Creative and Digital Economy

Authors: John Oliver and Darren Lilleker

Alternative name suggestion: Creative and Digital Society

Brief theme summary:

This theme aims to explore the way digital  technologies are developed, and how they are used and applied within organisational and  social contexts. One important aspect of this is to understand technological developments, we argue that the key to understand the impacts of technologies is to adopt a social constructionist approach. This allows us to understand how users shape technologies to facilitate the accomplishment of their own objectives. We will explore this by looking at usage by corporate, media, political or governmental organisations, highlighting innovations in usage in order to develop best practice guidelines. However, this will be supplemented by focusing on end user perspectives. In particular we want to connect understandings of organisational usage to the way in which the broader consumers and citizens engage with technologies. The extent to which these facilitate participation in the development of consumer goods and services or public or social policy, and how technologies afford users the opportunity to be content creators, shaping the experiences of other users within a collaborate ecosystem. Of equal interest is how usage feeds back into technological development to explore the circularity between developers, professional users and the broader online participants, audiences and users.

Scope of theme: what is included?

We would cover any area of academic research where digital technology has relevance and meaning. However, specific areas could include; creative arts, creative industries, film, special effects, computer animation, computer games, marketing communications, digital marketing, media communication, journalism, social media, branding, media production, story-telling, cloud computing, geographic information systems,  consumer psychology and behaviour, digital citizenship, and audiences.

Scope of theme: what is excluded?

We would cover any area of academic research where digital technology has relevance and meaning to the economy or society. Research conducted under the umbrella of this theme would include the development and application of technology in a wide variety of contexts and would exclude areas of study that would not have a digital technology component.

Which big societal questions are addressed by this theme?

  • What are the sources of knowledge and creativity?
  • How will digital technologies change the way we work and communicate?
  • What is the role of social innovation and exchange?
  • How do people engage with digital technologies?
  • How will stories be created and conveyed through digital media in the future?
  • How will audiences be reached and engaged in the future?
  • What roles do trust, data protection and privacy play in a digital society?
  • What is intellectual property and who owns it?

How do this link to the priorities of the major funding bodies?

NESTA – interested in innovation and the role it has to play in enhancing eeconomic growth in the creative economy and public services.

AHRC – provide numerous opportunities through in their knowledge economy and innovation agenda. Particularly, emphasis is placed on funding research into improvements in social and intellectual capital, community identity, learning skills, technological evolution and the quality of life of the nation.

ESRC – have strategic priorities relating to; Understanding and influencing behaviour, Technology and innovation, Economic Performance and Sustainable Growth.

TSB – Innovation is a key enabler of growth. They place an emphasis on the Creative Industries, and in particular, how to exploiting digital technologies and commercialise digital content.

British Academy – a wide range of opportunities in the humanities and social sciences, opportunities.

EPSRC – have strategic priorities that relate to; information and communications technology, digital economy, user-led knowledge.

European Union – opportunities under FP7 for research into commercialisation, competitiveness and knowledge-based economy.

Leverhulme – broad range of opportunities. 

How does this theme interlink with the other BU themes currently under consideration?

Since the digital world is increasingly embedded in all areas of life, we would see this theme linking with all other BU research themes.