Our cultural and creative community has been blessed with that old Chinese curse – it is living through some very interesting times. And when I say we are blessed, I’m serious.
A massive wave of change is remaking the creative landscape, often fundamentally altering previous relationships that existed between creators and audiences and the distributors who traditionally were the intermediaries that brought them together.
These changes are impacting media and the arts all over the world.
This is an extraordinarily exciting time as we move to an economy that is fuelled by imagination, ideas, information and innovation. Allen J. Scott of the University of California published a fascinating study of creative cities a few years ago in the Journal of Urban Affairs.
He notes that they are “organized around production systems marked by shifting interfirm networks and flexible labour markets … providing an essential framework for high levels of information interchange and for frequent experimentation in regard to processes and products … that unleash diverse innovative energies.”
That sounds like an indie group to me!
These production systems are typically not burdened with rigid and hierarchical employment structures or huge capital investments in physical plant. Most of the value in these firms walks out the front door at the end of the day – if there is even a front door, or an end of the day!
As audiences are creatively curating their own entertainment, playlists, movie, television and reading consumption, innovative cultural producers and artists have seized on these changes to find new ways to reach and connect with audiences.
Creativity is a huge blessing in this landscape. It is basically an unconventional way to process information and often thrives on the very sort of complex and paradoxical change we are experiencing. As our creative and cultural community navigates through these interesting times, it’s very creativity will bring transformative solutions and new approaches that may be unimaginable now but whose positive impacts we will benefit from artistically, socially and economically.