With the emergence of third places, there is renewed interest in research for the spatial dimension (Paris & Raulet (ed.), 2016). These works can be related to an old tradition of research in the creative industries, where concentration has been an fact observed for a long time.
The high concentration of the global film industry in Hollywood has thus been studied in depth (Scott, 2005). Other places are associated with a strong creative dynamism at a given period: Paris for cubism (Sgourev, 2013), Vienna for sciences and arts (Andersson, 1985), New York, Liverpool or Nashville for music (Power & Hallencreutz, 2007, Power, 2008)... Today, cities such as Montreal or Barcelona (Cohendet et al., 2009, Cohendet, Grandadam, & Simon, 2010) are renowned as “creative territories”.
In the creative industries, the role of collectives in the dynamics of these sectors is another characteristic to be taken into account, to the extent that sometimes it is not easy to know if the creativity is the fact of the place or the collective that unfolds there.
None of the explanations about the role of territories in the creativity of a creative industry allow us to understand the extraordinary creativity that seemed to spring from the “atelier Nawak”, a workshop similar to all others, where the authors experienced something very ordinary.
We now propose to study in detail this very singular case, that of a place associated with great creativity, and which defies the classical theoretical explanations through the following question: what was the role of the "Atelier Nawak" in the great creativity that the authors have known?
Our study focuses on the “Atelier Nawak”, at the heart of this article through a unique case study (Yin, 2012) via a qualitative methodology (Dumez, 2016). The heterogeneous material collected was coding through a combination of findings coming from the data (grounded theory), as well as from existing theory (Ayache & Dumez, 2011) in order to prevent any risk of circularity (Dumez, 2016).
(1) A series of free interviews was conducted with past actors in the workshop. We have interviewed the following authors:
- Christophe Blain
- Frédéric Boilet
- Matthieu Bonhomme
- Gwenn de Bonneval
- Marc Boutavant
- Émile Bravo
- Nicolas de Crécy
- Jean-Pierre Duffour
- Jean-Yves Duhoo
- Brigitte Findalky
- Emmanuel Guibert
- Dominique Hérody
- Jean-Christophe Menu
- Hélène Micou
- Thierry Robin
- Fabrice Tarin
- Lewis Trondheim
(2) In addition, a series of documents testifying to the history of the workshop or the history of the comic strip industry in France have been and will continue to be analysed.
The analysis of the different data collected allows us to propose a new reading of places of innovation in the creative industries by highlighting a lighting effect and a rationalization a posteriori.
Indeed, some successes having known a critical and public visibility, the glances turned towards this place. For example, we can cite the success of one of the authors of the workshop, Marjane Satrapi and her work Persepolis, which led to the feeling, for the actors of the comics industry, of a new market, and then, led them to turn to the place from which it emerged.
The revelation of this new market has combined with the identification of authors who can feed it, and the promotion by publishing houses of the work of these authors. In this explanatory model, the success of an individual of the place attracting the glances, it facilitates the access to the market of all the individuals of this place and involves, a posteriori, a rationalization of this success whereas this place does not present no remarkable features.
Thus, the myth of the Nawak Workshop, was built in time, according to the success of the works or the careers of its authors.
Contribution to Scholarship
This research allows us to give a new explanation on the role of places in innovation and more specifically in the creative industries.
Contribution to Practice
The managerial results highlight three main contributions.
Diversity: the object is multifaceted according to the authors.
Dynamic: the object is evolutive and inscribed in a sectoral dynamic.
Not deterministic: the place does not have sufficient conditions for its effects.
This research highlights a new explanation of the role of places in the creative industries.
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