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Constructing Creative Industry Eco-Systems: Building Communities of Practice (Advert Reference: SF19/BL/MOS/WILSON)

Faculty of Business and Law

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Dr S Wilson , Prof D Charles , Dr R Prescott Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The creative industries employ over 3 million people in the UK and are recognised as essential to tourism development and urban regeneration in post-industrial cities, through contributions to the arts, heritage and cultural sector to local economic vitality and a sense of place in both cultural and economic terms. Grodach and Lewis (2017) found substantial benefits to investing in creative industry improving ‘city image and quality of life’. This project aims to examine how cities can support the emergence of cultural and creative small-scale enterprises, focusing at a grass-roots level to understand how creative industry eco-systems and communities of practice are constructed in urban cultural development spaces.

A number of creative spaces emerged in recent years to house and support creative practitioners and act as a focus for the development of ecosystems and networks, linking practitioners with support activities and fostering cooperation and clustering. In Newcastle, several sites have emerged, notably East Pilgrim Street. This model makes use of disused buildings as temporary workspaces, often with no or limited public subsidy.

This PhD should undertake case studies of such developments and the members of the ecosystems they host, potentially comparing developments in Newcastle with those in other UK cities. The project will examine the emergence and development of the ecosystem and its component parts and particularly focus on the way in which community-orientated practices drive towards a shared and creative working environment. The project should examine the emergence of communities of practice among the tenants in such ecosystems and how they contribute to the business success. The research should also identify the impact and contribution that artist-led regeneration has had on placemaking in cities as a result of ecosystem configurations, mapping social values and processes to produce a model that could be applied in the development of similar ventures elsewhere.

This project is supervised by Dr Sharon Wilson, Professor David Charles and Dr Rebecca Prescott.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see:

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF19/…) will not be considered.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

Please note this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend.


Grodach, C. and Loukaitou‐Sideris, A. (2007). CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES AND URBAN REVITALIZATION. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 13(4), pp.349-370.

Smith, M. and Richards, G. (2013). The Routledge handbook of cultural tourism. 1st ed. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp.5-6.

Charles, D. (2012) L’engagement ville-université en faveur des industries créatives: quel projet pour améliorer l’attractivité et l’interaction ? Le cas de l’Australie in Ingallina, P. Universités et enjeux territoriaux Une comparaison internationale de l'économie de la connaissance, Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, Villeneuve d’Ascq.

Charles, D. (2016) Newcastle: converting industrial heritage to creative industries in Kunzmann, K. (ed) Culture Creative Industries and Urban Regeneration, WQ, Beijing.

Embedding entrepreneurial regional innovation ecosystems, Nieth, L., Benneworth, P., Charles, D., Fonseca, L., Rodrigues, C., Salomaa, M., Stienstra, M. Nov 2018, In: European Planning Studies

Entrepreneurial discovery process and research and technology organisations, Charles, D., Stancova, K. 12 Sep 2016, Governing Smart Specialisation, Taylor & Francis

Wilson, S., Chambers, D. and Johnson, J., 2019. VW campervan tourists' embodied sonic experiences. Annals of Tourism Research, 76, pp.14-23.

Wilson, S. & Hannam, K. (2017). The Frictions of Slow Tourism Mobilities: Conceptualising campervan travel. Annuls of Tourism Research, 67, pp. 25-36.

Wilson, S, (2014).The Ethics and Fieldwork and Experimentation in Auto-Ethnographic Practice,( Eds), in Hannam, K, Mostanezhad. Moral Encounters in Tourism, (pp.221-232) Farnham: Ashgate.

Wilson, S and Obrador, P. (2014). The Nomadic Village: Communal creativity and political subversion in temporary settlements. In T. Rakić and J. Lester (Eds), Travel, Tourism and Art, (pp. 129-145). Farnham: Ashgate.

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