Insights from the inside; researching creative industries entrepreneurship? The 40th Annual Conference of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Charlotte Carey, Stefania Romano, Andy Penaluna

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    On the final day of the ISBE conference 2016 in Paris the creative Industries Entrepreneurship track ran a research methods workshop. This sector has seen phenomenal growth over the last 20 years, any time you use software, play a computer game, watch TV, listen to the radio, download an app, step into a building, see a play or simply admire a painting you are coming into contact with the creative industries. Many of the sub-sectors have seen rapid adaption to the digital economy responding to the growing means of content consumption. As one of the largest growth sectors in the UK economy, the Creative Industries, which encompasses film; software design; fine art; designer fashion, theatre and the performing arts; advertising; architecture and design; publishing; broadcast media and recorded music (DCMS, 2001), has grown in interest amongst the entrepreneurship research community (Henry, 2001; Rae, 2004: Carey and Naudin, 2006; Penaluna and Penaluna, 2009; Carey and Matlay, 2010, Carey, 2015). In addition, policy makers have monitored the evolution of the creative industries due to their powerful contribution to job creation, local development and engine for growth (DCMS, 2001; DCMS, 2010; DCMS 2015; DCMS 2016). The sector is characterised by its entrepreneurial attributes, high levels of self-employment, micro-businesses, portfolio careers and arguably is built on and is the original ?gig economy?. Each year the creative industries entrepreneurship track at the ISBE conference brings together scholars studying this often innovative, sometime very personal fields where the boundaries between art and commerce are at times blurred. The workshop was borne out of observations that there were some notable patterns in terms of approach to research carried out in the field of creative industries research. Use of narrative, storytelling (Rae, 2005; Carey, 2014) and career histories feature along with researchers often able to offer insider perspective (Pret, 2013; Carey, 2013; 2014; 2015). As a highly innovative environment, these insights could also provide broad perspectives for other areas of research. Aim This paper reports on the findings from the workshop and the subsequent literature review which helped underpin these findings. The workshop specifically sought to explore the research methods used when studying this sector; the personal motivations of the researchers, the related challenges in using innovative research methods and how to overcome them. The objective was to better understand this emerging field of research, and to highlight what it has to offer the field of entrepreneurship studies more broadly. Methodology In order to explore these issues, a qualitative research methodology was adopted and the perceptions of scholars in the field of creative industries and researchers who attended the ISBE conference obtained from 14 questionnaires and discussions via a research workshop organised during the conference. Its aim was to understand better the emerging field of research among scholars and what it has to offer the field of entrepreneurship studies more broadly. We used an interview agenda covering questions on participants: Values and characteristics of Creative Industries Entrepreneurship research Motivation to research in this field (Deci, 1975; Deci & Ryan, 1985, Amabile, 2011) Perceptions of the field and future research Contribution Characteristics of research methods within the sector A number of interesting factors emerged. Participants described the research as being ?holistic and embedded? it seems that the research is very much concerned with the whole person and use of narrative and ?whole-life stories? featured heavily. Qualitative research methods seemed to dominate with narrative, story-telling and grounded theory and case studies highlighted. Alongside this reflexivity and auto-ethnography were also flagged by a third of participants. Themes emerging from research are often linked to identify and value which perhaps explains the need for the ?whole-life story?. Researchers often appear to be bringing with them rich ?insider? perspectives that perhaps not surprisingly influenced motivation, as did the need for high levels of reflexivity and forays into auto-ethnography identified within the questions about characteristics of research within this field. As well as this personal insight there was the acknowledgement that the sector was at the forefront of many innovations and changes within the economy at large, in terms of its constant need to adapt and develop as technology drives change. Better understanding of the ways in which entrepreneurs within the sector are motivated, value their work, operate and behave could help enhance and support the future development of the sector.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 8 Nov 2017


    • Creative Industries
    • Research design
    • publishing
    • research methods
    • Creative Industries Entrepreneurship


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