Do you want to know more about DISCE and what is around it? This section gathers together publications and documents to go deeper in our world and work!


The ten DISCE Regional Case studies present key facts about each location, with a particular attention to how the ‘creative economy’ has previously been understood, based on a review of existing academic literature, publicly available data, and policy documents.

Please click on the images to read them.




The COVID-19 pandemic is raising fundamental questions about how economies and societies are organised in addition to the limits and possibilities of government action. For ‘creative economies’, these questions are urgent. A crisis such as COVID-19 not only creates new conditions; it also reveals what was already the case, spotlighting structural inequalities and injustices as well as unfulfilled potentials – the precariousness of creative work, the limited inclusivity and sustainability of creative economies, the uncertain effects of digital transformations and the limited scope of existing creative economy policy. As with many aspects of our socio-economic systems, the pandemic has made them more visible.i Alternatively, the shock provided by COVID-19 may also make it possible to identify and take advantage of new opportunities to move towards a more sustainable future in creative economies. Crises have often been powerful push factors for accelerated socio-economic development because they can force individuals, organisations and communities to find alternative solutions when existing ones become rapidly obsolete.

These challenges and opportunities provide different and even tense narratives for the post-COVID-19 situation in creative economies. In this initial DISCE Policy Brief, we wish to address problems that already needed urgent action but attempt to do so in new ways. DISCE is a multi-disciplinary research project, which tackles the inherent tensions of creative economies by questioning the taken-for-granted assumptions of creative economies. This Policy Brief is targeted at those involved in policy design and planning to provide an overview and new insights on creative economies. Given the current stage of the DISCE research – with the majority of our data collection still to come – we will not yet make any detailed recommendations for policy makers. Instead, we will raise several questions which we hope can contribute to setting a new policy agenda.

Schermata 2020-07-15 alle 11.53.06




What exactly are case studies? What distinguishes case studies from other approaches to research? What are their specific capacities for generating new knowledge? And how exactly will we be making use of a case study approach as a central part of Developing Inclusive and Sustainable Creative Economies?

At the centre of the research design for Developing Inclusive and Sustainable Creative Economies (DISCE) are ten case studies. Drawing on the methodological literature (Stake 2005; Easton 2010; Gillham 2010; Swanborn 2010; Remenyi 2012; Yin 2014; Thomas 2016), this report begins with a discussion of the distinctive features of case study research, and why case studies are particularly appropriate and useful for DISCE. It then gives more detail of the specific approach to case study research the DISCE team has developed, and explains how we will generate and gather our data. The report concludes with an overview of the sequencing and a provisional timetable for the ten case studies, and looks ahead to the processes of data analysis and reporting.



In the context of WP6 Task 4.1 of the Grant Agreement, Culture and Media Agency Europe aisbl and Trans Europe Halles co-developed the DISCE Stakeholders Consultative Survey, reaching out firstly to the voices of relevant and highly representative organisations active in the cultural and creative sector at a European, national and local level. The Survey was not developed for scientific research purposes but to stimulate stakeholder engagement and discussions, especially from a policy engagement perspective.

The main objectives of the Survey are to :
– Engage stakeholders, and make them aware of the DISCE project and its activities;
– Provide stakeholders with the possibility to comment/have a say on DISCE’s research work.

The Survey was launched in alignment with the first national workshop on December 10th. During Part A of the dissemination, and before December 31st, the Survey was sent to 863 email addresses and/or through internal Google and Facebook groups. The main source for contacts is the DISCE External Common Dissemination Database, and in particular the categories CCIs Stakeholders EU and CCIs Stakeholders National/Local. Organisations/individuals were contacted by email, while others were also reached through internal Google and Facebook groups. This was followed by Part B whose target audience was participants to the DISCE P2P Recovery Programme (a parallel activity within the stakeholder engagement, communication and dissemination Work Package). The focus of Part B was on the Mediterranean countries, namely Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Spain. The Survey was filled in by 14 representatives of 12 organisations out of 23 invited.

DISCE-Report-18.12.19-D3.1, D4.1, D5.1-1_page-0001
Edited DISCE-Report-01



This document’s central objective is to look critically at the current data and knowledge in relation to the creative and cultural workforce (CCW). While there is a wealth of data in this field which cover pan-European, national and regional approaches, the objective of this report is not to simply replicate existing available data but to critically discuss the approaches (and resulting data) that are currently being collected (at various levels from European to regional) and assess the knowledge they provide for the DISCE project. Throughout this report we discuss the various implications that the body of existing research has for DISCE and WP3 in relation to its objectives and planned methodological tools.

Overall, the report addresses some key questions about who gets to ‘be creative’. We explore who is enabled to participate and who is classified as contributing to the creative economy through their labour. The report brings together a wide range of research on the CCW to document the diverse and at times, contradictory knowledge available on those who are working within and contributing towards the creative economies across Europe. This is an ongoing process, and as part of the report’s outputs we propose a survey that aims to bring together and map formal and informal organisations that have an interest in creative and cultural work across Europe to further systematise our current knowledge of the sector and the issues that creative and cultural workers face.




The document’s central objective is to look critically at the current data and knowledge in relation to the provision of creative subjects at Higher Education (HE) level1. While there is a wealth of data which cover pan-European, national and regional approaches, the objective of this report is not to simply replicate existing available data but to critically discuss the approaches (and resulting data) that are currently being collected (at various levels from European to regional) and assess the knowledge they provide for the DISCE project. Throughout this report we discuss the various implications that the body of existing research has for DISCE and WP3 in relation to its objectives and planned methodological tools.

The report reflects on the important connections between HE and creative economies across Europe. The importance of this relation has been acknowledged both in academic research and at the European policy level. We acknowledge that creative economies connect with HE at a range of levels and across many subjects. However, in the report we focus specifically on creative subjects  taught at HE level. We examine the current state of knowledge on creative students and graduates across Europe, drawing on European and national level data linked to student access, experience and employability beyond graduation. This section also looks at international examples to compare best practice in terms of student monitoring both prior, during and beyond graduation. We consider how these subjects are provided and valued, what skills are reported as being promoted and developed along with a consideration of how student experience creative HE and how students contribute to their local societies and wider economies both through and as a result of their HE in creative subjects.




The report’s central objective is to critically address key concepts underpinning prevailing accounts of what economic success – or ‘growth’ – consists of for the creative economy. The literature review analyses three broad discourses and their interconnections: human development, cultural development and care. In the first instance, these ensure that the DISCE project is firmly contextualised within the landscape of existing research. Thereafter, the review seeks to make a distinctive critical intervention with regards to the concepts that matter when it comes to understanding and developing ‘inclusive and sustainable creative economies’.

DISCE is a ‘normative’ project, in two senses: it takes norms (and processes of valuing) as one of its objects of study, and it is not ‘neutral’ with regards to its key terms. Whilst the analytical spotlight of this research project is explicitly directed towards Europe, our intention is for the conceptual work of this literature review to prove useful to creative economies in many locations. Over the next phases of DISCE research we will be reflecting on, and applying the ideas discussed here to European case-studies. This will involve, amongst other considerations, exploring what is specific to these contexts, at micro, meso and macro (including ‘European’) scales.

Adopting an ecological perspective and a caring methodology constitutes an ambitious agenda. With a normative commitment to ‘managing culture with care’ we need to develop an approach to indexing, ‘pointing towards’, that is able to measure what really matters; furthermore, we must do so as fully, democratically and usefully as possible. This is the task that we have set ourselves, and this literature review provides the context for the next phase of research as we seek to formulate a Cultural Development Index.




Among the goals of the Developing Inclusive & Sustainable Creative Economies (DISCE) project, is the need to collect quantitative data and improve the state of the art of the creative economy and creative and cultural industries (CCIs) from a statistical viewpoint. As highlighted in the “Measuring creative economies: existing models & the DISCE approach” (see the previous report), there is no clear consensus about the definition of creative economy itself. However, this report aims to investigate the most important variables and indices to define CCIs.

In the first part of the project, WP2 is devoted in gathering data at different levels of analysis: country, regional (NUTS2), province (NUTS3) and city. This strategy allows both academics and policy makers to have a consistent overview of all the available data related to several aspects of CCIs, such as: cultural venues and facilities, cultural participation and attractiveness, creative and knowledge-based jobs, and so forth. Moreover, this phase covers not only different characteristics of CCIs, but also information about their components (i.e. supply, culture consumption, tourism, education) and socio-economic and institutional variables. These latter have been included to provide a detailed description of the CCIs contexts (UNESCO, 2019).

In the second part, following the Handbook on constructing composite index manual (OECD, 2008), several composite indexes on creative and cultural industries (CCC Index) will be developed through an in depth analysis of variables identified during the first phase. The representativeness of these indicators will be then tested across the project, and in particular after the analyses of single case studies.

The third part is related to firm-level data. After the identification of the NACE2 codes of CCIs, financial and structural information on firms belonging to these sectors are extracted from the Amadeus – Bureau van Dijk databases. These data include also the geographical localisation of firms, i.e. the latitude and longitude. Therefore, it is possible to represent the geographical distribution of these firms through maps and network-analysis, and better investigate the agglomeration forces which push these companies to settle in the same areas or regions. Adding the geographical aspects will help to draw a complete picture of the CCIs from different perspectives.




The approach of DISCE is to combine both conceptual and empirical inquiry. As part of the overall research design, WP2 has a specific role in helping to identify and analyse the range of data that is currently used in processes of modelling and analysing the ‘creative economy’ across Europe. However, part of the specific approach of DISCE is to rethink what we might mean by ‘inclusivity’ and ‘sustainability’, and to ask: what are ‘creative economies’. In this context, the role of WP2 is not only to analyse existing data within the frameworks of existing models of the creative economy, but to work closely with other work packages to identify and analyse new sources of data on the basis of DISCE’s reconceptualization of inclusive and sustainable creative economies. Working closely with the other DISCE work packages, WP2 will thereby work to develop new approaches to modelling, mapping and measuring creative economies across the EU.

In the international debate on CCIs, the WP2 faces the fragmentation of the definitions in the approaches used as well as the different taxonomies that each of them carries out. The aim of this initial report is to briefly summarise a series of influential models of the creative economy that have provided the basis for previous processes of measurement and mapping – establishing the context within which DISCE is developing its own approach to modelling, mapping and measuring the creative economy, beyond these existing frameworks. The report concludes by indicating the approach that the DISCE research project will take, beyond the existing models of the creative economy, and what implications this will have for the collection of data in the future.