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System or Ecology: A Critique of the Creative Industries

System or Ecology: A Critique of the Creative Industries

McLaughlin, James ORCID: 0000-0002-2146-6884 (2018) System or Ecology: A Critique of the Creative Industries. In: Performer Training Working Group, Theatre and Performance Research Association, 05 September 2018 - 07 September 2018, University of Aberystwyth. (Unpublished)

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Theatre and Performance is discussed in the media, public policy, and training institutions as being one of ‘the creative industries’. Advocates for the value of these art forms often make the case in terms of their financial contribution to the economy. Training for these art forms is often framed in terms of how an individual is funnelled into employment within these industries through a ‘pipeline’ that takes a child in one end and deposits them as a functioning part of the existing system. As trainers and educators we have a responsibility within a paradigm of student-centred learning to ensure that those undergoing training can flourish within the environment that they will be entering.

I argue that conceptualising performance as a ‘creative industry’ is a misguided enterprise, based on an overly systematised perspective of the economy itself. Capitalism has been an incredibly effective system, absorbing many of the challenges to its dominance and using them to perpetuate its own operation. The invisible hand of the free market imagined by John Smith reallocates resources primarily for its own survival. Drawing on the economic philosophers John Maynard Keynes and Slavoj Žižek, I will demonstrate that training students for the ‘creative industries’ is a disservice to the student, the ecology of theatre and performance, and ultimately society and the economy.

I assert that we are duty-bound not to funnel students into the creative industries, but to deconstruct the very concept of such a system through critical thinking, anarchic creativity, and innovative working processes. On the 50th anniversary of the abolition of theatre censorship in Britain, I will make a case for creative incubators that train students to be agents of change in the ecology of performance rather than fodder for the insatiable and self-serving appetites of global capitalism.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Creative Industries, Arts and Culture, Public Policy, Theatre, Drama, Performance, Human Ecology Economics
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS)
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > Literature & Drama Research Group
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2019 15:28

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