Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Are You Ready to Explore the Digital Public Space?

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Are You Ready to Explore the Digital Public Space?

Article excerpt

The Creative Exchange hub brings academics and industry together to create products and opportunities, Holly Else hears

Move over knowledge transfer, there is a new kid on the block in the arts and humanities when it comes to working with industry and it is called "creative exchange".

Creative exchange focuses on the new knowledge that is generated when academics work with industry. It offers a different take on academia/industry links: knowledge transfer implies that information from academia is given to industry, whereas a knowledge exchange suggests that academics and industry swap information with each other.

Simon Bowen, a research associate at Newcastle University, explained that creative exchange may more accurately describe what is going on in these interactions. The aim is to get people to think about "alternative possibilities" that can lead to new practices and ways of working, he said.

"[It is] how you bring collaborators into a project and how the ideas that you develop and express in what is made draw on the experiences of the industry and draw on the learning and knowledge of the academic," he added.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council has invested £4 million to establish The Creative Exchange, an initiative that explores the potential of the "digital public space". The knowledge exchange hub, led by Lancaster University in partnership with the University of Newcastle and the Royal College of Art, is looking at new ways of how academics can work with businesses and the public in the fast-growing creative economy.

An example of a project that has come out of the Creative Exchange is a system developed to produce bespoke souvenirs that represent how a visitor feels about a work of art. The idea came about as a result of a collaboration between an arts organisation with a pop-up exhibition space, a digital designer with an interest in three-dimensional printing and an academic with experience in performance production.

So what should academics be doing if they want to get involved with creative exchanges of their own? Naomi Jacobs, a senior research associate at The Creative Exchange at Lancaster University, explained that academics should make time to be reflective about any projects.

Scholars should try to communicate the value of working with academia to time-pressured small businesses, and explain that although the benefit might not be immediately obvious, there will be one, she said. …

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