Creativity and innovation, or: What have the arts ever done for us?
journal contributionposted on 19.01.2016, 13:57 by Doris Ruth Eikhof
My typical reaction to the words ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ in close proximity is exasperation mixed with pessimism. Like probably no other phrase, creativity and innovation stand for a ‘creative industries-turn’ in cultural policy that occurred from the late 1990s onwards (Menger 2013, Oakley 2009, Oakley et al. 2014). In the UK, the complementing visual of this creative industries-turn is the image of Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher attending the then newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair’s media party at 10 Downing Street in 1997: a new era with arts and culture at the heart of policy. Nearly two decades and much critical discussion later, the ‘creativity and innovation’-mantra seems to have lost none of its power and promise. As a researcher of cultural work I ‘naturally’ get asked to write about creativity and innovation or to apply for research money from innovation-focused funding schemes. I say arts and culture, you say creativity and innovation. My heart sinks every single time. And here is why. [Opening paragraph]