With deep financial cuts and threats of additionally more cuts, how can art and design institutions adapt and justify the economic value of their activities? At art and design institution Central Saint Martins, it had to align academic activities more closely to those of industry.
Academia as a Business
The economic value of education, particularly art and design, is currently being challenged. As Design Editor Hugo Macdonald highlighted in the February 2013 issue of Monocle magazine, “The UK government has made it cripplingly expensive for domestic students to study at arts colleges and near impossible for foreign students to stay on and be employed in the UK after graduating.” However, the UK has the “largest creative industries sector in Europe, employing 1.5 million people in over 100,000 businesses, contributing over £33bn to the economy in 2010 and generating exports worth almost £9bn.” With deep financial cuts and threats of additionally more cuts, how can art and design institutions adapt and justify the economic value of their activities? At art and design institution Central Saint Martins, it had to align academic activities more closely to those of industry. In doing so, Central Saint Martins was going to begin to behave like a business. It also meant that it needed to engage in the uncreative side of business, which is the legal work. Instead of outsourcing the legalities associated with commercialisation of student work to an external entity, Central Saint Martins formed the Innovation Centre. It acts as an agent between the academic and creative activities with business. Industry is its key partner and the students are its customer segment and thus its business is driven by the enterprise activities of the students at the institution. Enterprise is synonymous with ventures, entrepreneur, and start-up. Since the Innovation Centre’s inception students have created their own businesses, commercialised their concepts, contributed to the economy, and make a clear case that creativity has value alongside industry.
Meet other experts on the topic, and check out their ideas in the following video: http://bit.ly/19kDyYC
Interested in finding out more about building a creative economy? Be sure to attend the MA Innovation Management Grad Show June 19-23 at Central St. Martins College of Arts & Design.