University of Sussex
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Creative arts and STEM fusion in and around the UK creative industries: a multi-level study

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posted on 2023-06-10, 01:31 authored by Martha Bloom
The most innovative firms in the creative industries have been shown to be those which draw on, or ‘fuse’, creative arts and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills. However, little is known about how this fusion operates in practice. The thesis addresses this gap by investigating how the fusion of creative arts and STEM skills at the individual, firm and inter-firm level contribute to innovation in and around the UK creative industries. At the individual level, the thesis examines the relationship between STEAM (STEM+Arts) education and graduate employment outcomes in the creative industries using official data from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency. At the firm level, the thesis explores how the interplay of different forms of common and diverse knowledge shapes the way in which new knowledge is formed, through a qualitative case study of a major London based visual effects company. At the inter-firm level, the thesis examines the fusion of creative arts and STEM skills in the context of publicly funded R&D collaborations, using a dataset of all InnovateUK funded projects between 2004-2020. Overall, this interdisciplinary and mixed methods thesis makes a significant original contribution to knowledge by firstly defining and subsequently expanding upon a definition of fusion as a multi-level construct. By bringing together theories of fusion from differing disciplines to examine fusion at each key level of analysis, the thesis contributes a more extensive investigation of the notion of fusion than has previously been achieved. In doing so, the thesis offers significant contribution to innovation studies literatures and theoretical debates around diverse/common knowledge, developing a novel theoretical framework which helps to explicate the interplay of different forms of knowledge in innovation processes. Moreover, the thesis contributes empirical findings on the value of STEAM education and the extent to which UK innovation policy is supporting fused collaboration projects, both of which have significant implications for policy making.


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  • SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit Theses

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  • doctoral

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  • phd


  • eng


University of Sussex

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