The research department focuses on the complex interplay between economic activities and learning, on the one hand, and spatial and institutional structures on the other. The department dedicates much of its research to analysing the significance and impact of knowledge and how creative processes are organised. Knowledge enables social action and underlies economic activity, too. This is reflected in the department's empirical research agenda which aims to systematically compare economic innovations. In this context, special attention is given to the processes whereby innovations unfold and to the way such innovations are regionally embedded.
Researchers also analyse new forms of organised creativity, as well as highly volatile types of work. They are particularly interested in how creative endeavours remain adaptable, despite the uncertainty that is inherent to creative processes. The scholars apply the concept of “valuation”, which is widely used in the field of creativity research, allowing them to study the social construction of values and the emergence of markets.
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