Guest blog: Creative industries in Industry 4.0 – by Dr Jessica Pacella

In recent years, ‘creative industries’ has become a politically charged issue across the globe. Dr Jess Pacella, Lecturer at the School of Creative Industries at the University of South Australia, and External Editor for the APO Work, Learning and Wellbeing in the Digital Economy Collection, explores what this means in the age of Industry 4.0 and for the future of work.

Creative industries add both economic and cultural value to society by generating knowledge, information and artefacts through creative practice and production. When using resources in the APO Cultural Policy & Creative Industries Collection it is worth to keeping in mind that there is a key debate among researchers (and policymakers) about what constitutes the ‘creative industries’ sector and hence, how it should be measured.

A 2016 provocation authored by Nesta contributors Hasan Bakhshi and Professor Stuart Cunningham, Cultural Policy in the Time of the Creative Industries, outlines how, in the geographic context of the UK, more robust metrics for distinguishing between ‘creative industries’ and the ‘creative economy’ could lead to vast improvements in policy development for a sector that is now estimated to contribute over £100B per year to the UK economy (DCMS 2018).

Work, learning & wellbeing in the digital economy

There is also much crossover with creative industries and the APO Work, Learning and Wellbeing in the Digital Economy Collection. Understanding how creativity, critical thinking and other soft skills can be applied in jobs of the future, in addition to understanding the limits of automation (many crafts people and makers have skills that are impossible to automate), showcase the complexity and diversity of research within the Cultural Policy Collection.

At the heart of the Wellbeing in the Digital Economy Collection is the intersection between the key elements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – also known as Industry 4.0 (these are automation, AI, robotics and Internet of Things) and the future of work.

Recent research has sought to understand the nuance within the digital economy and differences between what constitutes the ‘gig economy’, the ‘sharing economy’ the ‘platform economy’ and the ‘task economy’, and the various ways in which these on-demand practices undermine or supplement people’s wages. As such, debates around what defines work, and the differences between, for example, ‘freelancer’, ‘gig worker’, ‘casual worker’, and ‘contract worker’ are vitally important for preventing the erosion of industrial labour rights and protections.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, much of the literature and research in the Wellbeing in the Digital Economy Collection either implicitly or explicitly incorporates data on the future of wages, quality of work life, and future skills and employment forecasting in what many predict as an uncertain job market driven and influenced by technological change.

Editor’s note: APO is based at Swinburne University of Technology. By embracing Industry 4.0 using digital technologies to create social and economic impact through science, technology and innovation, Swinburne University is developing practical approaches to incorporating Industry 4.0 thinking across teaching and research. Read more about Swinburne University’s Industry 4.0 initiatives.