Locating design work
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Locating design work innovation, institutions and local labour market dynamics. by Tara Vinodrai

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Published .
Written in English


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"Creativity" and design are now viewed as critical to competitiveness in the contemporary economy. What is the geography of creative work? How is this geography produced and reproduced through local labour market dynamics and intermediary actors? What are the implications of these labour market dynamics and institutional configurations for the circulation of knowledge and practice throughout the regional economy? This dissertation argues for an occupational approach to understanding these questions. Such an optic focuses on careers, occupationally-specific practices, and the institutions and intermediaries that shape them, as well as illuminating how creative resources are deployed throughout the economy. This dissertation provides a detailed study of design work in Canada, with a specific focus on the labour market dynamics of industrial and graphic designers in Toronto.The research draws upon a diverse array of data sources, including data from the Canadian 2001 Census of Population and the Labour Force Survey, as well as in-depth interviews with practicing industrial and graphic designers and institutional actors. The dissertation documents the uneven geography of design work in Canada: design work is urban and designers work throughout the economy. A detailed analysis of the career paths of industrial and graphic designers in Toronto reveals that careers develop locally through movement between firms in different industries. This labour market circulation is shaped by precarious employment relations and is mediated by institutional and intermediary actors. Careers become socially and institutionally embedded through shared career paths and working for reputable designers or firms. Professional associations, through their model of governance, play a limited role in the circulation of knowledge. "Weak" institutions and the nature of design work limit designers" collaborations and engagements in spaces of learning outside of the firm. Such learning relies on shared context produced through combinations of geographic, organizational and occupational proximity, allowing for the exchange of tacit knowledge and trade-lore. Local labour market mobility, alongside the social and spatial practices of designers, reinforces a localized geography of learning and innovation and the local circulation of design practice. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of the theoretical and policy implications suggested by this research.

The Physical Object
Pagination203 leaves.
Number of Pages203
ID Numbers
Open LibraryOL21302577M
ISBN 100494076747

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