Creative Manchester Business Engagement Workshop explores creative-academic collaboration

The event explored the requirements for mutually beneficial partnerships between academia and the creative industries.

A pioneering Business Engagement Workshop was presented by Creative Manchester - part of The University of Manchester’s School of Arts, Languages and Cultures - on 2 December 2020 in partnership with Aspect, a collaborative network drawing together pioneering academics with innovative industry leaders.

Attended by members of a vast array of organisations, the workshop explored the ways in which researchers and creative businesses can preserve and enhance each other’s work through partnership. Its outputs are now forming the foundations of a toolkit of practical resources and guidance on forging collaborations between academia and the creative industries.

Workshop participants were welcomed by Senior Lecturer in American Studies, Professor Ian Scott, before learning about the University’s Business Engagement Support Team, Aspect and Creative Manchester through introductory talks by Adam Winship, Alex Riley and Anne-Marie Nugnes, respectively.

Afterwards, case studies were delivered by innovative cultural leaders from organisations with whom Creative Manchester is partnered. First, CEO of Manchester Camerata Bob Riley discussed the benefits that partnership has yielded for both the orchestra and the University. He spoke about Camerata in the Community projects including the dementia-focussed Music in Mind initiative, whose “backbone” has been the input of University researchers and the Business Engagement Support Team. He also spoke about the successes of cross-institutional roles occupied by Rebecca Parnell (Creative Producer) and Helena Bull (Simon Industrial Fellow), whose work has led to vital developments in both research and practice.

A second case study was delivered by two members of Carcanet Press: MD Michael Schmidt and Associate Publisher John McAuliffe (also Professor of Poetry and Director of the Centre for New Writing). The pair spoke of the partnership between the poetry publisher and the University as a “virtuous circle”, citing the University's investment in the Carcanet archive, and the benefits this has yielded over the years for both Carcanet and researchers within the Centre for New Writing. They also spoke about student opportunities that have arisen from the partnership, including internships which have led to careers with national publishers and the publication of original literature.

Later in the workshop, participants had the opportunity to contribute to the discussion in facilitated breakout rooms, with many choosing to share their own business engagement experiences – from both research and industry perspectives. Finally, Creative Manchester's new Research Associate, Dr Alicia Rouverol, tied the discussion together with some unifying reflections. One common thread that she picked out of the talks was “the need for shared ambition and alignment of principle” when it comes to developing mutually beneficial partnerships. She closed by speaking about a forthcoming ‘deep dive’ project, which will see Creative Manchester and Aspect continue to explore best practice in business engagement – the end goal being a toolkit of practical resources and guidance on forging collaborations between academia and the creative industries.

A recording of the workshop is available to view above. If you were unable to attend the workshop but would still like contribute to Creative Manchester and Aspect’s ongoing business engagement research, please complete this short survey.

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