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The University of Southampton

GEOG3063 The Creative Economy

Module Overview

GEOG3063 is a module designed for students who are interested in the creative economy and how it is being shaped by geographical processes related to globalisation, digitisation and flexibilisation. The module will cover topics that are central to understanding the creative economy and key themes in geography. For example, lectures and seminars will examine: • The challenging labour conditions within creative industries such as music and fashion • The ways in which producers create and communicate value for their goods, services and experiences in the competitive global marketplace • The changing nature of consumption and growing importance of curators such as bloggers to the creative economy • How and why these activities are contained within but also shaped by specific physical, temporary and virtual spaces • The formation and relationship between global, local and trans-local cultural scenes such as Shoreditch in London • Why cities are trying to attract creative firms and entrepreneurs and how individuals decide where to live and work in an era of unprecedented mobility • To facilitate deep learning the module will combine conceptual engagements with theory and real world examples drawn from case studies in the UK and other international contexts including Canada and Sweden. Students will also be encouraged to reflect on their own experiences and to explore these topics first hand during the field trip to London and independent research for their research papers. The purpose of this module is to provide students with a critical, theoretical and applied understanding of the processes and spatial dynamics that are shaping the creative economy. It explores a range of interrelated economic, social, political and cultural issues from a geographical perspective.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify and evaluate the relationships between different actors in the creative economy including producers, consumers and curators
  • Critically evaluate literature about the creative economy
  • Develop and demonstrate the ability to conduct observational research in the field
  • Use interpersonal skills in group activities
  • Produce fluent and comprehensive written reports on complex topics
  • Appreciate the role of place and space in understanding the creative economy
  • Reinforce and enhance academic attributes relating to critical thinking and the application of knowledge
  • Communicate complex ideas with confidence
  • Reflect on their own learning
  • Demonstrate a number of transferrable skills such as the ability to work independently and in a team; verbal communicative skills; writing skills for non-academic readers
  • Identify and evaluate potential career paths within the creative economy
  • Identify and evaluate the challenges and opportunities that actors in the creative economy face as a result of processes related to globalisation, digitisation and flexibilisation
  • Identify the range of physical, temporary and virtual spaces where activities in the creative economy occur and evaluate how the specific dynamics of these spaces shape these activities
  • Understand the significance and interplay between different geographical scales (micro\individual; meso\firms; macro/cities)
  • Critically analyse theory and empirical examples by reflecting on personal locational choices and experiences as students, workers, consumers and curators
  • Appreciate the important role that specificity plays in analyzing and understanding aspects of the creative economy
  • Appreciate the ways in which geographical theory can help us understand the creative economy and how studying the creative economy can help us test, nuance and develop theory
  • Undertake high quality evidence-based analysis of topics relating to the creative economy and demonstrate ability to synthesize, discuss and present relevant empirical and theoretical material
  • Marshal and retrieve data from library and internet resources


Outline Syllabus Week 1: Interactive lecture (2 hours): Introduction to the module and key concepts Seminar (1 hour): ‘VARK’ survey and discussion of learning styles and strategies Week 2: Interactive lecture (2 hours): From the Creative Class to the Creative City - Unpacking the Creative Economy at the Macro-Scale Seminar (1 hour): Film Review - ‘Creative Class’ (Richard Florida) vs. ‘Creativity and the Capitalist City’ (Jamie Peck) Week 3: Interactive lecture (2 hours): Working in the Creative Economy I: Precarious Labour Seminar (1 hour): Job Reflection I: Critically analyse one of your jobs Week 4: Interactive lecture (2 hours): Working in the Creative Economy II: Aesthetic Labour & Rewarding, Strategic and Sustainable Labour Seminar (1 hour): Film Review - A Documentary on the ‘Digital Revolution and Creative Industries’ Week 5: Interactive lecture (2 hours): Creating and Communicating Value(s) in the Creative Economy 1: How do Producers Stand Out in the Crowd? Seminar (1 hour): Consumption Reflection I: What do you value? Week 6: Interactive lecture (2 hours): Creating and Communicating Value(s) in the Creative Economy II: Intermediation and Curation Seminar (1 hour): Consumption Reflection II: Are you a curator? Week 7: Interactive lecture (2 hours): Locating the Creative Economy I: The global, local and translocal nature of creative scenes and clusters ** Optional Field trip - London (Shoreditch Cluster) ** Seminar (1 hour): Field Observation: Where are London’s Hipsters? Week 8: Interactive lecture (2 hours): Locating the Creative Economy II: Locational Choice and the ‘War for Talent’ Seminar (1 hour): Locational Choice Reflection: Why Southampton? Week 9: Researching the Creative Economy: Guest lectures from others working on a range of projects in China, Africa, Europe and Australia Week 10: Interactive lecture (2 hours): Review summarising key concepts and theoretical debates discussed throughout the module, Q&A. ** Assignment 1: Mid-Term Research Paper ** ** Assignment 2: Weekly Seminar Participation ** ** Assignment 3: Final Presentation **

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

• 10 X 2 hour lectures • 8 X 1 hour seminars • 1 X 9 hour optional London field trip • 10 X 1 hour individual drop-in sessions for assignment advice and feedback • 1 x 1 responding to email queries

Independent Study99
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Bathelt, H., et al. (2004). Clusters and knowledge: local buzz, global pipelines and the process of knowledge creation. Progress in Human Geography. ,28 , pp. 31-56.

Crewe, L. (2013). When virtual and material worlds collide: democratic fashion in the digital age. Environment and Planning A. ,45 , pp. 760-780.

Jarvis, H. and A. C. Pratt (2006). Bringing it all back home: The extensification and [] overflowing'of work:: The case of San Francisco's new media households. Geoforum. ,37 , pp. 331-339.

Boren, T. and C. Young (2012). Getting Creative with the 'Creative City' - Towards New Perspectives on Creativity in Urban Policy. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. .

Shultz, B. (2013). The Work Behind the Scenes: The New Intermediaries of the Indie Crafts Business. Regional Studies(ahead-of-print). , pp. pg. 1-10.

Hracs, B. J. (2013). Cultural Intermediaries in the Digital Age: The Case of Independent Musicians and Managers in Toronto.. Regional Studies(ahead-of-print):. , pp. pg. 1-15.

Watson, A. (2012). Sociological Perspectives on the Economic Geography of Projects: The Case of Project-Based Working in the Creative Industries. Geography Compass. ,6 , pp. 617-631.

Entwistle, J. and E. Wissinger (2006). Keeping up appearances: aesthetic labour in the fashion modelling industries of London and New York. The Sociological Review. ,54 , pp. 774-794.

Hracs, B. J. (2012). A Creative Industry in Transition: The Rise of Digitally Driven Independent Music Production. Growth and Change. ,43 , pp. 442-461.

Hracs, B. J., et al. (2013). Standing out in the crowd: the rise of exclusivity-based strategies to compete in the contemporary marketplace for music and fashion. Environment and Planning A. ,45 , pp. 1144-1161.

Hracs, B. J., et al. (2011). A tale of two scenes: civic capital and retaining musical talent in Toronto and Halifax.. The Canadian Geographer. ,55 , pp. 365-382.

Florida, R. (2014). The Creative Class and Economic Development. Economic Development Quarterly. ,28 , pp. 196-205.

Zukin, S. and J. S. Maguire (2004). Consumers and consumption. Annual review of sociology. , pp. 173-197.

Ross, A. (2008). The New Geography of Work Power to the Precarious?. Theory, Culture & Society. ,25 , pp. 31-49.

Hracs, B. J. and D. Leslie (2014). Aesthetic labour in creative industries: the case of independent musicians in Toronto, Canada.. Area. ,46 , pp. 66-73.


Assessment Strategy

In order to pass the module, students must obtain an overall mark of 40% or above. No particular elements must be passed in addition to this requirement.


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  (2000 words) 40%
Presentation 40%
Seminar Participation 20%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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