King's College London

Research portal

Cultural and creative ecosystems: a review of theories and methods, towards a new research agenda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-353
JournalCultural Trends
Issue number4
Published15 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Manfredi de Bernard would like to acknowledge the on-going AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council) Collaborative Doctoral Award received via the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP) to complete the MPhil/PhD Culture, Media and Creative Industries Doctoral Programme at King's College London in collaboration with Creative United, grant reference number AH/R012679/1. Dr Roberta Comunian and Dr Jonathan Gross would like to acknowledge the European Union Horizon 2020 funded project DISCE (Developing Inclusive and Sustainable Creative Economies), grant agreement N. 822314 for the opportunity to develop further some of the ideas presented in the paper. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

King's Authors


This paper provides a systematic and critical review of the literature on cultural and creative ecology and ecosystems. There has been a growing use of ecological language in relation to the cultural and creative sectors within both research and policymaking. However, there is little consistency in the terms employed, with considerable slippage in meanings and application. The paper, therefore, undertakes a two-stage review of the literature. First, a systematic review analysing the content of 56 publications identified within Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar. Secondly, a critical review examining definitional and terminological inconsistencies, the boundaries and geographical scales of cultural and creative ecosystems, and the range of methods and data employed. Here we clarify the relationship between ecological approaches and previous framings such as “creative industry” and “creative economy”. The paper concludes by proposing an agenda for future research, seeking to consolidate the research field and support ecological policymaking.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454