Eastern Promise? Race, Innovation and Inequality in the Creative Industries-Driven Regeneration of East London

PhD Thesis

Nava, O. 2019. Eastern Promise? Race, Innovation and Inequality in the Creative Industries-Driven Regeneration of East London. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Arts and Creative Industries https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.88185
AuthorsNava, O.
TypePhD Thesis

In post-industrial knowledge-based economies like the UK’s, the creative industries are becoming major drivers of urban transformation. However, while this process could potentially be leading to greater diversity and democratisation, industry reports by the Creative Industries Federation, Creative Skillset, the British Film Institute and Directors UK show black, Asian and minority ethnic representation in key sectors of the creative industries has actually decreased. In this context East London’s growing number of creative-industries hubs run the risk of re-inscribing existing patterns of racial exclusion onto the urban topography and becoming monoethnic enclaves in an otherwise superdiverse urban setting. This has implications for both racial justice and civic cohesion, and also for creativity and success in an industry where innovation is often based on the hybridisation of cultural forms.As part of my research project I have produced a one-hour documentary entitled Multicology? that examines the work practices of individual BAME (black, Asian and ethnic minority) creative workers based in East London. The film is accompanied by a sixty-nine thousand-word dissertation. In the film and the thesis, I deploy analytical paradigms drawn from the study of the creative industries (Hesmondhalgh 2007, Saha 20017), urban sociology (Sibley 1995, Keith 2005, Cohen 2013), postcolonial cultural studies (Hall 1990, Malik 2008) and urban design (Anderson 2009, Thibaud 2012). I utilise this interdisciplinary approach to examine the processes through which racialised inequality in the creative industries can become spatialised in an urban context, and the strategies BAME creative producers use to navigate those forms of exclusion. In my research I argue that the cultural regeneration process is largely structured by discourses of institutional diversity (Malik 2008) that have historically failed to deliver greater levels of inclusion in the sphere of cultural production. In this context I point to the need for multicultural creative ecologies, what I term ‘multicologies’, where BAME practitioners from complementary sectors of the creative industries can be spatially concentrated. These multicultural creative hubs and networks would operate to challenge existing forms of racialised inequality in the urban creative industries, and support BAME creative practitioners working in East London.

PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.88185
File Access Level
Publication dates
OnlineSep 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited01 Jul 2020
Permalink -


Download files

License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
File access level: Anyone

  • 351
    total views
  • 574
    total downloads
  • 8
    views this month
  • 33
    downloads this month

Export as