To what extent are the migrant workers related to creative industry in the era of Post-Fordism: taking Ningbo for an example

Posted: May 31st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Introduction

Within the recent twenty years, developed capitalist countries are in the process of promoting economic structure. As a part of global economy, China is also affected by this change. Now, in China, the most important thing is to change from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China’. Directed by this objective, creative industry has developed to a certain extent. However, as a basic constituent part, migrant workers’ roles in creative industry always ignored. Few people connect migrant workers with creative industry. Actually, as the typical subject of Post-Fordism, highly flexible and unstable of migrant workers fit to the features of creative industry, which is also the typical industry in the era of Post-Fordism, to a certain degree. However, question of what is the relationship between creative industry and migrant workers is arising. In order to discuss the question, this paper regards Ningbo, a second-tier city in Zhejiang province, as an example to analyze the relationship between creative industry and migrant workers in the era of Post-Fordism. The concept of Post-Fordism and its representation in contemporary China will be first presented. The relationship between creative industry and migrant workers will be then examined from three perspectives, with focuses on the creative production and consumption, the spatial distribution and the creative expression.

1. Post-Fordism and Its Representation in Contemporary China

Post-Fordism is a concept corresponding to the Fordism. Based on producing commercial article in a large scale on the production line, Fordism is a mode of production which regards standardized products and low prices as important means in business competition (Braverman 1974). Since 1950s, Fordism has been practiced by western companies generally. As a result, the golden age of capitalist economy occured. However, by the end of 1960s, the environment of world economy had changed, and the inherent disadvantages of Fordism emerged. In order to reply the crisis, developed capitalist countries began to promote economic structure (Alain 1987). In this process, two modes, Neo-Fordism and Post-Fordism, for resolving the crisis shaped regularly (Albritton et al. 2002). In the eye of the development of capitalist countries from 1990s, Post-Fordism represented the developmental direction of the mode of production. Comparing with Fordism, Post-Fordism is a mode of production based on information and communication techniques and to satisfy the individuating demands. And both the process of production and labor relations of Post-Fordism are flexible. Specifically, Post-Fordism includes flexible specialization and lean production. Flexible specialization means small quantity production done by skilled workers takes the place of quantity production on the production line. When consumer’s demand is changing, temporary groups for producing special products may be superseded by other associations. Lean production means companies set up close ties among research, production and sale departments. The innovation in both technology and product is important. In addition, companies should enhance core competitive in main areas and outsource the weak parts of production to other companies, Amin notes (1994).

Although Post-Fordism is used to describe the mode of production in western society, China is affected by it inevitably in the wave in economic globalization. Actually, the representation of Post-Fordism in China is obvious and even special. Now, in China, the transition of traditional industries is in progress. In order to move to a better position in industry chain, originality which can enhance the product added value is paid more attention. In other words, creative industry has become more and more important in the industrial structures in China. Actually, creative industry is a typical industry of Post-Fordism. Firstly, aiming at the various requirements, different creative products emerge in the market. The typical example is fake design. In fact, the invaluable asset of fake design is to satisfy the individuation demands of customers. It will be further discussed in following part. In addition, the various demands necessitated the small quantity and special production. Fake design can also be a good example. Moreover, because of the unstable market requirements, creative companies have to employ workers in a flexible way. Low-skilled workers were gathered and rejected casually. And because of a lack of creative power, Low-skilled workers are classified into low-level labor force, earning little money. (Fusheng & Lei 2005). In China, migrant workers are the main parts of these low-skilled workers. They usually get low-level job like serving for resort, recycling wastes and constructing infrastructures facilities of creative industry. And the employment is also temporary, after finishing the work migrant workers should find new jobs. It should be noted that the feature of no fixed abode helps migrant workers adapt doing odd jobs.

2. The Relationship Between Creative Industry and Migrant Workers in the Levels of Creative Production and Consumption

2.1 Creative Production

In general, migrant workers are considered as in the periphery of creative industry. Neilson (2008) points out that in China, the development of creative industry should be supported by the infrastructure construction. And with the development of creative industry, more businessmen have desire to exploit real-estate in the edge of the city. So, a flood of cheap labor is needed. Ned & Neilson (2008) also indicate large influxes of migrant works solve the problem of the lack of labor force. Of course, migrant workers who have few work skills usually do work in the lower echelon of the creative industry. Their labor is highly flexible. Within some dates, migrant workers may gather together to work in the building site. After building the house, they have to find another jobs, it may or may not building houses.

The example of migrant workers in Ningbo can be a good instance. Shiyong (2007) reports Ningbo is the big producer in manufacturing industry in China. In the era of Post-Fordism, innovation in traditional industries is in the process of transforming in Ningbo. In this process, local labor force is far from the requirement of development, more migrant workers are needed, as. Low-skilled migrant workers always do the low-level jobs in Ningbo, such recycling waste products and building houses (Shuli & Jialiang & Suoping 2008). By researching, the recycling industry is prospering in Ningbo. There are various recycle stations and markets, such as Nanmeng second-hand goods markets, Housun metal scrap recycling market, and Wangchun renewable resource recycling station. A large number of migrant workers work in the recycling industry. This situation is quite similar to migrant workers in other industries. Although migrant workers’ work is not directly related to creative production, they guarantee the operation and development of creative industry.

A Migrang worker carries bricks on his back. Behind him, there is a tall building. ( Yinzhou area in Ningbo)

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2.2 Creative Consumption

Migrant workers are usually in the low-end of value distribution of creative industry. People think that they do not have the ability to consume the creative products which contain more potential values. The whole imagination about migrant workers’ cultural consumption is connected to the tasteless performance of sings and dances or recreation in the low-grade KTV. Maybe these can be parts of portrayal of migrant workers’ cultural consumption. However, the innovative ability, in both production and consumption, of migrant workers cannot be ignored. Xiaoming & Jun (2008) points out that actually, in the process of transforming from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China’, a very special mode of creation which is called ‘Fake Design’ has appeared. Fake design began in the manufacturing of mobile phone in 2008 and developed in manufacturing of digital products. After that, fake design is popular in various industries. The interesting thing is that the fake design products naturally have the characters of Post-Fordism. The producers of fake design products have broken the mode of quantity production, designing specific products to cater for different needs of customers. The fake design products enabled underclass, especially migrant workers, to afford the creative products. Thus, migrant works are included in both creative production and consumption.

To take Ningbo for an example, fake design products are also quite popular in migrant workers. During the research, migrant workers’ mobile phones which can easily be recognized as the imitation of Nokia, Samsung and other famous brands attract my interests. Liu (2009) told me that he spent 490 RMB on the phone in which the term of Sunsung was printed. Fake design phones make migrant workers look like townsman in some ways. Obviously, without fake design products, they may not use phones because of the high prices.

Migrant Workers & Fake Design Mobile Phone

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3. The Relationship Between Creative Industry and Migrant Workers in the Levels of Spatial Distribution

The relationship between creative industry and migrant workers in the levels of spatial distribution should be considered from two aspects. The first perspective is about the relation of the geographic distribution between migrant workers and creative industry. Butt (2008) indicates that, on one hand, as the main mode of production of Post-Fordism, cluster production is very common in creative industry. By gathering spontaneously or planning governmentally or developing commercially, creative cluster always distributes in the special spaces in the city. Neilson, & Rossiter (2008) point out that the operation of cluster production needs more supporting infrastructure which can bring more opportunities of low-skilled work. So, a large number of migrant workers are desperate for work crowd in creative cluster. In China, creative clusters gather in both the center and the edge of a city, a large amount of migrant workers also can be founded there. On the other hand, the cost of living is a prime consideration for migrant workers, so they tend to dwell around the creative cluster rather than live far from them. And the liquidity of migrant workers provides possibility for them to move willfully. A common example is that, in China, around the construction site, there are numbers of miserable work sheds in which migrant workers dwell. After building the house, these miserable work sheds are dismantled, migrant workers should move again until to find another temporary job. This process occurs through a cycle.

The second perspective is about the relation of the social space distribution between migrant workers and creative industry. In the era of Post-Fordism, creative industry has replaced traditional manufacturing industry, becoming the principal sector of the economy to some degree in the city (Susan & Gordon & Harloe M 1992). The transformation of industrial structure leads to polarization of the society. People who are in the high-end of value distribution of creative industry chain have become the new elites, such as the designers and the developers of real-estate. People who are in the low-end of value distribution of creative industry are in the lower class of the society, like the migrant workers (Zhigang & Fulong & Hanlong 2004). The polarization of social class also reflects the geographic distribution of different classes in the city. Elite always distribute in the luxury condominium of the civic center and the suburban villa while lower class, especially the migrant workers, usually live together in the urban and rural connecting areas. And they build shanty or lease unadorned houses own by local peasants, characterized by similar native places and occupations.

In Ningbo there are 3 kinds of conditions of the relationship between creative industry and migrant workers. First of all, creative cluster in Ningbo mainly gather in the industrial parks of the periphery of the city, such as ‘Creative Valley’ in Zhenhai area and ‘Innovation 128’ in Yinzhou area, and lofts of the old city town, such as Loft 8 in Haishu area and No.3 factory in Jiangdong area, as Che (2009) notes. The lofts were reconstructed from old factories, surrounded by communities. Migrant workers merely appear in these areas. However, both the ‘Creative Valley’ and ‘Innovation 128’ are located in the edge of the cities. Although, these two creative industry parks operate in the early stage, migrant workers have already assembled in these places. The construction of infrastructural facilities needs more migrant workers. Che (2009) also points out that both of two parks are projects of real-estate. Migrant workers can find more low-skilled work there, such as carrying of bricks and recycling metallic scrap. Secondly, affected by recycling industries, numbers of migrant workers gather in the city villages. City villagers distribute in every sections of Ningbo. A recycling market near the city village can be always found. For example, Zhang (2009) who lives in Housun village in Haishu area of Ningbo told us that he has lived in city village for one year and a half. In the beginning, he and his neighbor were introduced to work here by his villager of Anhui Province. Every day, they collect metal scarp in the metal scrap recycling market near Housun village and do some simple processing. By doing this work, they can earn more money than farming in his hometown. However, he has to move house and find new job, because Housun village are in the process of demolishing. Actually, more city villages, such as Lianfeng villiage and Wangchun village, are in the process of demolishing because of the urbanization of Ningbo. By then, migrant workers may gather in new places which can provide low-skilled jobs (Tiefeng 2009).

Temporary Shanty

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City Village : ‘Wang Chun’ Village

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Thirdly, some migrant workers have relatively permanent home in Ningbo. This condition can be found in the creative industries which require some skills. The noticeable example is the textile and clothing industry. In fact, the transformation of textile and clothing industry in Ningbo has happened. Technical innovation was paid more attention to. Thus the requirement of work skills is relatively high. Some migrant workers have the abilities to work in textile mills and garment factories. And their problems of lodging are solved by enterprise. For instance, Ningbo Youngor clothing company, the top enterprises of textile and clothing industry in China, provides dormitories and supporting facilities for both local and migrant workers. The lives of migrant workers who have some work skills are relatively stable and they are called white-collar in migrant workers (Tan 2009).

4. The Relationship Between Creative Industry and Migrant Workers in the Level of Creative Expression

In our established thoughts, migrant workers merely related to the construction of infrastructural facilities of creative industry, the relationship between migrant workers and creative industry in the level of creative expression are not concerned. However, by digging, the deep relationship can be revealed. Guo (2009) indicates that the development of culture needs supporting of a stable and secure environment, while creation can be stimulated in the circumstance of uncertainties and fluidity. Thus, in this respect, the living environment of migrant workers can stimulate some new idea and new practices, no matter whose ideas and practices they are. TO view from another perspective, Blackwell (2008) represents that, migrant workers from different provinces congregated in the urban periphery, creating collisions among diverse experiences, skills and talents. These collisions provided a huge potential for innovation. Actually, the creative expressions, made by both migrant workers themselves and other creative producers, have arisen.

4.1 Self-Expression of Migrant workers

Recent years, migrant workers express themselves through various forms in China. In megacities, autobiography wrote by migrant workers are quite popular. Besides, lots of migrant workers are interest in poetical creation. In the first national poetry competition of migrant workers in 2008, more than 3000 migrant workers took part in the competition and over 20,000 poetries were handed in. All of these works express the state of surviving of migrant workers (They are migrant workers, they are poets 2008).

It seems that it is more possible for migrant workers to be stimulated to give voice to themselves in megacities. However, actually, in the Second-tier Cities, migrant workers are also interested in expressing their life and the methods for expressing are even quite special. In Ningbo, by researching several dwelling places, a general phenomenon is that migrant workers like to use something related to their works to beautify their environment. In Lianfeng village of Haishu area where rubbish collectors assembled, posters peeled from magazines, bottles, and decorations are used to decorate rubbish collectors’ houses. In a house, a dollar bill was stuck to the glass. Weng (2009) told me that he didn’t know which countries the bill belonged to, it was a memento of his life of collecting waste. Of course, these creative expressions are quite simple and their influences are limited, they can be considered as a channel for reading and understanding by other people in the same class and even higher classes (Yue 2008).

Actually, creative expression of migrant workers in Ningbo goes far beyond the simple way, instead, some cultural and artistic groups where members are all migrant workers have been established. Most of the groups perform just for enjoyment, and a few of them perform in public. Two groups named ‘Zhen Hai Art Ensemble’ in Zhen Hai area and ‘Wei Feng gongs and drums team’ in Jiang Dong area had performed publicly for several times (Zui & Yangyu & Yifen 2007). In addition, original painting exhibition drew by migrant workers is on show. The topics of these performances and works always closely related to the life of migrant workers, such as their love life, the housing problems and their expectation of life. Now, their performance has attracted artists and businessmen. Artists want to cooperate with these groups while businessmen desire to push their performances to the market. All of these seem that a creative cooperation crossed the boundaries is about to come forth.

Cultural and Artistic Groups of Migrant Workers

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4.2 Concern by Others

In China, more and more producers in creative industry bring migrant workers under the vision of creative expression. Two methods are always used. Firstly, designers add some characters of migrant workers in design. For example, a canvas shoe named ‘Ospop’ is now popular in European and American Market. In fact, this kind of shoes was improved from shoes of migrant workers in daily life. Secondly, migrant workers are taken as the objects for creation. The influential works are photography shows named ‘Frailty and Potential­­——Flowing at the Edgy’ in Beijing Library in 2006 and the exhibition of work shed in which migrant workers live in Shanghai Biennale in 2008.

Ospop &  Shoes of Migrant Workers in China

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In Ningbo, products affected by the characters of migrant workers do not emerge at the present moment. However, there are exhibitions concerned about the migrant workers. For instance, a photography show of periphery of the city lay out in Ningbo People’s Art Center. When the camera zooms in the tired old dress, the anxious look and low-skilled work, like opening stands and pedaling tricycle, the subsistent state of migrant workers is demonstrated. This demonstration is powerful, helping paying more attention to these bottom people, as Shen (2009), the photographer of the pictures, says.

Although positive evaluations of creative producers’ expression of migrant workers are primary, there are still some negative evaluations. Shi (2009) pointed out that, for migrant workers, the real changes brought by these expressions are slight. Moreover, because of the positions of higher level which creative producers are usually in, these expressions emphasize on displaying creative forms than real contents. Migrant workers serve as a means for revealing innovation. Lei Zheng, the sponsor of a migrant workers literary society named ‘Beijing Work Songs Literary Society’, supports this opinion. And, he also noted that, in this stage, the main glances of creative producers from superior attitudes to migrant workers are sympathetic and curious. (Lei Zhen: ‘Work Songs’ are Needed in This Era 2006). Thus, it is important for migrant workers to express themselves in innovative approaches, and achieving understanding. It may be a contradiction. Creative producers can help migrant workers gain more attention, but they cannot display the real life and emotion of migrant workers. Migrant workers can faithfully representing themselves but the influence is limited.

Conclusion

In contemporary China, creative industry has developed to a certain degree. However migrant workers are considered not relate to the creative industry. Actually, as the typical subject of Post-Fordism, migrant workers play important roles in developing creative industry. This paper takes Ningbo as an example to discuss the relationship between creative industry and migrant workers.

The first section is about the concept and background. The notion of Post-Fordism is first explained. Post-Fordism is a mode of production which is on the basis of information and communication technique and to satisfy the individuating demands. And both the process of production and labor relations of Post-Fordism are flexible. Then the representation of Post-Fordism in China is discussed. It can be found the migrant workers’ characters fitting to the creative industry to a certain extent. The second section examines the relationship between creative industry and migrant workers from the perspective of creative production and consumption. On one hand, large influxes of migrant workers solve the problem of the lack of labor force in creative industry. On the other hand, the fake design products provide opportunities for migrant workers to consume creative inductive. Thus, migrant workers are included in both creative production and consumption. The third section discusses the relationship between creative industry and migrant workers from the perspective of the spatial distribution. The creative industry affects the distribution of migrant workers from both geographic and social levels. The forth section talks about the relation between creative industry and migrant workers from the perspective of the creative expression, other people and migrant workers themselves have different methods of expression. Thus, in the paper, the relationship between creative industry and migrant workers are discussed from these three levels.

It should be noted that, from the subjective aspect, because of the time limitation more researches of literatures and field works of the relationship between migrant workers and creative industry are not done. From the objective aspect, multiple roles and effects of migrant workers in creative industry have not been admitted and the academic studies of them are also limited. Thus the discussion of relationship between migrant workers and creative industry in this paper is not very deep and comprehensive. They could be further researched in the future and of interest to the scholars or other people who are related to creative industry or migrant workers.

References:

‘They are migrant workers, they are poets’ 2008, West China, December 4, p. 15. Retrieved May 14, 2009, from http://wccdaily.scol.com.cn/epaper/hxdsb/html/2008-12/04/content_21093.htm

Alain, L 1987, Mirages and Miracles: The Crises of Global Fordism, Verso, London.

Albritton, R, Itoh, M, Westra, R & Zuege, A 2002, Phases of Capitalist Development: Booms, Crises, and Globalizations, Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Amin, A (ed.) 1994, Post-Fordism: A reader, Blackwell, Cambridge

Blackwell, A 2008, Inverting the Cultural Map: Peripheral Geographies of Beijing’s Creative Production, Urban China vol. 33, pp. 48-51.

Braverman, H 1974, Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century, Monthly Review Press, New York.

Butt, D 2008, Can You Manufacture a Creative Cluster?, Urban China, vol. 33, pp. 44-47.

Che, Xiao Fang (2009).  Interview, 20 May.

Fusheng, X & Lei, H 2005, Fordism, Neo-Fordism and Post-Fordism: On Evolution of Production Mode in Developed Capitalist Countries, Teacing and Research, vol. 8, pp. 36-42.

Guo, Jing (2009). Interview, 13 May.

Lei Zhen: ‘Work Songs’ are Needed in This Era 2006. Retrieved May 20, 2009, from http://gb.chinareviewnews.com/crn-webapp/doc/docDetailCreate.jsp?coluid=0&kindid=0&docid=100216247

Liu, Chao (2009). Interview, 7 May.

Neilson, B 2008, Labour, Migration, Creative Industries, Risk, Urban China, vol. 33, pp. 42-43.

Neilson, B & Rossiter, N 2008, Precarity as a Political Concept, or, Fordism as Exception, Theory, Culture and Society, vol. 25, pp. 51-72.

Rossiter, N & Yue, M 2008, Migrant Workers, Collaborative Research and Spatial Pressures: An Interview with

Meng Yue, Urban China, vol. 33, p. 33.

Shen, Yi Ming (2009). Interview, 7 May.

Shi, Yang 2009, I cannot Image Migrant Workers’ Life without Going Deep among Their Life. Retrieved May 20, 2009, from http://www.zgnmg.com/gb/news/renwu_detail.asp?id=2548

Shiyong, Z (ed.) 2007, Ningbo Industrial Annual Report, Ningbo Committee for Economic

Shuli, F & Jialiang, Sun & Suoping, G 2008, Characteristics and Roots of Migrant Workers’ Lives in Ningbo, Agriculture, Village and Peasant, vol. 5, pp. 70-72.

Susan, S & Gordon, FL & Harloe M (ed.) 1992, Divided Cities: New York and Affairs, Ningbo.London in the Contemporary world, Blackwell, Oxford.

Tan, Yi (2009). Interview, 13 April.

Tiefeng, X 2009, Methods for Rebuilding City Village in Ningbo, Retrieved April 15, 2009, from http://www.zgnmg.com/gb/news/renwu_detail.asp?id=2548

Weng, Xin Gen. Interview, 5 May.

Xiaoming, K & Jun, Jiang 2008, Prologue: Created in China: Bottleneck and Breakthrough of a Great Country in Industrial Transition, Urban China, vol. 33, pp. 14-19.

Zhang, Guo Liang (2009). Interview, 13 April

Zhigang, L & Fulong, W & Hanlong, L 2004, Social-Spatial Differentiation in China: A Case Study of Three Neighbourhoods in Shanghai, Spatial Differentiation, vol. 28, no. 8, pp. 60-67.

Zui, Chen & Yangyu, L & Yifeng, D 2007, Cultural and Artistic Groups of Migrant Workers are Everywhere Now. Retrieved May 12, 2009, from http://zjnews.zjol.com.cn/05zjnews/system/2007/10/23/008906798.shtml


Documentary Summary: Changes of Our Understanding of Creative Industry

Posted: May 22nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries, video | Tags: , , | Comments Off

My document is not about the specific contents of creative industry but about the change of our comprehension of it. Actually, by discussing in the classes and researching in the field, our understanding of creative industry has undergone conversations from narrow ones to comprehensive ones.

At the beginning of the course, we totally cannot find the relationship between creative industry and other areas, like real-estate, waste industry and maritime industry. Our understanding of creative industry was limited to the field of design. In our established thinking, creation always related to the production design, and the creative industry was merely lots of creative companies gathered in industrial parks or lofts. By directing with these thought, we chose creative industry parks in Shanghai and Loft 8 in Ningbo as our first places for researching. We wanted to study the present conditions and future development trends by comparing the differences of creative industry in these two cities.

The research in Shanghai offered us other angles of vision about creative industry. We began to know that both the words of ‘creative’ and ‘industry’ should be paid more attentions when we researched in Ningbo. So, we took an interview with a scholar in the office of creative industry in Technology University in Ningbo. By talking with the experts, on one hand, we got information of the condition of creative industry in Ningbo. On the other hand, we found that Chinese scholars may notice the relationship between creative industry and culture, but ignore the position of creative industry in the whole urban network.

After getting knowledge from the classes and seminars, we began to think about the position of creative industry in urban network, and do field work in relevant industries, such as waste industry and maritime industry, which are the important parts of urban network. Latter we have done an interview with the president of creative industry association of Ningbo. He introduced the whole development modes of creative industry in Ningbo. And he also mentioned other problems closely related to the development of creative industry, such as the increase of house estate prices and the construction of supporting facilities of creative industry, although he did not explain deeply. With his comprehensive introduce and our field works in different areas related to the creative industry, our understanding of creative industry is no longer as limited as before.

In conclusion, Ningbo has owned its development modes of creative industry. Under the government’s plan, creative industry areas and their supporting facilities are also established. However, in this stage, because of a lack of a whole industry chain, the positioning of creative industry in Ningbo is considered as to serve the foreign trade and manufacturing industry, and to be the venturing bases of creative industry itself. Like other cities in China, the development of creative industry leads some problems. For example, the prices of house located near the creative industry parks increases and more waste brought from creative industry need to be disposed scientifically.

There are many more problems related to the creative industry in Ningbo. So, more studies should be done by researchers who are interested in this topic in the future.

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Some notes about Neilson (2008) etc.

Posted: May 7th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries | No Comments »

The research of ‘Labor, Migration, Creative Industry, Risk’ done by Neilson (2008) mainly focuses on the relationship between migrant networks and creative industry. Migrant networks in China consist of Chinese migrant workers and foreigners. For the former, it seems that the relationship between migrant workers and creative industry is not very obvious. Migrant workers usually engage in manual work, but creative work is always mental labor. However, the deep relation should be dug. Both infrastructure construction of creative industry and exploiture of real estate which accompanies by the development of creative industry need a flood of cheap labor, Ned & Neilson (2008) also indicated in ‘Precarity as a Political Concept, or, Fordism as Exception’. Large influxes of migrant works solve the problem of a lack of labor force. For the later, as a special part of the migrations, foreigners who have professional knowledge have become a new power and bring international influence to creative industry in China. The cause-effect chain in these relations can be described as follows: cheap labors support the development of real estate, and then the development of real estate invests the creative industry. And the prospering creative industry offers a large amount of jobs for migrations, but drives original inhabitants. Ned & Neilson (2008 p.61) further point out that creative industry has a large capacity that ‘the highly diverse composition of precarity gathered around the sign of creative labor’.

Ross’s study of ‘The New Geography of Work: Power to the Precariou’s (2008) concerns about the features and conditions of migrant workers in creative industry. She points out that migrants play important roles but are always low-skill workers in creative industry. There will be no guarantee of their work condition and rights. However, their precarity can help escaping the state’s strictures and capitalist discipline.

Be different from the authors above, in the article of Migrant Workers, Collaborative Research and Spatial Pressures: An Interview with Meng Yue, Ned & Meng Yue (2008) place the migrant workers to a broader social space and discuss the creative life of migrant workers in the edge of the city. A great number of migrant workers assemble in the periphery of the city. However, their attitudes of the edge are quite complex. On one hand, they do not accept the edge as their home and do not want to locate in this place. Some of them hope to go back to their hometown, and others dreamed of melting into the real urban life. On the other hand, migrant workers recognize this life style to a certain extend. They always bring their folks. In addition, they tend to use something related to their works to beautify their environment. These can be considered as methods to express their life.

Neilson, Brett and Rossiter, Ned (2008) ‘Precarity as a Political Concept, or, Fordism as Exception’, Theory, Culture & Society 25.7/8: 51-72.

Neilson, Brett (2008) ‘Labour, Migration, Creative Industries, Risk’, Urban China 33: 42-43.

Ross, Andrew (2008) ‘The New Geography of Work: Power to the Precarious?’, Theory, Culture & Society 25.7/8: 31-49.

Rossiter, Ned and Meng Yue (2008) ‘Migrant Workers, Collaborative Research and Spatial Pressures: An Interview with Meng Yue’, Urban China 33: 44-47.


Ningbo Museum: Creative Architecture & Creative Exhibition

Posted: May 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries | Tags: | 1 Comment »

Ningbo museum is located in the south east district of Ningbo city, with an area of about 4 hectares, a floor area of about 30000 square meters and 16,000 collections. It is one of the eight cultural projects which Ningbo government majorly constructed. Drawing upon its two major advantages, creative architecture and creative exhibitions, Ningbo museum came to the fore in China which has all kinds of museums.

Ningbo Museum, 1000 Shounan Road (M), Yinzhou, Ningbo, China

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Creative Architecture

The style of architecture of Ningbo Museum is called ‘new interpretative attitude’. The idea of this style do not venerate the unchanging design patterns but stress to use local materials and methods in design. Ningbo museum is laden with a lot of cultural information of Ningbo. First of all, Ningbo museum is architecture of ‘half mountains and half houses’. The building has a list to the south which symbolized the local landform of mountain. An expanse of water traverses the major entrance, rounding the whole building. It indicates the development of Ningbo from ferry to estuary and thence to port.

Expanse of Water & ‘half mountains and half houses’

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Secondly, the main attraction of this museum is the ‘tile wall’ and special concrete wall. Millions of old tiles, involving blue bricks, keel bricks and tiles, since Ming and Qing dynasties were used to build up this museum. The meaning of this tile wall is equal to the idea of ‘collecting history’. Besides, the special concrete wall is made up by displaying the grain of bamboo on the wall. Bamboo can show the typical characters of the culture of south Yangzi River and impose the historical information. With this style of architecture, Ningbo museum itself becomes an exhibit.

Titles Wall & Bamboo Concrete Wall

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Creative Exhibitions

There five major exhibition halls to fully display the history and culture of Ningbo. The first one is the display of Ningbo history. Four specialties should be pointed out. Firstly, the structure of showing the history bases on the ecological construction which considered the historical development as the Y-axis and the turning points as the X-axis. Secondly, Ningbo museum uses the historical materials to support the display and cultural relics to provide the display. Thirdly, new technologies are used in exhibitions to deepen the understanding and feeling of visitors. Last, the geographic features of Ningbo gave prominence to the theme of ‘water’.

Ecological Construction & Historical Materials

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Multimedia & the Theme of Water

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The second exhibition hall is bamboo carvings. This exhibition hall displays traditional culture from both form and content. From the perspective of form, the Chinese traditional method of ‘borrow scenery’ and traditional exhibition shelves is applied in display to heighten visual effects. From the perspective of content, these collections are ‘the most important bamboo carving collection extant in China and is definitely ranked the top level of its kind whether judged by quality and quantity’ ( Shixiang & Jiajin n.d.)

‘Borrow Scenery’ and Traditional Exhibition Shelve

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The third exhibition hall is the display of Ningbo customs consisted of Ningbo old-established brands, Ningbo wedding customs, Ningbo houses, Ningbo calendar, Ningbo craftsmanship and Ningbo opera and dialect. All these customs were the hallmark in Ningbo history and culture.

Ningbo Customs.

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The remaining two exhibition halls are respectively special exhibition of royal jewel and art works donated by Shao keeping. Special exhibitions always changed with the plans of display.

Princes Gold & Silver Works

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With these creative elements, Ningbo museum has become  a particular cultural palace where people understand history and learn more about the world.


Notes about ‘Inverting the Cultural Map: Peripheral Geographies of Beijing’s Creative Production’

Posted: May 4th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries | Tags: | No Comments »

Be different from North America and Europe, creative clusters of Beijing were always at the edge of the city. These were many factors for this phenomenon. Firstly, experimental artists gathered spontaneously at the outer regions. Secondly, the unstable political situation further made the artists migrate obscure places. Last but not least, the government made an important role. It made comprehensive plans for the distribution of creative clusters in the urban periphery.

There were two modes of ex-urban sprawl. One was village intensification. Local peasants did not have the proprietary rights of land. They just developed it and rented the houses to migrate workers through informal ways. These migrants usually worked in the labor intensive creative industries, such as serving vacation village, constructing art villages and so on. The other was expansive new development areas. These included artist’s villages, art gallery and art districts, software parks, leisure spaces, conference hotels, spas and theme parks.

It should consider of the opportunities and challenges from four perspectives. First of all, the creative industries were scattered to the out regions of the city. At beginning, artists’ choices of renting the edge of the city were because of the low rent. However, with the development of houses and studios at the edge, the phenomenon of luxury housing here were more and more obvious. And the creative production was even controlled by governments and real-estate developers. Fortunately, the cultural diversities in Beijing’s periphery can lead to new understanding and developmental modes for people to periphery. Secondly, Beijing government tolerated migrant workers to reside in the villages which are developed illegally because migrant workers contribute more to the urban economy. Thirdly, international and Chinese labor force congregated in the urban periphery. The collisions of diverse experiences, skills and talents of international and Chinese labor force provided a huge potential for innovation. Fourthly, the combination of the powerful central government and the weak regulatory framework offered opportunities for urban development. The strong government guided the developmental direction and ensured the implement of policies while the weak regulatory framework created chance s for migrant workers to empower themselves, achieving equal rights.

References

Blackwell, Adrian (2008) ‘Inverting the Cultural Map: Peripheral Geographies of Beijing’s Creative Production’, Urban China 33: 48-51.


Fu Hanqing’s Essay Question (The final one)

Posted: April 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries | 1 Comment »

By reading the materials and researching on the migrant workers in  Ningbo, I found that I was interested in the study of mingrant workers. So, I changed my topic.

This essay will discuss the features of migrant workers in the era of Post-Fordism and consider that as the subject of Post-Fordism, how the migrant workers relates to the development of creative industries in Ningbo.


Tian Zi Fang: Creative Industry in Lane

Posted: March 31st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries | Tags: | No Comments »

Tian Zi Fang is located on the TaiKang Road, NO.210. Distinguished from other creative industry parks which artists spontaneously clustered in, Tian Zi Fang was firstly planned and constructed by government.

Tian Zi Fang, Tai Kang Road, NO.210 (from internet)1195915551

Old Lanes and New Stores 1 (by Fu Hanqing)img_01982

Old Lanes and New Stores 2 (by Fu Hanqing)img_0210

Direction Boards in Patio (by Cristal)dscf0088

Recently, workshops and warehouses in the lanes nearly stamped out in Shanghai. However, in Tian Zi Fang, the traces of workshops and warehouses were kept in a new cultural formation. Shops and studios reconstructed from these workshops have brought the fashion and breath and art atmosphere to stone-ringed door. In other words, creativity was melted in daily life in Tian Zi Fang.

Harmonious (by Cristal)

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Besides the hybrid of old community and new industry, another hybrid happened between Chinese and foreign cultures. Foreigners were no longer the tourists in Tian Zi Fang, but the hosts of the art studios and stores. Foreigners in Tian Zi Fang were attracted by Chinese culture, and also brought their own cultures. Collisions of various cultures sparked creative ideas in Tian Zi Fang. Now, Tian Zi Fang has become a veritable creative industry park.

Design and Community (by Fu Hanqing)

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Mix (from internet)

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Fu Hanqing’s essay question

Posted: March 29th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries | Tags: , | No Comments »

My essay question is : feasibility analysis of building a creative industry chain in Ningbo.


Ningbo: Creative Industry, or just Creative Companies?

Posted: March 29th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries | No Comments »

There are two main indexes to judge whether creative industry or creative economy has shaped in a place. To view from the content, the place which has creative industry always has industrial design, architectural design, cartoon creation, computer games, film & TV production, advertisement project, products design, handicraft making, the trade of work of art, music & performing arts, fashion design, and so on. To view from the market, the place which has creative economy usually has creative industry chain included the training of talents for creative industry, creative project planner, marketing strategy of creative products, consumer-orientation and government policies for supporting the creative industry.

According to these two indexes, creative industry has not yet shaped in Ningbo. Because creative trades in Ningbo just concentrates on a few areas like TV production, advertisement project and fashion design. And the development level of creative industry is inferior to it in metropolis like Shanghai, Beijing and Hongkong. Besides, creative industry chain has not shaped in Ningbo too. First, government support to creative industry in Ningbo is far from enough. The host of loft 8 said that actually Ningbo government does not completely know what creative industry is. For them, creative industry is meaningful for the image of Ningbo. Secondly, creative industry in Ningbo lacks of talents. People in Ningbo tend to work in not culture-related areas but economy-related areas. Thirdly, under the control of aesthetic taste, consumers in Ningbo do not pay for the creative products. To sum up, maybe we can say that there is no creative industry but creative companies in Ningbo.