Book of the Week: Education in the Creative Economy

* Book: Education in the Creative Economy: Knowledge and Learning in the Age of Innovation. Edited by Daniel Araya & Michael A. Peters. Peter Lang, 2010

I generally prefer monographs to books bringing together essays, but this book deserves special treatment, because it may be the first to so explicitely make the link between the general and economic needs of society, post-market trends such as p2p dynamics, and the new forms of learning, including peer learning.

Here is just a list of the chapters that are directly related to the topics we monitor at the P2P Foundation:

(chapter 15 is an essay of mine focusing on the p2p economy)

* John Seely Brown: Foreword

* Michael A. Peters & Daniel Araya: Introduction: The Creative Economy: Origins, Categories and Concepts

* 10. Michael A. Peters: Creativity, Openness and User-Generated Cultures

* 11. Philippe Aigrain, Leslie Chan, Jean-Claude Guédon, John Willinsky and Yochai Benkler: Symposium on The Wealth of Networks

* 14. Matteo Pasquinelli: The Ideology of Free Culture and the Grammar of Sabotage

* 15. Michel Bauwens: Towards a P2P Economy

* 21. Erica McWilliam, Jennifer Tan, & Shane Dawson: Creativity, Digitality and 21st Century Schooling

* 22. (A.C.) Tina Besley: Digitised Youth: Constructing Identities in the Creative Knowledge Economy

* 23. Dave Cormier: Community as Curriculum

* Pat Kane: Afterword

This linkage is also explicitly asserted in the introduction by the editors, Daniel Araya and Michael Peters:

Rise of the Creative Economy

In the last twenty years, we have moved from the postindustrial economy to the information economy to the digital economy to the knowledge economy to the “creative economy.” The notion of creative economy, pioneered in different ways by Charles Landry, John Howkins begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting, Richard Florida, and Charles Leadbeater early in this decade, increasingly has become associated with postmarket notions of open source public space, democratized creativity, and intellectual property law that has been relativized to the cultural context emphasizing the socio-cultural conditions of creative work. Alongside this development, the notion of entrepreneurship, as interpreted originally by Schumpeter, breaks out of its business origins, becoming a rubric for larger transformation, and a set of infrastructural conditions enabling creative acts. Likewise the endogenous growth theory developed simultaneously by Paul Romer and others in economics has opened a space for the primacy of ideas and installed continuous innovation as mainstream OECD economic policy. These moves have brought to the forefront forms of knowledge production based on the commons and driven by ideas not profitability per se; and have posed the question of not just “knowledge management” but the design of “creative institutions” embodying new patterns of work.

Education in the Creative Economy

We seem to be moving into a different world now; a world in which the raw materials are no longer coal and steel produced by machines but creativity and meaning produced by the human imagination. Beyond conventional discussions on the knowledge economy, many scholars suggest that creative work and a rising “creative class” are fomenting shifts in advanced economies from mass production to creative innovation. Emerging along several paths, Charles Landry, John Howkins begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting, and Richard Florida have been pioneers in understanding these dynamics. The publication of Landry’s The Creative City (2000), Howkin’s The Creative Economy (2001) and Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class (2002) have catalyzed a rich discourse on the value and importance of creativity to the global economy. Laying the foundations, John Howkins begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting offered the first account of this new economy, even as Charles Landry explored the possibility of developing benchmarks for stoking creative cities. Most recently, Richard Florida has offered an empirical account of the logic and dynamism of the creative economy. We know that creativity and innovation have become critical to understanding the complex challenges facing us in the twenty-first century. In this volume we examine the contours of the creative economy discourse and consider its implications for education. Bringing together eminent scholars and practitioners from around the world, we consider the need for new modes of education that respond to the growing importance of creativity to a global economy and society.

John Dewey once said that education is the foundation for an ever-evolving economy and culture. This vision has clearly become reality today. Much as the assembly line shifted the key factor of production from labor to capital, computer networks are now shifting the key factor of production from capital to innovation. It seems increasingly clear that information and communications technologies (ICTs) are restructuring global production so that innovation is now anchored to social networks that criss-cross nations, cultures, and peoples. Much as the assembly line shifted the critical factor of production from labor to capital, computer networks are now shifting the critical factor of production from capital to innovation.

In Education in the Creative Economy, we want to explore the need for new modes of education that can effectively tap the collective intelligence that powers these social networks. One of the major questions that we explore through this book is “What systems, policies and structures are most conducive to making it possible for the largest number of people in a society to participate in the creation and development of new cultural forms?” Creativity has become the economic engine of the twenty-first century. No longer the preserve of creative industries, “creative capital”—in the form of innovative thinking, professional skill, and networked collaboration—has become crucial to the global economy. Harnessing these creative capacities is now fundamental to renewing education today. This volume is offered as an initial foray into this new territory.”

Here is a guide to the contents of the book by the editors, concluding today’s presentation:

Part One: Educational Policy

“In Part One, Educational Policy, we examine the contours of the creative economy in the context of educational policy, looking particularly at the rising importance of education for creativity and innovation. Tracing current socio-economic discourse on the creative economy, we examine the underlying logic of creativity and innovation and consider the factors of production that are linked to national systems of education.

Chapter 1 begins with Araya’s examination of the creative economy discourse in the context of education and the changing dynamics of the global economy. In his view, digital networks serve as platforms for collective intelligence and should be seen as the key to renewing systems of education in advanced countries.

In Chapter 2, Cunningham & Jaaniste explore the policy milestones that mark the evolution of creativity in public policy. As they conclude, education policy today must support a rapprochement of the arts and sciences in order to better coordinate disciplines and engender the necessary human capital for an emergent creative economy.

In Chapter 3, Florida, Knudsen, & Stolarick offer an empirical study of the economic role of universities through the lens of Florida’s 3Ts (technology, talent, and tolerance) of economic development. They suggest that the university’s role in the first T, technology, while important, is overemphasized by most theories on innovation; they contrast the trend by examining the role of universities in attracting and mobilizing talent, and in establishing a diverse social climate.

In Chapter 4, Flew examines dynamic trends in economic geography and considers their implications for universities. As he concludes, universities that see their future development as linked to creative clusters will need to make serious commitments to the social environments in which they are embedded.

In Chapter 5, Hearn & Bridgstock pose the question: “to what extent do current education theory and practice prepare graduates for the creative economy?” They go on to explore innovation, transdisciplinarity, and networks as the core of the creative economy and examine the need for redesigning educational policy and practice for this changing milieu.

In Chapter 6, Brown and Lauder critique the technocratic account of the knowledge economy. Challenging the dominant theories on education in a global knowledge-based economy, they argue that supra-national forces, including transnational corporations, have exploited the digital revolution to organize and standardize global production under a kind of “digital Taylorism.”

In Chapter 7, Pitroda explores the need for a paradigm shift in education. Outlining the goals behind India’s National Knowledge Commission, he elaborates on a blueprint for reform of knowledge institutions and infrastructure to support India’s knowledge economy. As he suggests, education is critical to India’s future. In Chapter 8, Lundvall, Rasmussen, & Lorenz consider the constant need for new competencies in an age in which innovation makes knowledge obsolete. Looking at learning and education from the context of Europe’s learning economy, they argue that educational policy should focus on collaboration and interdisciplinarity in order to prepare people for participation in a learning economy and society.

Finally in Chapter 9, Rooney argues that a lack of adequate conceptual frameworks for knowledge production keeps policymakers unnecessarily anchored to an instrumentalist logic. Instead, he links knowledge and creativity to wisdom and values, and explores the complex adaptive systems out of which creativity and wisdom emerge.

Part Two: Technology and Economy

In Part Two, Technology and Economy, we look closely at information and communications technologies and their relationship to collaboration in the creative economy. Beyond the command-and-control systems characteristic of industrial society, digital technologies have become fundamental to a network society. Technology is now so critical to such a wide range of overlapping industries and disciplines that conventional boundaries seem to be breaking down. Underlying this socioeconomic restructuring is the critical importance of digital networks as platforms for collaborative innovation.

Chapter 10 begins with Peters’s exploration of openness and creativity from the perspective of decentralized networked communications and a global knowledge economy. As he points out, digitization transforms all aspects of cultural production and consumption. New digital logics alter the organization of knowledge, education, and culture and spawn new technologies as a condition of open innovation.

In Chapter 11, Aigrain, Chan, Guédon, Willinsky, and Benkler reflect on the notions of peer production introduced in Benkler’s landmark book, The Wealth of Networks (2006). Aigrain begins by asking, “How does the growth of information commons and related non-market activities interact with the monetary economy?” Chan explores a parallel question in terms of human development and poverty alleviation. Guédon, in turn, considers the broader anthropological questions introduced by peer production. Lastly, Willinsky compares Benkler’s work with Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations (1776/1910) and ponders the implications of peer production for transforming education. In response, Benkler attempts to answer these difficult questions in terms of the emergent logic of peer production itself.

In Chapter 12, Howkins considers the tension between intellectual property (as the lynch-pin of a creative ecology) and the growing importance of commons-based peer production. What, he asks, is the right way to regulate the ownership of ideas in the twenty-first century?

In Chapter 13, Fitzgerald & Shi examine copyright issues emerging with the evolutionary dynamics of networked innovation and ask the question “to what extent should copyright law allow copyright owners the right to control reproduction and communication to the public?” In their view, copyright law should not only facilitate the opportunity to create but also make possible the opportunity to distribute and communicate creative material to the broadest possible audience.

Following on Fitzgerald & Shi, Pasquinelli makes a dynamic argument for defending the commons against capitalist exploitation. In his view, the grammar of sabotage has become the modus operandi of the multitudes captive to the network society of cognitive capitalism. Simply put, sabotage has become the only possible gesture to defend the commons.

In Chapter 15, Bauwens argues that peer production represents a revolutionary mode of political economy that transcends capitalism. Beyond the recent economic crisis, he explores the possibilities of a phase transition into a postcapitalist era centered on peer production.

In Chapter 16, Murphy examines Schumpeter’s notions of innovation in light of the recent global recession and the ongoing competition between various economic and social dogmas. As he suggests, creativity is born of paradox and contradiction; cultures that can internalize and integrate opposing views are the crucibles of peak creation.

In Chapter 17, Landry summarizes his notion of the creative city and attempts to assess how creative thinking and new forms of learning might play a role in the creative ecology of cities. As he suggests, the Creative City is ultimately driven by learning because learning and education are central to the creative milieu.

Lastly, in Chapter 18, Nederveen Pieterse offers a critical review of the challenges facing the United States and other advanced capitalist countries under the spell of innovation rhetoric. The main problem for the United States, he concludes, is that American corporations have become complacent, dependent upon low-wage, low-tax, and low-regulation environments.

Part Three: Culture and Curriculum

In Part Three, Culture and Curriculum, we examine the growing importance of cultural production and explore the interface between innovation and design in the context of educational renewal. While a society based on industrial production could once effectively deliver a single, standardized curriculum in support of a Fordist economy, it is becoming obvious that the twenty-first century requires a different model of education. Today, public education systems desperately need to be redesigned to embrace tools and practices that tap the indigenous talents of students.

Balsamo begins Part Three with an examination of the rapid technological changes impacting knowledge and learning. In this context, she explores the notion of the Singularity and considers the key institutional elements necessary to cultivate the “technological imagination.” In Chapter 20, Whitney considers the fundamental economic and technological challenges facing schools today. As he suggests, schools need to become creative hubs at the center of networks of learning and innovation.

Following Whitney, McWilliam, Tan, & Dawson examine the challenges of embedding ICTs in contemporary public schools. As they suggest, the nexus between creativity and digitality has become critical to the educational sector, and yet schools appear to be unable to make the necessary cultural and pedagogical shift to meet this challenge.

In Chapter 22, Besley considers the growing questions surrounding youth identity in a digital age. Looking particularly at recent empirical research on youth identity, she examines the creativity of youth in the construction of emergent subjectivities while engaging and negotiating social media. In her view, creativity has become fundamental to a post-Fordist age, and yet schools and universities seem to actively discourage its development.

In Chapter 23, Cormier asks “What is the curriculum for creativity and innovation?” He suggests that the answer lies with the community as curriculum. That is, community as a distributed learning network in which learning is collaboratively generated and shared.

In Chapter 24, McCulloch-Lovell explores the “creative campus” movement and asks the question, “Are colleges and universities truly fostering the conditions in which innovation and creativity flourish?” In her view, valuing creativity means developing systems, measures, and even budgets that encourage creativity.

In Chapter 25, Parsons examines the importance of art education in educating for creativity. He suggests that art is the only subject where creativity is an inherent value of the subject as a conceptual structure. While the current discourse of social and educational policy stresses the importance of nurturing creative scientists, mathematicians, and technologists, he suggests that art and design have a special relation to creativity and should therefore be an explicit target of teaching.

In Chapter 26, de la Fuente observes that art is now so fully integrated with economics that the global economy increasingly functions as if art were the model for the whole of the market. In his view, one of the key institutions in this transformation has been the emergence of the art school, and its’ blending of the bohemian with the entrepreneur.

Following de la Fuente, Holden explores the need to democratize the arts in order to ensure that they are not the preserve of a cultural elite. In his view, a community of self-governing citizens, a demos, understands, creates, and reinvigorates itself through culture. He argues that the aim of a democratic society is to release the talents of all its citizens and not just an elite few.

In Chapter 28, Cope and Kalantzis consider the importance of design to the creative economy. They examine design as both a discipline and a process of meaning making, and explore a future-oriented agenda for Design vocations.

Finally in Chapter 29, Strand asks the question: “What are our images of creativity? And how do these images relate to our ways of seeing workplace learning within the new and globalized symbolic economy?” In this chapter, she addresses these questions through three philosophical discourses that metaphorize creativity as “expression,” “production,” and “reconstruction” in the context of workplace learning.”

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