The architecture of cultural enterprise: a study of design reflexivity in action

Greenman, Andrew (2008) The architecture of cultural enterprise: a study of design reflexivity in action. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The cultural industries have an increasingly important role to play in policies addressing the UK's present and future economic competitiveness. Researching how entrepreneurial activity leads to the creation and maintenance of cultural enterprises is central to understanding the value added by such organisations. The present research contributes to our understanding of these important issues. An ethnographic approach, which is defined here as a set of methods for conducting field work (e.g., participant observation and semi-structured interviews) and a methodology for textual representations of social activity, is adopted to explore design thinking in action.

The study aims at developing existing analyses which claim that contemporary production is becoming more design intensive and therefore reliant upon individuals and organisations supplying knowledge about design. This heightened awareness about the value of design for business is defined as design reflexivity, although the term is not used to indicate an epochal shift in capitalist production. Instead, design thinking is represented as central to the modem institutionalisation of knowledge. By adopting the concept of identity work, the research addresses the importance of the role of the cultural entrepreneur to the contemporary organisation of work.

Empirical material, comprised of interview transcripts and field notes, is examined to understand how research participants engaged with the role of owner-founder of a design business. By 'limiting' the research to individuals located in an inner-city area and the design sub-field of the cultural industries, the research presents localised interpretations of the typical process of cultural enterprise. The metaphor of architecture is adopted to describe the act of arranging the voices of research participants through the application of an analytical model comprised of three phases. This phased analysis is not over-privileged above the participants' accounts, but to organise empirical materials which show how research participants accounted for their engagement with contemporary role of the designer (articulation); the limitations and opportunities of place and time (emplacement) and the accumulation of economic wealth comprised of tangible and intangible property (entanglement). The research connects the research participant's entrepreneurial organisation of design reflexivity together with analyses of the centrality of reflexive knowledge to study one area of knowledge intensive contemporary production.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Starkey, K.P.
Watson, T.J.
Keywords: Cultural industries, design, economic aspects, England, Nottingham, entrepreneurship
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 13993
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2014 12:48
Last Modified: 25 Dec 2017 22:10

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