Creative Workforce 2.0

The Creative Workforce project aims have been to contribute to the development of the innovation system through understanding creative workforce issues by researching education and work in the creative economy; designing education systems for the creative economy; and providing solutions to equip people with the knowledge and skills to work in the creative economy. Research has been organised around three key themes: creative industries labour market issues, education and training, and cross-sectoral innovation via embedded creatives.

In line with CCI’s vision, Creative Workforce has undertaken fundamental and applied research by mapping the ‘embedded creative’ and creative services, as well as using graduate tracking to map and assess employment outcomes and skill requirements for creative services and embedded creatives in Australia and the UK. It has undertaken research from a variety of disciplines, such as journalism, media and communication, PR and marketing, design, digital media, application development and education, which reframes the relations between culture and economy by demonstrating how creative work is embedded in the economy outside of the core creative industries. Policy considerations were particularly relevant in the work examining embedded creatives in the manufacturing and mining industries and in relation to digital creatives. The program also mapped, analysed and assessed the role of the embedded creative and creative service employment and work in relation to digital innovations, with core work undertaken to define and measure digital creatives. The role of embedded creatives and creative services in the financial industry was also considered. 

The ISIS Project, funded by the Federal Department of Industry, has built and examined connections between creative services businesses and industry, helping develop improved understandings and demonstrations of models for sustainable enterprises in the creative sector. Through the ISIS project, members of the program (including a CCI PhD student) have been working with industry to assist in the application of links between creative industries and innovation in practical circumstances for industry and community benefit. The outcome of this was captured in successful business enterprise for businesses involved in the project, a report presented to the federal Department of Industry Innovation Science and Tertiary Education in December 2012, and a chapter in Creative Work beyond the Creative Industries.

The core work of the project has focused on improved understanding and recognition of the nature and extent of the creative industries and ‘creative economy’ and improved understanding and recognition of the value of education and training for a ‘creative workforce’, particularly in relation to embedded creatives. The edited collection, Creative Work beyond the Creative Industries and the special journal issue of Journal of Education and Work are two key outcomes of this focus. Investigation into the role of embedded digital creatives and mapping digital creatives demonstrates the social, economic and cultural value of digital content innovation in diverse settings. This work features in two chapters in Creative Work beyond the Creative Industries, a chapter in The Media and Communication in Australia, a chapter in The Routledge Companion to Mobile Media, a conference presentation, and a media appearance.

The key summative work of the program, Creative Work beyond the Creative Industries, defines a new agenda for creative industries labour and education studies with a focus on creative work outside the creative industries, and uses a variety of approaches, such as economics, media studies, and pedagogical and design perspectives.

The Creative Workforce program has developed relationships and built new networks with major national and international centres and research programs, such as The Centre for Innovation and Change Leadership, Suffolk University, Boston; The Centre for Research on Social-Cultural Change, Open University, UK; The Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre; and the National Secretariat of the Creative Economy Brazil.  The ISIS project involved considerable engagement with government, industry and the private sector, including the Federal Department of Industry, the Victorian Department of Innovation Enterprise Connect, Creative Industries Innovation Centre, QuickSmart, Toggle Media, GBI Mining and Zone4.

The Creative Workforce program has contributed to the development of seven PhD students, one Masters’ student, a Doctorate of Creative Industries student, and an academic’s early career research development of an academic.


In 2013 the Creative Workforce program continued summative work to reflect on and integrate of several years of work, and to apply this internationally. Creative Work beyond the Creative Industries: Innovation, Employment, and Education, edited by the Creative Workforce team, brings together work by CCI researchers around the phenomena of the ‘embedded creative’ and creative services, noting that although labour and employment in the core creative industries are the subjects of a growing number of studies, creative workers embedded in other industry sectors have, for the most part, remained invisible.  Using the latest CCI analyses of Census 2011 and other new international data, the book explores labour market, career and educational issues associated with the embedded creative workforce. The manuscript for this publication has been completed and will be published by Edward Elgar in 2014. In addition to the editorial role, members of the Creative Workforce program team have a number of chapters in the book.

Work was commenced for the special issue of Journal of Education of Work, edited by the Creative Workforce team. This issue will look at the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes required by embedded creatives, and the processes of acquisition, augmentation and deployment of these capabilities, and features contributions from CCI researchers and international researchers external to the CCI.

In 2013 the program also conducted a major piece of empirical survey work: the National Creative Graduate Tracking Project. The project surveyed graduates from creative- industries-related undergraduate degrees from 10 Australian universities to provide a granular characterisation of the education-to-work and initial-to-mid career experiences of creative graduates, including examination of destinations, creative value add, and reflections on educational experiences.

Work continued on the Seek Study, investigating the skills and roles required of core and embedded creatives in PR/Marketing and Design through job advertisements. Work also continued on the Embedded Creatives in Australian Manufacturing project, investigating through interviews the contribution of embedded creatives to innovation in a variety of disciplines in Australian manufacturing. Three articles will be published on the work from these two studies.

In July the Creative Workforce program hosted the ‘Higher education, creative engagement & the creative economy’ 2-day symposium. Dr Roberta Comunian (King’s College London) and Dr Abigail Gilmore (University of Manchester) presented their research, along with a range of Australian creative workforce researchers and practitioners. The symposium was co-resourced by the Connected Communities Research Programme of the AHRC.

CCI theory is being integrated into QUT’s creative education programs, with the infusion of Creative Workforce identified capabilities into the Bachelor and Masters Creative Industries core programs.

Back to Projects Index