Digital Convergence and Collaborative Cultures

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As digital media lead to the blurring of edges beteen different creative forms, from books to film, games to visual archive, it is becoming more important to understand the way publishing fits within the wider creative industries. Organisations like the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) clearly position publishing alongside other activities in their models for creative industries and as such it plays a key role in government agendas for developing creative economies.

This paper outlines the position of publishing in this wider context by exploring the characteristics of creative industries and showing how publishing fits such definitions. This includes analysis of themes of creativity and collaboration as well as industry structures and behaviours. The paper aims to show that although publishing can at times be regarded as a traditional, legacy-bound industry, the advent of participatory technologies that break down the old publishing value chains are leading to new ways of working. The challenges that digital developments bring face other creative industries similarly. By aligning with the wider experience of creative industries, publishing can seek to define itself in a broader context of digital convergence.

The paper is based mainly on thinking developed from a literature survey undertaken for a piece of primary research I shall be conducting. The paper introduces this proposed research, which will look at the way new collaborations are forming and how publishers are managing these creative partnerships. The research will examine how publishers facilitate collaborations, what they learn from other creative industries, and how this activity may be fundamentally changing the structure of the industry.

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