Studio life and newness: Distributed creativity and evaluation regimes in the cultural and creative economy


This research project concerns production processes in two areas of the creative economy, namely the visual arts and architecture. The study focuses on the socio-technical configuration of creative processes in artists’ studios and architectural offices, in other words the interaction between human and non-human actors in the drafting, design, and production of new products. In addition, it explores the varied valuation regimes and evaluation practices with which the value of a product is defined and, in particular whether and how other valuation regimes are negotiated in the various stages of the production process. Hence, the project contributes to the definition of the role of certain cultural configurations (understood here in the broadest sense as a structure of socio-technical actor networks and valuation regimes) in the emergence of the new.

Based on an ethnographic study of artists’ studios and architectural offices (spatially limited cultural configurations), the project also aims to trace the influence of the urban milieu (spatially fluid cultural configurations) on the emergence of new products, thereby contributing to a better understanding of the urban embedding/disembedding of cultural production.

The methodological approach used is based on three basic decisions: First, art and architecture were selected because they involve two very different configurations in the creative economy. Second, each sectoral study is based on a small number of case studies which will enable the examination of the production of products, the role of newness as an valuation regime, and the influence of the urban milieu primarily through the interplay of a total of six to eight artists’ studios and architectural offices. Third, a city was selected for each sector: Berlin for art and Santiago de Chile for architecture. Both cities are characterized by the presence of a relatively large and young scene, which relishes experimentation and is artistically and creatively active. Experts and important actors are being interviewed on site to facilitate the reconstruction of the history, geography, and dynamics of these industries.

The data collection has already started in both locations. The preliminary systematization of the findings for both sectors is expected to be completed in 2011.