Future Trends Series
The Future Trends series explores different aspects of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 (UK CoC 2021). It aims to provide accessible, research-led accounts of issues related and relevant to the development of the UK City of Culture programme.
The Reasons to Co-Create paper was released in December 2022.
The paper begins by asking the question: co-creating is difficult, so why do it?
Co-creation is a popular term but the outcomes of co-creative practices and the reasons for doing it are poorly understood. This is a problem because, arguably, the value of co-creation cannot be understood independently of the reasons for which people co-create.
The value of co-creation is best understood in terms of what makes co-creation meaningful to those who participate.Reasons to Co-Create (page 3)
- is a process (i.e. collaboration) that involves multiple stakeholders, who each come to the table with their own intentions and interests for the collaboration
- eventually creates something that would not have come about had the stakeholders been working in silos. This ‘something’ can manifest in many ways
- endeavours to create something that is meaningful to all collaborators. This aspect of meaning-making renders co-creation an apt object of investigation for the arts and humanities.
The paper includes two case studies that illustrate co-creation in practice during UK CoC 2021:
- Theatre Next Door: Coventry’s community centres joined forces to bring high quality performances to communities
- Radford Bubbles Exhibition: community leaders in the Radford ward set up a UK CoC 2021 portrait photography project to take a snapshot of life during the pandemic; creating memories for future generations.
Recommendations for future co-created events are to:
- identify imperatives and reasons for group co-creation in different contexts
- study meaning-making in the context of co-creation
- allow co-creation activities to be benchmarked, while respecting the principle that co-creation has to be assessed on grounds that are meaningful to those involved in specific projects
- examine the patterns between the why, how, and what of co-creation.