We need your help to study Digital Creative Industries
We've all probably heard someone or read something bemoaning the state of journalism education or, for that matter, educating students in general to navigate this rapidly evolving digital media world.
Not so well known is that the European Union and the United States are funding a university consortium to examine the challenges in what have become known as the "digital creative industries."
Why is this important and why should you care? Because the resulting recommendations are designed to go to policymakers in government and education on both sides of the Atlantic at a time when digital creative industries increasingly are seen as important components of reviving both national and regional economies. In short, we have their attention.
Universities in Sweden and Britain and in the U.S. in South Carolina (where I am) and Iowa are part of what is known as the Atlantis project. And this is where we need your help.
We're beginning the process of sifting through what's out there already and, not surprisingly, are finding wide variance, even down to how we define digital creative industries. It's a broad area that generally encompasses what we think of as traditional media jobs (journalism, public relations, publishing, film and TV, etc.) plus aspects of the arts (music, performing arts, visual arts, etc.), all of which have been affected by the shift to digital.
One of our key jobs is to identify needs for training in the digital creative industries. We have a dual focus:
- Professional skills, including technology and creativity.
- Business and entrepreneurship skills.
To do that, as part of the two-year study, we also will be creating industry panels in the U.S. and Europe to advise us and policymakers on needs, problem areas, ways to improve education and – especially – ways to improve communication. These panels will be online affairs, with a minimal time requirement from those involved (we recognize folks in this area are very busy as it is).
Here's how you can help us a lot with minimal effort on your part:
1) Help us identify people to approach for the industry panels. Yes, we could probably sit and brainstorm a bunch of names we already know, and you might come up with some of the same. But we have no monopoly on knowledge in this area, and we're betting you'll have some insights we've never thought of. Feel free to nominate yourself. But for whoever you think is a good candidate, please give us a smidge more than a name – contact info, if you know it, and a sentence or two on why they'd be great for this.
2) Help us define digital creative industries. What should be included and why? Is it wise to include the arts? If so, where do you draw the line and how do you reconcile more "tech" and profit-oriented enterprises with the more creative and nonprofit aspects of the arts? And what about gaming and software (Australians include the former but not the latter)?
3) Tell us what's working and what isn't working and why. We need good examples of both. Good policymaking does not happen in a vacuum; it works best when we can point policymakers to examples of how it should be done – and how it shouldn't.
4) Give us your thoughts on how much digital creative industries should be central to economic development (and by extension, education's role in that). Europe and Australia are about a decade ahead of the U.S. in this area. The have made nurturing of creative industries central to their development strategies, often nationally. In the U.S., we have talked with national and state commerce leaders, for instance, and find very little coordination. Much of the decision making seems to have been left to the local level where we often find leaders following the sometimes controversial work of Richard Florida. So what should our policies be?
5) Tell us what education's role should be in all this. As noted at the beginning, we've all heard the specific gripes, but let's try to move forward from that. Again, there are some serious differences across the Atlantic. In Europe, there is no bashfulness about using the term "vocational education" and talking about how educational institutions can better align training with industry needs. We suspect that, at least put that way, it would be anathema on many U.S. campuses. So how do we better prepare students, taking into account the market into which we will launch them? How do we, to use that buzz phrase, do the "technology transfer"? And what role does entrepreneurship play in all this (and can we really even teach that)?
Even in journalism education, the obstacles are many, not the least of which are restrictive accreditation standards. But remember, we're not framing this just as journalism and communications. Digitization is erasing artificial demarcations. What do we or don't we know about other facets of digital creative industries and education?
How can you give us your ideas?
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put "Atlantis" somewhere in the subject line if you click on that link, it will be done automatically.
We also have a Digital Creative Industries page on Facebook, and we'd love to have you contribute there. http://on.fb.me/DCIpage
If you would like to be included in periodic updates, let us know and we will enroll you in a special Facebook group.
Don’t feel that once you've said something you can't reload and come back. This needs to be a conversation. And please, also spread this message along your networks. We need to be able to see over our own horizon.
We may not come up with solutions, but just clarifying the issues and recommendations going forward would be very influential.