Creative and Cultural Economy

A multitude of definitions and guidelines are used in the world of creative and cultural economies. At times, there is a lack of clarity as to what they mean. Therefore, the overview below should be seen as an attempt to clarify characteristics and relations between each of these areas.

Knowledge economy:   “It refers to the use of knowledge technologies (such as knowledge engineering and knowledge management) to produce economic benefits as well as job creation” Wikipedia.
Encompasses all education, science and technology, and innovations encompassing the creative economy. Includes areas such as e.g. telecommunications and hi-tech production.


Creative economy:   “…an emerging concept dealing with the interface between creativity, culture, economics and technology” (UNCTAD). It cuts across the areas of the creative and cultural industries, creative cities and creative culture, and includes creative people working in areas of skills, research and development.

Creative industries:    “… have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent which have a potential for job and wealth creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property” (DCMS, 2001). The notion of ‘creative industries’  emphasises individual creativity, innovation, skill and talent in the exploitation of intellectual property (UNESCO).
All intellectual property industries e.g. architecture, design, fashion, publishing, digital technologies, software, games, festivals, toys, sport and recreation.

Cultural industries:  The notion of ‘cultural industries’ emphasises those industries whose inspiration derives from heritage, traditional knowledge, and the artistic elements of creativity (UNESCO). The term is almost interchangeable with the concept of creative industries. Includes museums and galleries, crafts, antiques, video, TV and radio, libraries…