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Higher Education and the Creative Economy: Creative Graduates, Knowledge Transfer and Regional Impact Debates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-383
Number of pages13
JournalGeography Compass
Issue number7
PublishedJul 2015


  • Geography_Compass_preprint

    Geography_Compass_preprint.pdf, 710 KB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:28 Jul 2015

    Version:Submitted manuscript

    This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article:
    Comunian, R, Gilmore, A, and Jacobi, S (2015), Higher Education and the Creative Economy: Creative Graduates, Knowledge Transfer and Regional Impact Debates. Geography Compass, 9, 371–383,
    which has been published in final form at [10.1111/gec3.12220]. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving:

King's Authors


This paper highlights the growing importance of interdisciplinary research at the intersection between higher education, creative industries and growth of regional creative economies. The paper not only focuses specifically on the UK context but also encompasses issues of further international interest and debate. It undertakes a review of existing literature on the cultural role of higher education institutions (HEIs) and points to recent research on HEIs' increasing importance for embedding creative graduates into a region. We not only illustrate how this area of research aligns with the concepts of the ‘creative city’ and the ‘creative class’ but also consider how talent attraction and retention processes include HEIs and art schools as part of a richer understanding of the creative economy as a contextualised production system. Furthermore, we investigate the role of HEIs as so-called ‘third spaces’ for creative knowledge transfer, which in recent years has become a popular cultural and higher education strategy to address the difficulties of feeding creative and cultural knowledge into the wider economy. The paper concludes by highlighting future avenues for cross-disciplinary research in three areas: communities of practice, local stakeholder management and a shared community agenda, to inform further policy and development in this area.

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