Joining the Dots—Understanding the Value Generation of Creative Networks for Sustainability in Local Creative Ecosystems

Marlen Komorowski, Ruxandra Lupu, Sara Pepper, Justin Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


In recent years, the ecological shift from an economically driven model of arts and culture to that of an ecosystem in the creative industries determined the emergence of a range of new bottom-up, place-based networks herewith referred to as “creative networks”. This article explores how these networks can generate sustainability for local creative ecosystems through a value network approach. Building on the quadruple helix model to identify the actors in these networks, this study explores the relationships and value flows between the actors of 22 identified creative networks across the UK. It then maps these relationships using data gathered through a mixed methodology that includes survey data and focus group research. Our findings show that creative networks operate as central nodes of the local creative ecosystem, functioning as a ‘glue’ inside the otherwise very heterogenous creative industries. From this position, creative networks can act as catalysts for sustainability. However, the economic, cultural, and social value created by creative networks is often overshadowed by other challenges including a lack of funding and a lack of understanding from policy makers or the public.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12352
Number of pages16
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2021
EventJoining the Dots - Zoom, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 30 Sep 2020 → …

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was conducted in conjunction with Cardiff University’s Creative Economy Unit, and with Creative Cardiff, a network that connects people working in any creative organisation, business or job in the Cardiff region. Find out more via (accessed on 20 September 2021).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • creative networks
  • value networks
  • creative industries
  • quadruple helix
  • creative ecosystem
  • sustainability


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