Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship: A new research agenda?
Conference contribution, 2016
Cultural and creative entrepreneurship are topics which during the past decade has increased significantly in relevance. This can be detected in numerous ways; e.g. increasing research attention, increasing publication outlets, increasing number of academic programs offering education tailored specifically to this context.
One reason why cultural activities and creative industries have come into focus is the recognition that value realization takes place in different manners in and across different spheres. Where economists tend to focus on the spheres of the private company – implying that market and government are the central mechanisms for value realization – activities in the cultural and creative spheres have also proven to be important domains of significant value realization. For example, DiMaggio in his seminal 1982 paper demonstrated that founders of institutions for high culture would combine their interest in the arts with a willingness to assume responsibility, and thereby converting cultural institutions into significant business opportunities. Such insights clearly parallel what we find in, for example, Schumpeter’s definition of the entrepreneur, characterized as a risk- taker who stimulates change and captures business opportunities. Focus on entrepreneurship in these contexts, may in fact involve entirely new types of expression of value creation. For example, consider the British street artist Banksy, who in spite of (or maybe even due to) his controversial political messages and explicit rejection of normal market mechanisms (supplier-customer relations) has become a highly esteemed (and highly priced) artist and entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship and value creation in these spheres is argued to be activated through different mechanisms than purely financial market mechanisms. Often times we see aspect of social values being at the center of the value realization; like community, a sense of identity, solidarity, neighborhood, security, conviviality, friendship, and so on. It is this informal sphere, more generally denoted as civil society, that is critical for the realization of the cultural values (see e.g. Bendixen, 2000; Jeffcut and Pratt, 2002; Konrad, 2013).