Today saw the first prize from Creative Advantage Fund (CAF) for postgraduate research on the creative economy which was awarded to Simon Spink. The images reproduced here record the informal award ceremony and lunch which was attended by Thomas’ colleagues from CAF, students past and present as well as members of BCU staff.
The growing importance of the creative sector for the economy and of cultural policies in relation to the ties that bind us together has merited much academic attention in the last two decades. This is reflected in part in the appearance of a range of university courses dedicated to exploring policy issues. This attention is particularly relevant to an institution like Birmingham City University (BCU), which nurtures many students who go on to play a part in the creative economy: locally, nationally and globally. Students graduate from BCU’s practice-based courses as media producers, musicians, fine artists, architects, games designers and so on.
The realities of the economy, opportunities of working conditions and indeed the expectations of the work they produce and contribute to merit close attention. Some of these realities are explored by the students themselves in those courses that include or prioritise a more traditional research base. The generous award of a prize for dissertation research from the Creative Advantage Fund (CAF) means that some of this excellent work will reach a wider audience and successful students will receive encouragement to develop their skills and interests in these areas.
Simon Spink is a graduate of the MA in Creative Industries and Cultural Policy at BCU. Over its history, students on the MA have produced a great range of empirical work that has attended to the nature of local creative businesses, policies and audiences and, I am pleased so say, has resulted in a number of original publications.
Spink’s interest in the local film economy is of particular interest at the moment due to the growing interest in the place of the BBC and of studio provision in the Midlands. We hope that the research presented in the document attached here and derived from Spink’s dissertation will be of interest to those in the sector and further afield who might be inclined to overlook the fact that while they might be novice researchers, the work of students has something important to say about the world in which we live and its best examples deserve wider attention.