International Journal of Art & Design Education

The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction: The Significance of the Creative Industries

Volume 20.2   2001



This paper reflects on the social and political significance of the new classification of the ‘creative industries’. The new aggregate expands previous classifications of the arts and cultural industries and produces figures which suggest that these sectors are increasingly vital elements of the UK economy. It is argued that these statistics on the creative industries are, to an extent, misleading. The paper considers some of the implications of the recent and continuing advances in technologies of digital reproduction and distribution. The importance of the creative industries to Arts and Design education is placed within the context of the emphasis on vocationalism by successive UK governments. It is suggested that while the new aggregate may be useful in terms of certain kinds of promotion, the category should be recognised as arbitrary and politically motivated. Finally, the paper examines the notion that the creative industries might be harnessed to achieve social inclusion and urban re-generation and reflects on some of the social costs of such sectors.