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Knowledge bases and regional development: collaborations between higher education and cultural creative industries

International Journal of Cultural Policy, 24 (4), 2018


Elisabet Sørfjorddal Hauge, Rómulo Miguel Pinheiro, Barbara Zyzak


This paper builds on the assumption that cooperation between higher education institutions (HEIs) and creative and cultural industries (CCIs) stimulates innovation and economic growth at the regional level. It further assumes that HEIs and CCIs hold different perspectives on their intention to cooperate with external actors and, thus, there is a need for joint arenas to develop and integrate knowledge and practices among stakeholders across academia and industry. With this rationale in mind, the paper’s main objective is to discuss how universities’ roles in the establishment and development of locally embedded CCIs change or evolve over time. Taking a process economics perspective and building on a case study from the South of Norway, two questions are addressed: (1) What are the barriers – structural and cognitive-cultural – hindering cooperation between HEIs and CCIs in Southern Norway? and (2) How can long-term win-win cooperative arrangements between HEIs and CCIs be enhanced? Different knowledge bases, combined with lack of knowledge and understanding of the other sector’s expertise or knowledge content, and thus the lack of common language, were found to be the biggest barriers that must be overcome to stimulate strategic cooperation between HEIs and CCIs in Southern Norway. The findings support the need for a diverse and flexible policy where target initiatives are adjusted to CCIs’ needs and academic departments’ fields of knowledge to decrease barriers to cooperation, with the ultimate aim of moving from a situation of ‘lock-in’ towards the creation of new innovative and valuable relationships