By Elisa Salvador, Trilce Navarrete and Andrej Srakar

We end this academic year of posts with description of a new call for book chapters, related to the prevailing topic of the moment, the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences for creative industries. The Routledge monograph with accepted contributions will be published in 2021 and edited by three editors of this blog, Elisa Salvador, Trilce Navarrete and Andrej Srakar.

Digital technologies contributed to the restructuring, revalorisation, and repositioning in the market of the Cultural and Creative industries (CCIs). The seminal definition of CCIs was provided by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Creative Task Force in the UK as “those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property”.

Starting from this definition and the first initiatives carried out in the UK, a process has been activated – and accelerated in the last years – so that many studies have regularly underlined the unique contribution to economic growth and organizational design brought by the CCIs.

The scientific literature originally focused on the role of the creative class and the management of talents (Scott, 2006; Florida, 2002; Caves, 2000), shifting interest towards the establishment of creative cities (UNCTAD, 2010; Crossick, 2006) and later focusing on the strategic and innovative dimensions of CCIs and their business models (Benghozi, Lyubareva, 2014; Parkman et al., 2012; Throsby, 2001). New strategies and value chain structures appeared in most of the CCIs. The music, cinema and publishing industries are some representative examples (Moreau, 2013; Benghozi, Salvador, 2015, 2016; Borowiecki, Navarrete, 2018; Salvador et al., 2019).

Nonetheless, we have arrived at a significant shifting point in March 2020 and lasting several months, characterised by a complete disruption of the functioning of all the CCIs and the world at large. As the digital revolution disrupted the traditional model of CCIs on the one hand and valorised their contribution to economic growth on the other hand, so the recent COVID-19 pandemic can reasonably be expected to fundamentally change the CCIs’ strategies with unexpected and even deeper consequences. An unprecedented consumption of culture online from home, together with a notable increase in digital literacy, is unmistakable developments. In this context, the culture and art sectors are revealing to be a strong resource during this pandemic.

At the same time, COVID-19 is severely impacting cultural heritage sites and practices: since the beginning of March 2020 we are encountering to the closure of heritage sites, museums, theatres, cinemas and several other cultural institutions across the world. CCIs and artists are experiencing funding difficulties and drastic loss of income for an uncertain period. Short and long term effects are expected also for the conservation of cultural places and the livelihoods of local events like cultural festivals. In particular, since the beginning of lockdown at worldwide level, we are witnesses of the rising of many initiatives for culture valorisation.

Culture and art do not stop during COVID-19 emergency, and the importance of culture is even strengthened. People around the world are turning to culture for feeling less alone and for overcoming social isolation. Several museums and cultural institutions responded by providing “smart” online solutions to the unexpected and sudden disconnection from consumers. Opera Houses are providing digital initiatives like “opera on the sofa” by the Opera House Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy, or online programming of their events like “stay at home, at home with La Fenice” Opera House in Venice, Italy. Cinemas are turning to streaming solutions or rediscovering old formats such as the drive-in.

Considering the evolving and unstable context due to the pandemic in progress, our book seeks to investigate actual strategies of CCIs’ actors, government bodies and cultural institutions facing the COVID-19 crisis and the consequences of these emergency strategies for the future of the CCIs. Creative solutions adopted facing the lockdown could reveal beneficial also after the crisis and could originate new forms of cultural consumption or innovative market strategies. This book aims at collecting original contributions and identifying best practices that could benefit cultural stakeholders adopting and implementing effective strategies in the next future.

We invite qualitative and quantitative papers and are particularly interested in contributions at international level, with a focus on European countries, including cross-country comparisons. We welcome contributions that reflect an experimental nature, based on primary and secondary data collected during the national lockdown periods.

Exemplary research questions and topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Immediate response: How have cultural organizations reacted to and coped with the lockdown? How were (human) resources managed, particularly to cope with the lockdown? Have institutions considered the efficacy and long-term applicability of these solutions?
  • Long-term strategy: What are the expected long-term effects of COVID-19 on the cultural and creative industries? How can the cultural sector prepare for further unexpected effects? What solutions are being considered for cultural heritage practices and events highly dependent on tourism flows, like cultural Festivals?
  • Cultural workers: How are independent cultural workers coping? Particularly for sectors that have taken longer to resume full activity, such as the performing arts and clubs, how have creative workers responded to the changes in the market? Are cultural workers shifting jobs or are there new services emerging, for instance online? What strategies could serve to empower artists and creators?
  • National strategies: What changes can be observed in the cultural sector as direct response of the health crisis at country level? What policy measures and financing aids have been drafted and what can be expected to be more appropriate for facing the hard consequences of the pandemic in the next future? How are country responses a reflection of economic values?
  • Sustainability: What solutions to the extreme income gap have been devised to maintain and even develop new cultural programming? What community actions have emerged to support the cultural sector, and how has the cultural sector responded to community needs? What tools could best support a healthy cultural sector after the COVID-19 crisis?

The book Creative Industries and the COVID-19 Pandemic will be published as part of the Routledge Research in the Creative and Cultural Industries series. Extended abstracts summarizing potential chapter contributions should be emailed by the end of October 2020 to Corresponding Editor, Prof. Elisa Salvador, ESSCA School of Management, France,

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