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




This literature review has been written to inform the Developing Inclusive and Sustainable Creative Economies (DISCE) research project, and, in particular, the objective of ‘rethinking inclusive and sustainable growth’ (Work Package 5). 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.




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.

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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.