ICCE Research Strategy 2020 - 2023

In this section



Leading research related to creative, cultural and social enterprise, entrepreneurial thinking/ strategies, cultural policy and tourism, and consumption.

Research mission

To become the most innovative research institute for creative/cultural policy, management and entrepreneurial thinking worldwide with a reputation for research excellence over the next three years. To attract the best PhD students and to collaborate internationally with the leading researchers in the field. To secure external grant and consultancy income from the most prestigious sources in the UK and Worldwide, and to have a significant impact on policy formation worldwide. To enhance its practices of linking research to learning and teaching.

Current position

ICCE is Goldsmiths' response to the growing significance of the creative industries and cultural sector in the UK’s economy, and the wider world.  Figures have shown that the creative industries account for 9% of the UK’s GDP and a rising part of its export trade and total employment. Countries that have industrialised in the late 20th century and early 21st century are aware of the need to move beyond a manufacturing base and have increasingly turned to the creative and cultural sectors to support further and sustained development. It is also a response to the growth in social innovation and enterprise worldwide. The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 has produced a very difficult situation for the cultural and creative sectors and ICCE staff are currently committed to the investigation of potential reconstructive strategies.

ICCE has considerable international experience and is interested in the policy, business, management and entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and competences associated with the creative, social and cultural sectors that can be applied and exchanged in different national contexts. ICCE also has an ability to address these issues by excellent research with interdisciplinary approaches. This strategy comprises a modified version of the strategy that was adopted until 2018, but one that also is strongly informed by the REF Environment Statement for ICCE developed in 2019-2020.

Goldsmiths’ reputation as a leading provider of creative education, and its longstanding engagement with cultural practice and analysis, make it the ideal home for ICCE. Researchers in ICCE are able to identify with the four broad and innovative research themes identified by Goldsmiths and there is considerable cross-departmental collaboration, but perhaps the central theme that applies to all members of ICCE is Invention, Creativity and Experience.

This central theme underlies the fact many members of ICCE are engaged in practice-based research, a field that yet to have a widely shared definition despite its presence in the creative sector of academia for many decades. The lack of a widely shared definition is not necessarily problematic as this could be said to be a characteristic of a dynamic and emerging field. Simply put, practice-based research comprises an original investigation designed to uncover new knowledge involving practice and the outcomes of practice. Outcomes may take the form of creative outputs in tangible and intangible arts that demonstrate the applications and uses of new knowledge, but can also be applied in the field of consultancy involving practice-based research to shape and formulate the direction of creative and cultural policy. Different institutions will evolve their own definitions and it is a key research strategy of ICCE to develop its own meanings based on its experience of practice-based research.

Goldsmiths is in London, a multicultural city that is not only home to one of the world’s largest creative and cultural sectors, but is also the setting of one of the largest concentrations of top-level universities in the world.   Engagement with the creative industries and the not-for-profit cultural sector has long existed across many of Goldsmiths’ academic departments and research centres. What makes ICCE distinctive is its inter-disciplinary character and its engagement that goes beyond the confines of traditional subjects taught in an academic environment. Artistic creativity in all its various forms increasingly blurs the old boundaries of subject disciplines such as: music, drama, dance, fine art, film design, communications, media, sociology, economics, anthropology and technology. ICCE serves as an area for experimentation, where all of these disciplines can come together to learn from each other and to develop new creative alliances, practice and theoretical outlooks.

ICCE also engages directly with external partners in creative, cultural and social innovation, and collaborative research projects with other specialist higher education institutions located in many different countries. Some of our partners are actively involved in curriculum development or in providing training opportunities, whilst others act in an advisory capacity. Through their direct engagement, all of them ensure that ICCE’s programmes and other activities address the priorities and needs of the growing creative and cultural sector itself.

It was envisaged that these many categories would eventually be subsumed by broader and interactive fields with strong regional focuses such as ‘regeneration in Brazil’ or ‘consumption, Asia’. These cross cutting approaches to groupings provides an overall environment and emphasis on cross disciplinary research. As would be expected given the age of ICCE these groupings are nascent but are already coalescing around the following thematic areas with many in more than one, as well as synergies in regional zones, which are also indicated:

  • Cultural Policy and tourism also embracing cultural diplomacy, events management and urban regeneration

  • Social and cultural enterprise involving arts and health, intellectual property rights, creative economy and community development

  • Consumption and cultural studies also involving arts, technology and museums in society along with creative cities

REF position and interdisciplinary links with other departments

There is no obvious panel in terms of REF, but in 2019 Goldsmiths decided to return ICCE to REF in partnership with Media and Communications, and the Research Environment Statement was written with this partnership in mind. However, ICCE remains a considerable resource for Goldsmiths as it has all relevant indicators of esteem in terms of: grants from research councils; consultancies with international organisations; papers published in refereed journals; evidence of international co-authorship; PhD completions; impacts beyond academia and influence on policy formation. ICCE will therefore be working on supporting individual staff links to departments that map on more closely to disciplinary Unit of Assessments. Staff should carefully consider the impact of their research outside of academia in the development of proposals and methodology.

ICCE was created as an interdisciplinary unit at its outset, but it is worth considering what this actually means with reference to the disciplinary backgrounds of its constituent members. Broadly speaking it has a mix of trained scholars representing disciplines such as sociology, cultural studies, body studies, international relations, economics, anthropology, management and entrepreneurship, as well as cultural policy and cultural diplomacy, working alongside specialists in drama and theatre, film, arts management, fine art, fashion, tourism and museology. This reflects the realities of the creative, social and cultural sectors that play an increasingly important part of the economy of the UK and of a growing host of countries internationally - the combination is not only realistic but a necessary way of engaging with the development of this growing sector of the modern economy. No one discipline has the range of research skills, practice-based knowledge and theoretical frameworks to accomplish this.

Development of research clusters and centres

From its outset ICCE has been an interdisciplinary unit, but has always maintained a strong focus on certain key areas in which its teaching and research staff have tended to form groupings with many members spanning more than one such grouping. The key areas of collaborative research focus may be summed up as follows: cultural entrepreneurship and the pedagogy of entrepreneurship, cultural policy, cultural diplomacy, cultural tourism, social enterprise, museology, fashion, luxury and consumerism, arts management. In 2019 the following research clusters were identified in the Research Environment Statement: Cultural Policy and Tourism, Consumption Studies, Social and Cultural Enterprise. A modification of these units is discussed below.

ICCE is committed to developing research capacity by improving the capacities of staff already involved in research and by developing a new generation of researchers. Support of postgraduate and postdoctoral activities will be sought by seeking funding for PhDs, post docs and early career researchers.

Staff development

ICCE is committed to supporting staff to develop their research potential through supporting workload management, encouraging mentoring, supporting skills training, access to relevant events and development of links and collaboration with other departments at Goldsmiths and beyond the College.

PhD supervision support is another important area of staff development. All members of ICCE benefit from engagement with PhD supervisor training as the growth of the department’s PhD numbers underpins its REF potential and profile.

In addition to the above, the increased visibility and accessibility of research and consultancy activities and outputs, through digital and more traditional means, is a pressing area for ICCE’ staff. Staff are encouraged to deposit their outputs into the institutional repository Goldsmiths Research Online - in some cases this might be a requirement of Goldsmiths Open Access policy. Participation in conferences helps to profile ICCE and Goldsmiths in key international arenas, but it also helps to keep staff up to date and current. It also provides them with an opportunity to have papers scrutinised and commented on before they consider submitting them to journals. Training and assistance for the consultancy and practice based members of the department will help them share their valuable insights and fields of knowledge through publications in refereed journals. This is important as few universities have managed to capitalise fully on this important area of research and it is possible that achieving this objective ICCE could serve as a model for other practice based departments possibly through higher educational consultancy.

External income sources

Through consultancy and the provision of training ICCE has managed to develop an external income from diverse external bodies, we have an active strategy in terms of the research funding sources. To be fair, members have already engaged with national and international funding sources such as the European Commission, Erasmus+ and RCUK and been successful in these bids, and there are bids under preparation for funding programmes such as Newton and RCUK. Members of ICCE have also been active attenders of briefing sessions on the funding councils and their programmes at Goldsmiths, but for ICCE to fulfil its mission as a fully-fledged department with a high quality research profile, this area of activity needs to be deepened and widened.

However, while ICCE as most departments lacks dedicated administrators for its external funding activities it would seem prudent for researchers in ICCE to remain as members rather than leaders or convenors of European Commission based activities as these funding schemes are resource intensive. At the time of writing it also remains unclear how much access the UK will have to those kinds of funding, though it is worth noting that Switzerland and Canada are able to partner EU universities in various ways. ICCE should also look more closely at the less resource intensive calls by bodies such as the AHRC and EPSRC as these provide areas for small but fast developments in research that could be of major benefit for ICCE and Goldsmiths. Also, members of ICCE have been or are currently involved as policy advisors and referees for bodies such as the AHRC, ESRC and JSPS, and maybe Goldsmiths could find a way of polling this knowledge in order to enhance its bidding activities in general.

PG student strategy and development of programmes

There is no doubt that the research areas of ICCE and its teaching programmes are closely interlinked, but this may not be so evident to external evaluators. ICCE needs to adopt a series of practices that make this link clear and some of the following steps might be considered:

  • Seek funding to support PG research studentships;
  • Playing an active role in the continued flourishing of Goldsmiths AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership and ESRC Doctoral Training Centre;
  • The addition of recent publications by members of ICCE to the VLE and reading lists;
  • To spell out that its engagement with experiential learning is clearly linked to its practice based research and consultancy activities;
  • The creation of new Masters programmes that reflect research clusters that fall within ICCE and crisscross other departments;
  • The uploading of recent publications to the relevant Goldsmiths’ research platforms (e.g. ICCE Blog).

Equality and diversity 

ICCE is committed to eliminating discrimination, promoting equality of opportunity and good relations between staff and encouraging its diversity. ICCE is adopting the Athena SWAN principles as central to research as part of the overall ICCE strategy.

Performance measurement

ICCE will monitor the implementation and effectiveness of its research strategy by determining the gap between current and future levels of: good quality PhD applications; co-authored international publications; collaborations with other departments at Goldsmiths and beyond; impact achieved beyond academia, especially in policy formation, through research, consultancy and public engagement activities; and important conference presentations by staff members.

ICCE Research Strategy 2020-2023 Summary

Research mission

  • To become the most innovative research institute for creative/cultural policy, management and entrepreneurship globally and to foster the growth of comparable units worldwide;
  • To develop a worldwide reputation for research excellence and to integrate this into teaching and learning to foster teaching excellence and to act as a role model for comparable units worldwide;
  • To attract the best PhD students and to collaborate internationally with the leading researchers with an emphasis on international co-authorship and the sharing and development of new research methodologies;
  • To secure external grant and consultancy income from the most prestigious sources in the UK and globally, and to collaborate with partner institutes to secure funding in non-traditional sources outside the UK and Europe;
  • To have a significant impact on cultural policy formation worldwide and to facilitate cross-cultural understanding concerning the values that underpin the creation of policies and the actions they generate;
  • To use the knowledge gained from international research to create new teaching programmes that are relevant to students in terms of their personal development and their ability to create employment opportunities within the workplace of the future.

Areas of research

This research strategy builds on a trawl of the research interests ICCE members was conducted in 2015 to draw up a research strategy up until 2018 research. The subject fields were often informed by activities in teaching, knowledge exchange and consultancy and were covered by members of ICCE, usually with many members involved in two or more areas were identified as follows: arts management, consumption, creative and cultural entrepreneurship, creative industries, media theory, body studies, cultural diplomacy, cultural economy, cities and urban regeneration, cultural policy, cultural tourism, luxury brands, intellectual property rights, pedagogy, social and cultural theory, social enterprise, technology and data driven social innovation and new business models

It was envisaged that the plurality of categories would eventually be subsumed by broader and interactive fields with strong regional focuses such as ‘regeneration in Brazil’ or ‘consumption in Asia’. The categories necessitate inter-disciplinary co-operation to research problems and research groups have emerged coalescing around thematic areas and regional zones as listed here: 

Creative Economy Policy:  embracing cultural diplomacy, tourism, events management and regeneration;

Social and Cultural Entrepreneurship: involving arts and health, intellectual property rights;

Arts Management: involving consumption and cultural studies and museums in society along with creative cities.

Sources of external funding

  • UK funding bodies (e.g. AHRC, ESRC, British Council, Newton);
  • Other UK funding sources (e.g. Leverhulme, Wellcome, Japan Foundation, Daiwa Foundation);
  • Consultancies (e.g. DCMS, British Council);
  • External training and teaching;
  • Partnerships with universities in Asia to access national research funds (e.g. Macau Foundation, National Research and Innovation Agency, Indonesia);
  • World Bank
  • Asian Development Bank

REF strategy

  • Publications in high impact refereed journals;
  • Publications of monographs with leading publishers;
  • Co-authored publications with researchers in other countries;
  • To produce high quality practice based outputs suitable for REF;
  • To deal with the challenge that there is no obvious unit of assessment for ICCE;
  • To partner with other successful research units; especially with regard to Goldsmiths broad research themes;
  • To have clear evidence of impacts beyond academia, especially with regard to policy, as per HEFCE guidance.