An interview with Elisabetta Lazzaro, Professor of Creative Economy at HKU.
You need creative professionals to do this
Elisabetta Lazzaro is the new Professor of Creative Economy at HKU. She will focus her research on the valorisation of the creative process and innovative business models for the creative industry.
Her professorship will contribute to a greater recognition of the value that creative professionals can generate, both within and beyond the creative industries. Artists need to ask themselves how they can better exploit their skills and abilities in less traditional jobs. Society must find an answer to the question what is the specific and overall importance of creative people?
Text: Edwin Verhoeven (editing by Tina Tomlow)
What attracted Elisabetta to HKU is its lively,
creative environment. "At HKU art and creativity are not just studied, but also
made. I find it a very dynamic environment, quite diverse, complementary and
open to the real world. While HKU is part of the creative sector, it has a real
impact on other aspects of society."
One of Elisabetta’s research topics is the
socio-economic value of the creative process. "This value is obviously
connected to creative individuals being able to make a living out of their
creative work and thinking. I am especially interested in how creativity impacts
Does society fully recognise the value it brings? "I think that’s not happening sufficiently. There is a need for these creative individuals to be recognized at a wider economic and societal level."
"Schools like HKU have the important role to equip these creative people
for a career in the creative sector. One problem is that at the end of a
traditional curriculum there is not enough space for everybody to be a 'traditional' actor, writer, visual artist, designer or musician.
important question for students is: How can I exploit my skills and abilities
in a wider range of jobs? This topic touches me personally, because pondered a
similar question during my studies. For me a straightforward academic career
was not completely satisfying. My field of cultural economics was extremely
I was able to enrich my curriculum by myself, with extra skills I
thought useful for my professional development. The role of the school is also
to help the professional to better identify, invent or create their own
profession. In an economically sustainable way."
Elisabetta and her research group have a research plan, which incorporates two main elements: the valorisation of the creative process and innovative business models for the creative industry. These business models will particularly consider creative entrepreneurship. Further research questions will include:
What are the mechanisms that allow innovative makers, for example in the music or gaming industries, to be economically successful? Covering these issues implies concrete empirical mapping and important synergies with other HKU professorships, education and learning programs and centres of expertise. The professorship will also discuss and test related existing general theories and models, and suggest possible improvements and more specific applications.
Talking about the valorisation of the creative
process, Elisabetta cites artistic intervention as an interesting example. "We
are already working on that. What can the contribution of creative
professionals to other sectors be exactly? Take for instance their role in
disentangling a company’s problem. They can play a crucial part in complex
situations, stimulating different approaches and inspiring alternative
It is important for creative professionals to claim their role. Do not let the companies have the impression they can fulfil that role themselves. A true artistic intervention can only be done properly by a trained creative professional."
Elisabetta on her educational career
"I studied piano at the Conservatory of Padua,
where I got my diploma in music theory, and trained in fashion design, which I
practised at my family business.
Then I graduated in Business Economics at
Venice University, followed by a Master in Cultural Economics at Paris
1-Sorbonne University, where I also obtained my PhD with a Thesis on Cultural
Economics jointly at the Free University of Brussels.
Important study and research fellowships in these and other countries allowed me to specialize in cultural economics through a diversified practical experience in various domains of the creative sector."
Elisabetta in her spare time
"I’m really fanatic about opera, from Monteverdi to contemporary works. I like art in all its forms; I’m an amateur dancer and photographer, and have been active in design. But opera... it’s a matter of intensity. So many different media incorporated there. I can also enjoy a dramaturgical play, but often I imagine a possible music intervention."