The emerging fields of Intellectual Property (IP) in Creative Education and Creative Entrepreneurship

Roxanne Peters (IP Lecturer at UAL)

I participated in two conferences in September, each sharing themes of entrepreneurship and education but from different academic positions. Both made me reflect on my own practice and recognise that IP education for the creative industries is an emerging field. Similarly, creative entrepreneurship is only now starting to be considered as part of academic scholarship and practice.

The theme of this year’s European Business History Association Conference, hosted by Erasmus University, Rotterdam, was The Business History of Creativity. Aimed at professionals interested in business and economic history, past to present day topics included how creativity can be defined and the concept of the creative industries as well as considering creativity as the basis for innovation and firm competitiveness.

A new addition to the conference programme was a strand dedicated to the business of fashion. As many of the UAL students and graduates I support are working in interdisciplinary collaborative practice, it was a great opportunity to represent UAL and its students using case studies to discuss  the intersection of IP education, fashion heritage and digital technologies for innovation.

 I was drawn to sessions focusing on the manufacture, mediation and consumption of fashion, business transformation and entrepreneurship, branding for success as well as a session from Crafts Council Nederland who presented their Manifesto for a European Strategy for Craft focusing on the values and ecosystem of craft and design. My main takeaways were that:

  • the business and economics of fashion is only recently starting to be acknowledged in this academic space.
  • there were very few sessions dedicated to IP.
  • there was an appetite for understanding more about IP within creative education and the methodologies that UAL uses.

The  14th European Conference on  Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ECIE), University of Peloponnese, Greece aims to bring together academics, practitioners and educators working in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurial research, education and practice. The programme ranged from focused areas on internationalism, entrepreneurship and innovation to social and inclusive entrepreneurship. Sessions of interest included ‘An Exploratory Study of the Role and Contribution of University Knowledge Transfer Offices in Knowledge Transfer and Value Creation’, ‘Teaching Digital Innovation: Collaboration between Students and Entrepreneurs’ and ‘Ingepreneurship- A Trust Framework for Facilitating Urban Economic Growth a Socioeconomic Advancement’.

Creative Entrepreneurship was largely under-represented at the conference. The only paper in this context was presented by myself and Chitra Buckley, Course Director , MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Our paper  ‘Innovation and Intellectual Property: Creating Value and Cultural Currency in Fashion Products’, focused on the creation of value and cultural currency in innovative and artisanal fashion products through the lens of intellectual property; looking at the importance of embedding IP thinking into an enterprise’s business strategy.

Our initial findings from the case studies we presented on collaboration between designers and artisan communities are rich and provide a good basis to shape and look at how to focus on specific areas: e.g. corporate social responsibility, IP and ethics e.g. cultural appropriation, business strategy, innovation theory

Both conferences revealed that IP education and thinking about its important role for innovation within the creative industries and for creative entrepreneurship is in its infancy. In this new space, it is exciting for me to consider potential research and thought within the IP community as well as how to contextualise it in relation to areas such as ethics and business strategy.

As next steps, I’m keen to develop evidence-based studies in an IP context with a focus on the following:

  • collaborations between designers and artisan communities
  • examples of complex projects which have involved different IP stakeholders and agreements
  • examples of projects blending different disciplines such as art and science

Please contact me at r.peters@arts.ac.uk if you are interested in any of the above. I’d love to hear from you and to know what existing or complimentary research others are doing.

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