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January 3, 2009 by Leanne McRae

Creative industries is a new way of thinking about the connections between economics, culture and society. Currently this conceptual framework is found in government policies and university curriculum. It champions a new consciousness embedded within and critical of, the economic shifts of late capitalism. These include the rise in part time, casual and contract labour, the decline in traditional production and manufacturing industries and the rise of an information and knowledge-based economy.

At the crux of these changes is new attention and value being attached to creativity. Richard Florida, writer of The Rise of the Creative Class, defines creativity as "involve[ing] the ability to synthesize". Charles Landry extends this framework in The Creative City by suggesting that "genuine creativity involves thinking a problem afresh and from first principles; experimentation; originality; the capacity to rewrite rules; to be unconventional; to discover common threads amid the seemingly disparate; to look at situations laterally and with flexibility." Both writers identify the need for fluid and flexible ways of thinking that will generate exciting solutions to the old problems of economic growth and social well-being.

There has been anxiety when defining and clarifying the creative trope. Unfortunately, this had lead — on many occasions — to the reification of standard, conventional and empowered understandings of creative people and ideas. This is best synthesized in Richard Florida's work — which while having a large influence on the study of the creative industries — fails to effectively widen the understanding of creativity.

In the preface to the paperback edition of The Rise of the Creative Class he ranks the seven most and least creative cities in the United States. At the top of his seven least creative cities is Detroit. He does not make clear the criteria by which he is measuring innovation. Those of us, who are a little more 'creative' in our thinking than Richard Florida, would remember that Detroit is the home of Motown records and the Funk Brothers. This label was responsible for some of the greatest soul, funk and R&B artists of all time including Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder. Detroit is also the home of Wilson Picket, Aretha Franklin and Madonna. Other great names in music include George Clinton, Alice Cooper, and Iggy Pop. Techno pioneers Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson also hail from Detroit. As do Kid Rock and The White Stripes. This rich creative history has continued to produce cutting edge performers and artists including Eminem.

It is these forgotten and ignored creative individuals and sites that this hub will be most interested in. While we recognise that great art, painting, writing and expression can transform lives we do not limit this 'greatness' to art galleries, opera houses and studios. It is also found on the street, in backyards, and on computers and MP3 players.

To expand our understanding of creativity this hub will be a place where artists, theorists, performers, creators and contemplators can come together to discuss, argue and exchange ideas.

If you have any works of digital art, writing, design, comic strip, fashion, performance, music, dance, or interactivity that engages with the innovative themes of this creative industrial matrix, or you simply wish to display your abilities, send me an email and we will find you a digital vista for others to gaze upon your brilliance. Similarly, if you are an organization or individual that has a creative or popular culture event, gig or workshop coming up let us know the details and we will place it on the site.

If you are an organization or company, government department or industry interest looking for creative personnel, performances or artworks, send us the details of who you are and what you are seeking and we will upload your requirements and contacts.

Our aim will be to generate a community of critical thinkers and creative personnel who can assess, analyse and activate the creative industries. Through this process I hope we can mobilise a creative industries framework of questioning while expanding and deepening the opportunities for creative individuals.

I look forward to a vibrant and vocal Creative Industrial Matrix Hub.

Best wishes,

Leanne McRae

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