We have put together responses to frequently asked questions that we’ve found people have when first they encounter C4CC and start to ask questions. Please email usshould you have any further questions.
What is the Centre for Creative Collaboration?
The Centre for Creative Collaboration is a new initiative in collaboration for London. It began as a pilot project and a prototype for a bigger idea.
We are bringing together leading and innovative researchers from London’s universities and colleges, creative industry practitioners and freelancers, SMEs, and students. We are creating an environment, based on the principles of open innovation, where new collaborative projects can be conceived, developed and delivered. We’re interested in getting these ideas and concepts into use quickly and efficiently, and where possible and appropriate, aiding the commercial development and wealth creation that these new projects can produce. C4CC is all about “Knowledge Exchange” it’s not knowledge transfer, but a more engaged concept that accepts that the flow of knowledge is and should be multilateral
C4CC is led by professor Adrian Smith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, in collaboration with the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Goldsmiths, and Royal Holloway (members of the Federal University of London).
The project direction is itself a collaborative effort and innovative; a multi-university partnership working to steer a project designed to be valuable to creative practitioners in London and beyond.
Why are you using #C4CC to describe the Centre?
We began using social media techniques and methods both to document and disseminate the results of the work of C4CC – you can find links to some of them on our Tools page. On Twitter, hashtags are used to identify information to make it more easily searchable. Hence, on Twitter C4CC is identified as #C4CC. Given that Twitter has a 140 character limit on messages, short hashtags are best practice.
Why are you doing this project?
C4CC is the direct result of a comprehensive consultation process in 2008 that canvassed the views and needs of the capital’s Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), small businesses, incubators, and some industry partners.
The main conclusions of the consultation were that:
- HEIs and industry partners thought that a ‘neutral’ collaboration space in the King’s Cross area was an attractive idea and one they would support if the idea became concrete and tangible;
- The creative disciplines saw most value in the idea; practice is being heavily impacted by changes in technology and new forms of collaboration in business models and working methods that are seen as future sources of competitiveness.
What’s the “Big Idea”?
“We need to do for the Creative Arts what the system has done for Science” said Sir Graeme Davies, then Vice Chancellor of the University of London, at C4CC on 5th February 2010 to a group of about 80 individuals from London’s creative community including members of the SMEs, artists, academics, freelancers, and a sprinkling of students.
Graeme argued that “Scientists forget the energy derived from the Creative Arts and how much resource (in every sense) comes into the community [from them]”.
He also spoke of the multiple interfaces between science, engineering, industry, and society that have been developed over decades. Consider the huge amounts of public investment in science during the latter half of the 20th Century. He talked about C4CC as an “experiment” where “We are exploring how to build a genuine interface with the Creative sector – and make University resources available to a broader community”, adding that “this is the place and these are the people. It’s also about making it work in a very lively way.”
We were also challenged by one of the lead partners of the Centre; Geoff Crossick, then Warden of Goldsmiths (who became Vice-Chancellor of the University of London on the retirement of Sir Graeme) to “make it tangible”, which led us to the idea of the experiment that is C4CC. Geoff Crossick’s 2006 Lecture to the RSA “Knowledge Transfer without Widgets” influenced our thinking greatly and we had regular meetings and discussions with him as we prepared to implement C4CC.
Geoff Crossick’s words provide valuable insight to the motivating factors behind the development of C4CC:
“Rather than being formed and then transmitted to others, knowledge in the creative economy is constituted within the interaction itself and it is from that engagement that value itself is derived. This knowledge is, by its very nature, networked, coming from the encounter of people with different skills, imaginations and often different goals. The term “creative conversations” is often used to describe these processes, and there are interesting implications to this metaphor. One is the paradox of intensely global phenomena that thrive off very local interactions. Another is that in the most digitally-driven of fields exciting breakthroughs generally come when people shape ideas face-to- face. And the best conversations are sustained over time, in an exchange of difference. Encounters of different art forms, technologies, cultures, disciplines produce new knowledge in the creative sectors and it produces them when people are together. ”
You can read a transcript of Geoff Crossick’s here .
How is C4CC managed and governed?
We have representatives of three of the University partners on the Operational Management Board (‘OMB’) – Geoff Ward of Royal Holloway (Chairman), Jessica Bowles of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and Mike Waller and Julie Taylor from Goldsmiths; and also the four Co-Directors of C4CC.
The governance structure is very interesting (if you like that kind of thing); effectively a collaborative structure between the University of London, partner colleges and C4CC management. On the OMB, the Co-Directors represent the University of London and report to the Steering Group, chaired by the Vice-Chancellor. The way C4CC operates is that the Co-Directors actively manage day-to-day operations, supporting and facilitating users of C4CC; keeping the other Board Members in touch with what’s happening. The Steering Group, in addition to the Vice-Chancellor, consists of the Chief Operator Officer and the Director of Finance and Planning of the University of London.
Effectively there are two layers of oversight – Operational (and academic) oversight from Mike Waller, Jessica Bowles, and Geoff Ward; and higher level Governance and Strategy oversight from the Vice-Chancellor and Steering Group. The Vice-Chancellor reports to the University of London’s Board of Trustees each term.
We hope, for those of you who have so far been visiting and using C4CC, that very little of this is visible in day-to-day interactions. There’s a very good reason for that; we hope that the operations of the Centre will be very flexible and responsive to the needs of collaborative projects that use the space. We’ve worked with early users of the space and designed a very lightweight process. We have a set of decisions we can make very quickly; we’re all clear about what the objectives are and there’s a high level of trust, which has taken a long time to achieve, built into the design. This is, we think, innovative; and part of the job we have is to study and document the process.
Where does the funding come from?
There is a mix of European Regional Development Fund and University of London money, with other contributions (both financial and ‘in kind’) from Goldsmiths, Royal Holloway, and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. HEFCE and the London Development Agency also supported the work of C4CC in its first two years.