A measure for the creative economy

Submitting Institution

King's College London

Unit of Assessment

Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management 

Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Studies In Human Society: Policy and Administration

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Summary of the impact

Professor Pratt's work on the conceptualisation, measurement and operationalization of the cultural and creative industries has had significant impact within the field of cultural and economic policy at the urban, regional, national and international levels. These ideas have been taken up and used by policy makers to identify the contribution of the cultural economy. Professor Pratt's work has been instrumental in devising the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Framework for Cultural Statistics (2009), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Creative Economy Report (2010 and 2013), and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) report on the economic and social consequences of copyright for the creative industries (2013).

Underpinning research

Professor Pratt's work has enabled the identification of the contribution of the cultural economy to economic activity in the world. He has created a new methodology, fashioned a conceptual and analytic lens, as well as a means of putting these into practice in the field.

Figures based on Pratt's approach revealed the creative economy contributing 3.4% of total world trade, and exports of $424 Billion (UNCTAD 2008). This finding had a substantial impact on policy making; moreover it highlighted the nature of inequalities in cultural trade and the degree of control of local cultural `product'.

Professor Pratt's research comprises of four interlinked phases, all of which have had distinct forms of impact on cultural and economic policy: The first proposed, developed and refined a conceptual definition of the cultural and creative industries that challenged existing nominalist accounts to propose a `Cultural Industries Production System' (CIPS). This notion has been extended in later research to cover the whole cultural field.

This work has a vital related component: operationalizing the definition in numerical terms that have relevance to the sector, the community, and to policy makers. The challenge has been to devise pragmatic ways to use existing data sources (which are not suited to purpose, and require much statistical and conceptual manipulation to be rendered useful) as well as to set out a practical agenda for new data/information collection.

Thus the breakthrough was defining the field and developing a methodology; since this time a series of practical steps have been to implement this with various policy agencies internationally. Each iteration offers an incremental application and further development of the proof of concept.

A second phase, which was substantively pursued while Pratt was at King's College, from 2009-13, analyses the process of operation and governance of the cultural industries and their embedding in locales: notably cities. Based upon a series of writings about the concept, Pratt has reported on empirical studies, and drawn policy implications: again, this work has been eagerly taken up by the international policy community (as evidenced by the keynote invitations to world cities). This research, like the national cultural mapping studies, is the most widely cited in the field.

A third phase has concerned innovation and knowledge exchange. In part this developed from work on a book on innovation and creativity (Pratt and Jeffcutt 2009), and has extended to collaborations with NESTA and WIPO. This is consolidated in Pratt's leading role in the AHRC Creative Economy Hub (Creative Works London). This is a major initiative of knowledge transfer with universities and the creative sector, running from 2012-2016.

Finally, Professor Pratt's work on creative clusters and world cities has informed policy debates about creative cities. His work furnished a methodology for a major report for the Mayor of London comparing 12 world cities and culture.

References to the research

Pratt, A. C. (1997) `The cultural industries production system: a case study of employment change in Britain, 1984-91' Environment and Planning A, 29(11): 1953-1974.


Pratt, A. C. (2004) `Mapping the cultural industries: Regionalization; the example of South East England', in D. Power & A. J. Scott (eds) Cultural industries and the production of culture., London, Routledge: 19-36.


Pratt, A. C. & Jeffcutt, P. (eds) (2009) Creativity, Innovation and the Cultural Economy, London: Routledge.


Pratt, A. C. (2011) `Microclustering of the media industries in London', in: C. Karlsson & R. G. Picard (eds) Media Clusters, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.


Pratt, A. C. (2011) `The cultural economy and the global city', in P. Taylor, B. Derudder, M. Hoyler & F. Witlox (eds) International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.


Pratt, A. C. (2012) `The cultural and creative industries: organisational and spatial challenges to their governance', Die Erde, 143 (4): 317-334.

Details of the impact

Professor Pratt has established an international reputation as an expert in the mapping and measurement of the social and economic dimensions of the cultural and creative industries over 25 years. During Pratt's time at King's College from 2009-13 his work has had a global impact via his advice to the UN.

Figures from Pratt's research revealed size of the creative economy and highlighted the nature of inequalities in cultural trade and the degree of control of local cultural `product'. This finding had a substantial impact on policy making; Such is the importance of this intervention that nations and cities around the world (especially the developing world) are devising creative economy policies to promote economic growth and local cultural identity

The cultural industry definitions, operationalization and creative industry measures devised by Prof Pratt now form the foundation of the UNESCO (2009) Framework for Cultural Statistics. This document is now the international gold standard for measuring cultural activity in the world. Moreover, the seminal United National Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 2008, 2010) Creative Economy Reports are based on Professor Pratt's creative industry methodology that develops a definitive measure of cultural trade. As expert advisor, Professor Pratt's methods form the basis of the third edition of the Creative Economy report for 2013 managed by UNESCO.

Furthermore, Pratt's analyses have had a direct influence on governance and policy. The World Cities Culture Forum is an international policy initiative that highlights the role of culture in the social and economic success of the world's largest and most globalised cities. The audit is based on a comparative survey of the cultural infrastructure and consumption trends in each city — published as the World Cities Culture Report 2012. The World Cities Culture Report 2012 involved 12 cities. A new version will be published in 2013 covering 24 cities.

Paul Owens, Managing Director of BOP Consulting, which carries out the World Cities Culture audit, wrote:

`[Professor Pratt] has played a central part in establishing both the overall intellectual framework and rationale and in designing the technical aspects of the project such as the data indicators. In doing this he has drawn on his own research and on his experience of working within a policy-making context in the UK and in other countries. His input has given the project academic rigour and credibility. He has played a large part in realising the aims of the project and in attracting interest and support from policy-makers in over 20 cities across the globe.'

In the World Cities Culture Report (GLA 2012) the Mayor of London noted that the concepts proposed by Pratt now play a central role in cultural policy making in London.

Pratt has also addressed and written a series of reports for CERLALC (Centro Regional para el Fomento del Libro en América), the artist's rights society for South America, on the challenges facing the creative economy in that region. Mónica Torres, Deputy Director of Copyright, CERLALC-UNESCO says that Prof. Pratt's work has been essential to setting up the Ibero-American Observatory of Copyrights (ODAI).

`A sequence of six articles about the basic elements of the Creative Industries...have been published with successful effects in the ODAI web site (www.odai.org) ABC de las Industrias Creativas section. In addition Professor Pratt contributed as a lecturer in the workshops of Creative Industries organized by CERLALC, ODAI and WIPO in Paraguay and Ecuador, last year. This important contribution has [helped us] to comply [with] CERLALC´s objectives as well to structure projects with other institutions regarding creative industries initiatives and various related activities.'

He is also a member of the expert working group for UNESCO advising on the third creative economy report, advising specifically on issues of local capacity building drawing on his research on the creative economy and cities. He has acted as advisor for the cities of Shanghai, Barcelona, Berlin and London. At the invitation of the British Council's Creative Economy Unit he has also advised missions in Central Africa and Latin America, in the latter case working with the Latin American Development Bank on a strategy to enable micro-enterprises and creative practitioners to develop their businesses.

Within the UK, Professor Pratt's work was essential in the development of the Culture Capital Exchange: an organisation that promotes the exchange of knowledge and expertise by providing a vital network between Higher Education, business and the cultural and creative sectors across London to mutual benefit. Sally Taylor, Executive Director of The Culture Capital Exchange wrote: `Professor Pratt's research was vital to the concept and, ultimately, success of the Hub bid.'

Sources to corroborate the impact

Corroborating Statements:
Deputy Director of Copyright, CERALC- UNESCO (founding of ODAI)
Managing Director, BOP consulting (Role in World Cities Culture Audit)

Reports Corroborating Impact:

-UNCTAD (2008) The creative economy report, Geneva/New York: UNCTAD/ UNDP

-UNCTAD (2010) Creative economy report 2: a feasible strategy for development, Geneva/New York: UNCTAD/UNDP

-UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2009) Framework for Cultural Statistics, Paris: UNESCO

-UNESCO (2013) Creative Economy Report 2013: widening local development pathways, Paris: UNESCO

-WIPO (2013) The economic and social consequences of copyright for the creative industries, Geneva: WIPO

-GLA (2012) World cities culture report 2012, GLA: London

-GLA (2013) World cities culture report 2013, GLA: London

Pratt, A. C. (2009) `The creative and cultural economy and the recession', Geoforum, 40: 495-496.

Pratt, A. C. (2011) `The cultural contradictions of the creative city', City, Culture and Society, 2: 123-130.

Pratt, A. C. & Hutton, T. (2013) `Reconceptualising the relationship between the creative economy and the recession: learning from the financial crisis', Cities, 33: 86-95.