Russell Prince (Massey University) has conducted research and written about the rapid global spread of policies that claimed to act or through some aspect of human creativity. He is particularly interested in the technical dimensions of these policies, and the role these have had in making ‘creativity’ policy mobile.

Russell’s work has two particular strands. Read more about them below and also visit his website here.

1. Creative Industries Policy Mobility

The mania for urban and national policies that cite creativity as a key reservoir of human potential and so a capacity that must be encouraged and developed increased dramatically across the globe through the first decade of the 2000s. Whether it was the ‘creative industries’, the ‘creative class’, the ‘creative city’ or any other policy construct being adopted and adapted, places as diverse as Bristol, New York, Auckland, Beijing and Bogotá jumped on the creativity bandwagon. While critics were often dismissive of this as little more than neoliberalism with a friendlier face, urban administrations were seemingly easily and willingly seduced by the creativity rhetoric.

This research has been concerned to consider an aspect of this policy trend that appears innocuous, and often goes unremarked upon: its technical dimension. The policies that claim to act on or through creativity almost always rest on measurements of some kind, which effectively try to indicate the amount of ‘creativity’ present in a particular place. The research considers how this has driven and shaped the mobility of these policies, while also exploring the way they contribute to the diverse ways that these policy constructs have been assembled in different places out of the often globally mobile resources available to them.

Read more here:

Prince, R. (2014) Topologies of mobile policy: Neoliberalism and creativity. In Roche, M. M., Mansvelt, J. R., Prince, R., and Gallagher, A. (eds.) Engaging Geographies: Landscapes, lifecourses and mobilities. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press, forthcoming. [pdf]

Prince, R., (2012) Metaphors of policy mobility: Fluid spaces of ‘creativity’ policy. Geografiska Annaler Series B, Human Geography 94 (4): 317-331. [pdf]

Prince, R., (2010) Policy transfer as policy assemblage: Making policy for the creative industries in New Zealand. Environment and Planning A 42 (1): 169-186. [pdf]

Prince, R., (2010) Globalising the creative industries concept: Travelling policy and transnational policy communities. Journal of Law, Arts Management and Society 40 (2): 119-139. [pdf]

2. Cultural Consultants and the Work of Expertise

Expertise is widely recognised as a key feature of modern liberal democracies, with experts of various stripes central to the development of policy in areas as diverse as economic development, climate change and mental health. Examining the relationship between expertise and government, and the tensions that often emerge between democracy and the expert-based ‘technocracy’, can reveal much about the nature of the state and how they change. As such, experts are also central to making policy mobile, acting as advocates and facilitators of policy transfer across space.

This research examines the emergence of a stratum of experts emerging in the cultural policy sphere. These are actors that are peripheral to the formal state, but heavily networked into it, and often dependent on resource flows that emanate from it. And they are actors that produce knowledge about the cultural and creative sector on which policy interventions are often based, particularly at the urban scale. This research examines how this knowledge is produced by these actors, and how this knowledge both shapes policy and makes it mobile.

Read more here:

Prince, R., (2013) Consultancies and the global assemblage of culture and creativity. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers forthcoming. [pdf]

Prince, R., (2013) Calculative cultural expertise? Consultants and politics in the UK cultural sector. Sociology forthcoming. [pdf]

Prince, R. (2012) Policy transfer, consultants and the geographies of governance. Progress in Human Geography 36 (2): 188-203. [pdf]

Prince, R. (2010) Fleshing out expertise: The making of creative industries experts in the United Kingdom. Geoforum 41 (6): 875-884. [pdf]

Other relevant publications:

Prince, R. (2013) Review Essay: Disaggregating the state: Exploring interdisciplinary possibilities for the study of policy. Political Geography 34 (1): 60-62. [pdf]