"Our vision is that the UK becomes the world's creative hub"
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
(UK Government website, 2009)
The creative industries in the UK are recognised as being among the best in the world. They form a growing sector that out-performs the rest of the economy's growth in terms of jobs, and driving innovation.
The Government has recognised the crucial importance of the creative industries both to the UK economy and to future of employment at a time when other sectors such as manufacturing and financial services are in decline.
In the last ten years, for example, there has been a 39% increase in the number of businesses within the UK cultural and creative sectors, with over 150,000 companies employing almost two million people.
In recognition of this, the Government has created new bodies such as the Creative and Business International Network - cabinet - aimed at increasing innovation and global investment. In 2008, the Government also launched an ambitious strategy through the Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy report.
This contains 26 commitments designed "to put culture and creativity at the centre of our national life and bring the creative industries into the mainstay of the UK economy." The report's themes, including "supporting research and innovation" and "supporting creative clusters" closely reflect the aims and activities of Brunel's Creative Industries Collaborative Research Network.
The Network will analyse the unprecedented growth of the creative industries and underlying issues that have prompted significant changes in the production, distribution and consumption of cultural products.
For example, technological advances have led to increasing innovation in areas such as film and video game production, while the Internet has expanded and transformed distribution patterns for music, television, video and live events, and has produced fundamental changes in interactive arts, entertainment and publishing.
At the same time, many areas thought to be threatened by technological and online competition have thrived. The sales of theatre tickets, books and novels have flourished, for example, and last year for the first time in decades, income from live music concerts in the UK outstripped sales of recorded music (both discs and downloads).
What are the Creative Industries?
According to the most widely used definition, coined by the Government's Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the creative industries are "based on individual creativity, skill and talent" Broadly, they comprise the following sectors:
- art and antiques markets;
- computer and video games;
- designer fashion;
- video, film and photography;
- performing arts;
- television and radio.
Brunel's Collaborative Research Network in the Creative Industries
Research across the higher education sector is strong and has expanded significantly in recent years. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, 47% of all research submissions in creative industry subjects were judged to have reached the two highest ratings of 'world leading' (4*) and 'internationally excellent' (3*).
Brunel has played a significant part in this growth and to the development of the creative industries, from innovative technological R&D and advanced practice-as-research projects, to the education and training of skilled creative graduates, and the analysis and theorisation of creative practices.
Brunel's Collaborative Research Network (CRN) in Creative Industries brings together researchers from across the University to examine key issues, trends and future directions in this field.
The University is ideally placed to conduct interdisciplinary research in the creative and cultural industries, with many established research centres studying different sectors, as well as internationally renowned creative practitioners.
The Network draws on expertise from across the University in areas including design, software, film, broadcast media, music, drama, creative writing, journalism, video games, creative IP, interactive media and 3D technologies.
Aims and themes
The primary aim is to foster inter-disciplinary research of the highest quality and promote the research strengths of the University in order to increase the visibility of Brunel's research and to secure external funding.
The Network also interacts with external researchers and partners, organises conferences and events, engages in knowledge transfer activities with the professional creative industries, and develops new collaborative investigations and creative projects with the aim of positioning Brunel at the forefront of research in the creative industries.
Its priority themes include: multidisciplinary analysis of issues and trends in the creative industries; the development of new technologies, platforms, and creative forms; and interdisciplinary practice-as-research.