Cultural industries and cultural policy: a critique of recent discourses in regional economic development
The cultural industries (sometimes referred to as 'creative industries') are an increasingly common component of urban and regional economic development discourse, connected to an acknowledgement of the contribution of creativity to economic performance and, more generally, their power to transform images and identities for places. Such discourses have become more pervasive with a set of key books - most notably Charles Landry's The Creative City (2001), and Florida's The Rise of the Creative Class (2002) - that have become popular among both economic development planners and cultural policy makers. This paper seeks to intervene in the discourses established by these texts, and challenge assumptions underpinning their increasing popularity among cultural planners in Australia. Included is a critique of the ways in which academic knowledge has been translated into policy discourse at the local government level; and a discussion of the extent to which such knowledges are embedded in a wider process of neoliberalising cultural policy agendas. The discourses established by these texts, we will argue, misconstrue role of creativity and the cultural industries in localities and underemphasise the extent to which regional development is embedded in a series of relational networks of power.