Research Group

Creativity and Work

The Research Group is interested in the interactions between creative processes, work and processes of economic and social change. In this context, local manifestations of dynamics such as digitalisation, social transformation processes and increasing multilocality of gainful employment are investigated. The Research Group explores creative solutions in dealing with uncertainties in volatile labour markets, asks about the effects of social, organisational and technological innovation processes on spatial developments and examines new forms of translocal entrepreneurial activities. A special focus is placed on the world of work - whereby work covers the entire spectrum from gainful employment to intrinsically motivated creation. The Research Group is interested in novel forms of work in the course of the digitalisation of knowledge and creative work, as well as in dealing with the new forms of uncertainty associated with this. The Research Group develops courses of action for regional innovation and economic policies that explicitly cross territorial borders. The research contributions are predominantly located in economic and social geography.

Ongoing Projects

How can regional innovation policies be developed in structurally weak regions that mostly lack a critical mass of actors, institutions and a "creative buzz" to generate innovations from endogenous potentials? The research project "Strong through Open Innovation Regions" aims to close this explanatory gap by systematically interweaving regional conditions (regional innovation ecosystems) and supraregional references (translocal innovation ecosystems). To this end, we are developing an original contribution to the conceptual sharpening of societal innovation capacity with the Social Open Innovation Region (SOIR) approach. more

Arguably unlike any other pandemic before, COVID-19 has been monitored and mapped in detail, enabling fine-grained analysis. So far, the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic followed a non-linear trajectory known from previous pandemics with a wave pattern implying phases of acceleration and deceleration. This research project starts from the premise, that there is unused potential in using tempo-spatial data to understand pandemic outbreaks. It aims to analyze the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany through a process perspective to detect spatio-temporal patterns of diffusion. more

CORAL aims to unpack the latent dynamics and impacts of collaborative workspaces (hereafter CWS, such as coworking spaces, fablabs, creative hubs etc.) in rural and peripheral areas and integrate them as development tools in local and regional policies to open up new potentials for socio-economic development. Whereas we have observed the rapid rise of CWS in urban agglomerations in the past 15 years, there is now a gradual rise of CWS in rural and peripheral areas too. The CORAL project will offer specialised and tailor-made training to 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESR: PhD candidates), helping them to better understand and support the development processes of CWSin rural and peripheral areas and their wider impacts at the local and regional level as well as at the level of the individual worker and the enterprise. more

The dissertation project addresses the question to what extent the constitution of creative everyday spaces is changed by a combination of on/offline spaces. How do working practices change? To what extent are interactions and spaces expanded or changed and what new (digital) hurdles arise? Using fashion design as an example, the online platform Instagram is identified as an influential actor in the socio-technical everyday fabric of fashion designers and the role of the platform in shaping practices and spaces is critically assessed. more

The IRS is a participant in the “Innovation Hub13 – fast track to transfer”, a project funded as part of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research's (BMBF's) “Innovative Hochschule” initiative, and obtained by the Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau and the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg. Prof. Dr. Suntje Schmidt developed the sub-project “Open Region: Regional Challenges as Starting Points for Innovation”, which resides at the intersection of innovation promotion and regional development. The aim of the project is to create the conditions for the integration of until now unconsidered innovation actors, in order to develop cooperative solutions for regionally relevant problem areas in Brandenburg. more