September 21, 2015 - September 21, 2015
Chateau St. Gerlach
The Maastricht Symposium on the Creative Economy, which took place on September 21 2015, was the first official meeting of minds in light of the Made2Measure research conducted under supervision of Prof. Dr. Rachel Pownall at Maastricht University School of Economics and Business. The Municipality of Maastricht has commissioned this research in order to obtain scientific background information on which to base policies with regard to the creative industries. For the conference report, click here.
To ensure the immediate applicability of the research results, several experts in the creative industries were invited during the Symposium to share their expertise and discuss which knowledge is still needed when it comes to the creative industries. Although the research stems from a knowledge question from the Municipality of Maastricht and thus seems to have a local view at first instinct, many aspects of the creative industries are not limited by regional or even national borders. Therefore, the Symposium had an international orientation, with keynote speakers from London and Liverpool. Still, the local aspect has not been disregarded as several key players in the creative economy of Maastricht were present to share their views.
The first challenge when discussing creative industries, either in a regional or an international context, is to define what it exactly entails. Several definitions of creative industries are circling, but none is conclusive or commonly accepted. Based on the knowledge question of the Municipality of Maastricht, Made2Measure will focus on three creative sub-industries; the arts, fashion design, and design. These can be brought together under the term ‘lifestyle’. We regard it important to obtain knowledge about the functions, values and possible connectivity of these sub-industries within the creative industries as a whole and within the larger perspective of the economic society. Additionally, future development plays an important part in the research. IT and other digital developments are bound to play an important role in the arts and design in the future. Therefore, it is essential to already anticipate the possible disruptive changes in the future at this point, so policy-making institutions can be prepared.
The final goal of the Symposium was to share knowledge and experience between parties, and also to identify which knowledge is still lacking. This has been done by generating connectivity between different creative initiatives, knowledge institutes and policy makers in the city, and possibly even on a larger scale. There is no lack of creative students, professionals or initiatives in the Maastricht. However, to generate a sustainable creative hub, these parties need to connect with one another, something that is not happening sufficiently today.
On an international level the Symposium made clear that there is a lot of uncertainty about how digital developments will influence the art scene. Furthermore, it was concluded that there needs to be a focus on how to attract more investors for the creative industries. As traditional ROIs cannot be offered, we need to find alternatives to value these types of investments. Artists and art institutions are more and more required to be business-minded. Is this a development that will last? And if so, is it needed to add business education to art schools’ curricula?
From a more local point of view, it has been debated whether Maastricht is becoming sufficiently internationally minded. It might be inevitable to lose (arts, design and business) students to larger markets like Amsterdam, but in order to reduce this outflow to a minimum, Maastricht needs to open up to other aspects outside of the city (both nationally and internationally). Finally, the concern was raised that there is too much governmental meddling in the creative field. The optimal level of policy making for this industry is up for debate. Funding structures can be very complicated, simplifying these would benefits artists and designers significantly.
The Symposium has given both the Made2Measure team as well as the participants some new insights in the creative economy.