El Grup de Recerca en Creativitat, Innovació i Transformació Urbana us convida a la conferència

Dr. Caroline Chapain

 The rise of co-working spaces in Europe: a new model of local creative communities?

30 de octubre a les 14:30
Aula Adam Smith
Facultat d´Economia i Empresa
Avinguda Diagonal, 690


The co-working space concept emerged in the mid-2000s in the United States (Fabbri and Charrue-Duboc, 2012) with the increase in telecommuting supported by the IT revolution. While recent work from Spinuzzi (2012) shows that ‘co-working’ may mean different things to both their proprietors and their members, Leforestier (2009: 3), reviewing the emergence of the concept, argues that ‘co-working consists in renting a desktop in an open space for a very flexible period. The space is shared by other people coming from very different backgrounds: entrepreneurs, associations, artists, students, researchers… The “co-workers” can interact so that everyone brings his own talent to a project, improving the outcome.’ The number of co-working spaces has grown rapidly in Europe in the last few years: from 20 co-working spaces in 2008 to more than 140 in 2012 (Entreprise Globale 2010; European Coworking Space Conference, 2010). The emergence of these types of spaces offers an alternative to coffee shops to respond to the challenges of working at home such as social isolation, distraction, lack of space to meet clients… for independent contractors, freelancers and professionals. In addition to offering basic services such as a desk, free Wi-fi and other IT and office facilities…, these spaces tend to offer formally or informally some forms of support to entrepreneurial activities notably through informal discussions with other co-workers or specific events and activities run by the space proprietors… (Leforestier, 2009; Fabbri and Charrue-Duboc, 2012; Spinuzzi, 2012). Many of these spaces have been associated with creative activities and various assumptions have been made about their positive impacts in terms of creativity, innovation, support to star-ups, social networking and the strength of weak cooperation… Interestingly, some authors describe co-working space as part of ‘a physical manifestation of the “techno-space” that facilitates greater public engagement and social interaction’ (O’Brien, 2011:1). However, little research has explored the economic geographic anchoring of these spaces and of the workers using them. This paper offers to fill part of this gap by providing a detailed literature review on the topic, an overview of the phenomena in Europe as well as an in-depth study of its manifestation in the UK building on detailed original survey data and interviews.

Caroline Chapain is a lecturer at the Business School, University of Birmingham. Previously, Caroline studied and worked in France and in Canada. From 2002 to 2005, she worked as a research advisor on public finance, economic development, and cultural issues for the Montreal Metropolitan Planning Organization. Since 2005, she has been looking at the way creative industries emerge, operate and develop at the local and regional levels in the UK and in Europe. She was part of ACRE, a FP6 project which aimed to assess the impact of the emerging ‘creative class’ and the rise of the ‘creative industries’ on the competitiveness of EU metropolitan regions. She was involved in a project looking at the links between creative clusters and regional innovation in Great Britain for NESTA (the British national agency for innovation). In the last two years she has been involved in various projects exploring the links between creative practices and online media as well as the development of creative systems for the Arts and Humanities Research Council Connected Communities Programme in the UK: one looking at ‘Complexity theory and the creative economy’, one looking at ‘Community film making and cultural diversity’ and a large project looking at ‘Community, Media and Creative citizenship’. Caroline co-chairs with Roberta Comunian and Nick Clifton the Regional Studies Association Network on Creative Regions in Europe. 

* Vegi en YOUTUBE una entrevista per part de INNOVA a Makers of Barcelona Co-working space