Working Papers, European
Commission, 2000 http://circa.europa.eu/Public/irc/dsis/edtcs/library?l=/public/culture/leg_culture_report/_FR_1.0_&a=d
4
  Creative Industries Mapping Document 1998, DCMS, London.
http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/Publications/archive_1998/Creative_Industries_Mapping_Document_1998.htm



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on a creative industry field defined by activities whose origin lies in individual creativeness,
competence and talent and which offer the possibility of creating jobs and wealth through the
exploitation of their intellectual property.6

Definitions of culture economics or of the 'cultural' or 'creative' industry field vary, however,
according to whether the approach is statistical, economic, sociological or political. Competing claims
thus attempt to legitimise or introduce competition among a large number of possible definitions.7 A
choice could be made among the following types of industry:

           –     artistic,
           –     the arts,
           –     arts and culture
           –     arts and entertainment
           –     audiovisual
           –     communication
           –     knowledge
           –     content
           –     entertainment
           –     experience or experience economy
           –     imagination
           –     information
           –     leisure
           –     multimedia, media
           –     copyright-based or copyright.

This profusion makes it difficult to establish policy, objectives or instruments, unless an understanding
can be reached concerning such a polysemic vagueness of expression. It is better to adopt a pragmatic
attitude founded on two or three basic tenets of the creativity policy field.

Common agreement exists around a corpus of activities which include the performing arts, the plastic
arts, cinema, publishing, recorded music, advertising, radio and television, architecture. This produces
a definition of the cultural industry field in concentric circles radiating from the core creative arts. 8
Around this inner circle, certain activities deserve closer study but could without too much difficulty
be assigned to the enlarged cultural activity field – design, fashion, video games, advertising even, or
at least advertising creation. In other disciplines, a definition of the cultural industry field could be
reached by selecting features relating to the industrial production and distribution of symbolic
content.9

On the international institutional plane, one or another criterion may be preferred: the World
Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), for example, pegs the cultural industry field to the domain
for which it is responsible, i.e. industries based on literary and artistic property (copyright-based
industries).10 Another option is to agree to a broad, almost featureless field such as the one UNESCO
has adopted concerning internationally traded cultural goods and services,11 or that of the OECD
which gives pride of place to content industries inside the knowledge economy.12


5
  Creative Industries Mapping Document 2001, DCMS, London.
http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/Publications/archive_2001/ci_mapping_doc_2001.htm.
6
  The thirteen industries named by the DCMS (see Table, p*) are the subject of a recent Work Foundation report for the DCMS, Staying
ahead: the economic performance of the UK’s creative industries, June 2007, DCMS, London, June 2007.
http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/Publications/archive_2007/stayingahead_epukci.htm.
7
  SEGERS, K. and HUIJGH, E., Clarifying the complexity and ambivalence of the cultural industries, working paper 2006-02, Re-creatief
Vlaanderen, Ghent, 2006. http://www.re-creatiefvlaanderen.be/srv/pdf/srcvwp_200602.pdf
8
  THROSBY, D., Economics and Culture, Cambridge University Press.
9
  HESMONDHALGH, D., The Cultural Industries, Sage Publications.
10
   World Intellectual Property Organisation, Guide on Surveying the Economic Contribution of the Copyright-Based Industries, WIPO,
Geneva. http://www.wipo.int/copyright/en/publications/pdf/copyright_pub_893.pdf.
11
   UNESCO Institute for Statistics, International Flows of Selected Cultural Goods and Services 1994–2003: Defining and Capturing the
Flows of Global Cultural Trade, UIS, Montreal, 2005, http://www.uis.unesco.org/template/pdf/cscl/IntlFlows_EN.pdf
12
   OECD, http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/49/44/35930616.pdf



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At the national level, several countries give preference to a particular cultural activity field according
to their dominant economic sectors or cultural traditions.

Escaping from the ambiguousness attaching to the notion of creativity or creative industries does not
dispense us from the need to analyse the field of those activities which must precede the development
of public policies prescribed in the Lisbon Agenda, nor should we ignore the risk of disintegrating the
cultural activity corpus.


II – PROBLEMS IN THE CHOICE AND COMBINATION OF CRITERIA

The definition of a common intellectual field for cultural activities requires obtaining unanimous
agreement on the criteria for distinguishing among cultural activity categories using a concentric circle
classification system.13 These criteria, upon which cultural or creative economics policies must be
founded, are also a means for identifying the factors in creativity and the subjects for public action.

Economic analysis of the classification of cultural industries14 provides a fruitful composite approach,
built around five yardsticks. These need to be worked upon jointly and exchanges of best cultural
policy practice need to be organised:

          – creativity is an obvious standard for qualifying these industries, but since it is vague and not
          specific to them, it is not very discriminatory;

          – intellectual property is again a fairly obvious qualifier, but it is not easy to handle and not
          specific; a legal construct, it addresses economically the matter of non-rivalry among cultural
          informational goods more than it intrinsically reveals creativity;

          – symbolic signification would be the most apt for determining the cultural character of certain
          types of goods, and so would be more specific; but, not being objective enough, it leads to
          endless questions on the distinction the arts and anthropology in defining culture; nor is it very
          practical, since it encompasses the brands of sectors which have little to do with culture; that
          said, cultural brands do play a vital role in giving value to culture;

          – value of use would extend the symbolic goods field to cover functional utility; this criterion,
          despite its many virtues, is also not very discriminatory since it does not provide the basis for
          an objective separation between activities and goods, even though 'communication of ideas'
          would allow some activities to be treated in the classical manner;

          – production methods is the last of these criteria, and probably the most efficient; it rests on
          the economic features of, at a minimum, the cultural industries recognised by cultural
          economics, with their cost structure, reproducibility15, the 'nobody knows' principle16,
          economies of scale and prototype properties17. All these characteristics are necessary for
          defining the culture field and drawing up policies specifically designed to encourage
          creativity, particularly where very small enterprises (often taking the shape of associations),
          access to funding, R&D, territorialisation, etc., are concerned. But these elements are not to be
          found in either certain non-industrial cultural activities or conventional industries where the
          creative part is an input (fashion, design, advertising). This criterion is probably the most
          fertile one for constructing active creativity support policies, notably on the territorial plane,
          by type of enterprise, or occupation.

13
   SEGERS, K. and HUIJGH, E., Clarifying the complexity and ambivalence of the cultural industries, working paper 2006-02, Re-creatief
Vlaanderen, Ghent, 2006. http://www.re-creatiefvlaanderen.be/srv/pdf/srcvwp_200602.pdf
14
   GALLOWAY, S. and DUNLOP, S., A critique of definitions of the cultural and creative industries in public policy, International Journal
of Cultural Policy, 13(1), February 2007, pp.17–31.
15
   TOWSE, R., Cultural industries, chapter 20 of R. Towse (ed.), A Handbook of Cultural Economics, Edward Elgar, pp.170–176.
16
   CAVES, R., Creative Industries: Contracts between Art and Commerce, Harvard University Press.
17
   MENARD, Marc, Éléments pour une économie des industries culturelles, Sodec.



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A combination of criteria is something to be considered but, if the result is to be coherent and
consistent, it would require a great amount of work. The task might be undertaken in order to
determine which sectors could be included or not in a broader cultural and creative industry field. It
would require, so as to extend the field in the spirit of the Lisbon Agenda, a pragmatic approach
similar to the one adopted by the LEG. With the new NACE classification18 coming into effect early in
2008, it will be possible to broaden the cultural activities field with recurrent harmonised data without
any loss of coherence. The culture field can effectively take its place in new classifications:

           ‒ J Information and communication;
           ‒ R Arts, entertainment and recreation.

Thanks to thirty or so 4-digit classes, it should be possible to describe cultural activities. A preliminary
attempt could be made on nine groups and five divisions:


           ‒ 58 Publishing activities;
           ‒ 59 Motion picture, video and television programme production, sound recording and music publishing
           activities;
           ‒ 60 Programming and broadcasting activities;
           ‒ 90 Creative, arts and entertainment activities;
           ‒ 91 Libraries, archives, museums and other cultural activities.

Lastly, all or part of design, fashion, or even advertising, activities could be included. This pragmatic
approach should enable us to escape from the quarrel between more or less equivalent legitimacies and
expand the cultural activities field to a more comprehensive one where creation plays an important
part. Even so, a major hurdle must be overcome: can we obtain common elements for analysing the
economic role of culture or, put another way, what culture-based mechanisms produce benefits for the
rest of the economy?


3. MEASURING INTANGIBLE ASSETS: A CHANNEL TO TRUTH

The real economic issue is the causal link between the artistico-cultural, or 'creativity', field and
growth. It relies on assumptions whose testing is long in coming. A pragmatic approach using
economic statistics can be tried. Artistic and cultural activity in a region could, for example, lead
indirectly to a greater degree of innovative industrial development by the spread of artistic and cultural
creativity to other economic activities. The arts and culture act as a sort of dynamo or catalyst in the
development of society.19 However, a comparison must be made with other investment.

Intangible economics, when applied to the culture field, should let us find what makes expansion of
the cultural activities field possible, and show or not show how culture 'irrigates' creativity in the rest
of the economy.

The measurement of intangible assets is the only relevant and uniform criterion which can be applied.
It is the one used to assess the creativity, or rather the innovation and performance, of the whole
economy. Since pro- 'creative industry' policy cannot be dissociated from economic analysis, appraisal
of the relevance and effectiveness of a presumed virtuous channel between the culture and creativity
economies – and between them and the whole of the economy – must at a minimum be immune to
charges of refutability or falsification.20 That is, unless it remains in the realm of rhetoric and
renounces the scientific premises of the approach. This being the situation, analysis of the cultural


18
     http://circa.europa.eu/irc/dsis/nacecpacon/info/data/en/nace correspondance table.htm
19
     BILLE HANSEN, Tr., Measuring the Value of Culture, European Journal of Cultural Policy, 1(2), in extenso, 1995.
20
     POPPER, Karl R., Logique de la découverte scientifique, Bibliothèque scientifique, Payot, 1973


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activities field's intangible assets provides exactly the opportunity for proving the truth sought after.
The task then is to proceed, for all or each component of cultural activities, with the measurement of:

           ‒ cultural human capital, in terms of knowledge, skills, know-how. This kind of asset is
           accepted as a model for non-cultural but creativity-containing goods in all industries and
           services, where design, brand image and symbolic elements play a part. Human capital,
           credentials and skills act as a production lever21, requiring that human resource management in
           firms be modernised.22 It is almost certainly a central item in the causal link between
           culture/creativity and growth. The sector can count on a relatively higher level of human
           capital than the others. Cultural employment – through higher education in the arts, career
           mobility and multi-activity – has its own characteristics, which play a leading-edge role in
           employment as a whole. What is more, taking human capital into account enables us to
           establish a bridge between craft activities, based on specific skills, and more industrial
           activities, whether cultural or not;

           ‒ R&D, clearly essential to the economy as a whole. It partly overlaps another creativity
           indicator, that of intellectual property or, more exactly, industrial property (patents and brands)
           which can be examined in the cultural activities field in order to measure the relative presence
           of classical R&D. It not certain that it occupies a larger place than in other sectors. The
           elements that matter are the size and structure of firms, their commercial relations, etc. The
           measurement of innovation should therefore be applied to cultural activities; in this way
           specific instruments will emerge for encouraging R&D in this sector;

           ‒ literary and artistic property rights, of major importance in the intangible economy,
           especially that of digital content, and naturally important for creativity. Owing to their
           essentially contractual nature, they are very difficult to measure. As far as we can know, in
           France at any rate, royalties – which are at the heart and origin the creative process – are in all
           sectors rather miserly, extremely concentrated and dwindling, in favour of the related fees
           attributed to producers, publishers and broadcasters. The contractual aspect of the pricing of
           cultural goods will not make it easy to obtain this knowledge, but indicators must be found.
           This sort of data and the study of royalty flows and their amounts are absolutely necessary,
           since we are dealing here with the core of creativity, which as yet lacks an objective
           quantifiable indicator;

           ‒ other intangible assets, less definable, but probably essential for informing and underpinning
           an extension of cultural policies. They are connected with innovation in the cultural sector
           (product innovation excluded). They include:

                       ‒ relational capital (modes of assigning value, national and international markets,
                       international relations);
                       ‒ marketing and advertising within cultural activities, also to be regarded as a cultural
                       goods financing mode, and as an input for other sectors;
                       ‒ organisational capital, which should constitute the benchmark for the entire creative
                       economy and be gauged according to production/distribution processes, methods, and
                       management, especially talent management.23

The fruture economic and statistical analysis of creativity has surely much to gain from this approach,
mainly because it provides a true transmission channel between cultural activities and the rest of the
economy. There exist, in these fields, harmonised statistical data whose quality and quantity can
further improve, such as:


21
   ROUET, F., La place de la culture dans l’économie à l’heure de la mondialisation et de la diversité culturelle, April, in extenso, 2004.
22
   As regards the two latter factors, we are less in the area of creativity and more in that of human capital and its accumulation, these being
another important ingredient of long-term economic growth.
23
   PARIS, Thomas, Organisation, processus et structure de la création, Culture prospective, 2007-5, Nov. 2007.



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– Community Innovation Survey (CIS 4);
– European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) 2006:
    – by work on the composite innovation index (CII), especially on innovation resources: innovation
        engines, knowledge creation, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, intellectual property;
    – the EIS indicators:

         Knowledge creation               Proportion of enterprises having received public funds for
                                          innovation
         Innovation and entrepreneurial   Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) practising in-firm
         spirit                           innovation
                                          SMEs practising innovation with other entities
                                          Expenditure on innovation
                                          SMEs practising organisational innovation
         Application                      Market sales of new products
                                          Sales of new products for firms

–   Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS), which will provide information on the 208 European regions and
    make it possible, for example, to analyse regional district-promotion policies.

The above approach can supply a basis for pro-creativity policies capable of being evaluated and,
wherever necessary, can single out possible economic or institutional under-investment in creativity
which might warrant official intervention.

                                                     ***

The objectives of a pro- creative industry culture policy may call for progressive development of the
cultural activities field as defined by the LEG. This should not be too difficult for a small number of
economically and culturally well-established domains, but could be much harder should an ideological
approach unsupported by a suitable combination of criteria be adopted. A pragmatic approach thus
requires: analysis of the criteria for distinguishing among fields, identification, and possibly
evaluation, of the goals of pro-creativity cultural policies. It also supposes a reliance on what exists, on
the statistical plane particularly, when defining the notion of creativity and measuring it at least in the
cultural activities field, this being the touchstone of a policy in favour of cultural activities tackled
from the purely economic angle. However, performing an analysis of this kind – measuring intangible
or creative assets – in the creative activities or creative economics field could lead to paradoxical and
disappointing findings.




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