Project 2.2 Inter-Professional Learning in the Creative and Cultural Sector

Project 2.2 Inter-Professional Learning in the Creative and Cultural Sector

Project Name: Project 2.2 Inter-Professional Learning in the Creative and Cultural Sector
Project Leader:
David Guile
Other Project Team Members:
Rachel Wilde
Project 2.2 Inter-Professional Learning in the Creative and Cultural Sector

Project Details

"What forms of expertise and resources are required for inter-professional project-based work?"

The focus of this research area is on inter-professional project-based work (IPPW), which is the most common way of organising economic activity in the Creative and Cultural sector – a recognised UK economic strength (Treasury/BIS, 2011), and is gradually spreading to other sectors. This increasingly important form of work involves teams of professionals being constituted from a mix of large companies, Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) and freelancers. Such team are either bound together by contractual arrangements that only run for the life of the project or are part of longer-lasting socio-professional networks that are members sustain over time by regularly re-contracting with one another.

Despite some research in, for example, Economic Geography, Organizational Science, Workplace Learning, little is known about: (i) the modes of expertise required in IPPW; (ii) the work practices that assist members of IP teams to share their expertise with one another; (iii) how IPPW contributes to economic growth; and, (iv) the implications of IPPW for extant models of professional and vocational learning.

The project is investigating the following questions:

  • what is distinctive about learning and expertise in IPPW?
  • how far are these findings generalisable to other sectors?
  • what challenges does this pose for national policies for skills?

Drawing on concepts from Social Theory (‘Networked Society’), Economic Geography (‘Project Ecologies’ and TKDs), Organizational Science (‘Organising Processes’), and, Learning Theory (‘Object of Activity’; ‘Recontextualisation’), the team is creating a new inter-disciplinary framework to investigate the relation between IPPW, economic growth and education. Specifically, the team are seeking to identify: (i) why professionals engage in IPPW; (ii) how IPPW is changing in response to new technologies, governance regimes and economic imperatives; (iii) how professionals learn to share existing knowledge with one another and create new knowledge through projects; and (iv) what forms of expertise and resources are required for IPPW. The team will assess the implications of this investigation for: (a) other sectors; and, (b) national policies for skills.

Research on IPPW requires a very different unit of analysis compared with the focus of research on traditional forms of work and learning. This is because the unit of analysis has to capture the complex interlocking set of relationships, networks and modes of expertise that sustain projects, rather than individual or clusters of firm(s). To do so, the team will use a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. The first database of the slim extant research on IPPW will be compiled, and made available to other researchers via the LLAKES website. Using members existing contacts with bodies, such as, Design and Art Directors Agency (D&AD), the team will gain access to ongoing and new IPPW projects. Observations, interviews, and access to digital communications (emails/tweets etc), will enable the team to develop a longitudinal qualitative perspective on, and to produce case studies of, IPPW.  These case studies will provide the ideal basis for answering the research questions.

Research findings

Project publications:

Conference presentations

Guile, D., Organisational Learning, Knowledge and Capabilities (OLKCs), Milan, 2015 – 'Interprofessional working and learning: the formation and instantiation of epistemic and entrepreneurial judgements'

Guile, D., Journal of Vocational Education and Training Conference, Oxford, 2015 - 'Expertise, project teams & internship: the limitations of the novice-to-expert trajectory and the challenge for "skills policy"'