Kim-Marie Spence

Kim-Marie Spence is a postdoctoral researcher at Southampton Solent University and a Rhodes Scholar. Her research focuses on the global cultural economy and policy, appearing in journals such as Journal of Arts Management, Law & Society. Kim-Marie has also published a book (with Christiaan De Beukelaer) called Global Cultural Economy. Her PhD in Cultural Policy at the Australian National University (2019) involved a comparative analysis of cultural policy responses to popular music industries focusing on K-pop (South Korea) and Reggae (Jamaica). Kim-Marie has also presented at seminal conferences such as the International Cultural Policy Research, Social Theory, Politics & the Arts, presenting globally in Australia, Jamaica, South Korea, the United Kingdom among others. Kim-Marie’s cultural industries experience includes policy and practice. She was previously Head of Creative Industries/Film Commissioner in Jamaica and UNESCO consultant. She is a member of associations including the Association of Cultural Studies a and the Australia Association of Caribbean Studies. She also sits on the boards of creative organisations in Jamaica and Australia.

Digital Intercultural Exchange – The Case of Nollywood

Digitalisation is more than a technological phenomenon. It can also result in creative survivalism to address historical structures of disadvantage (Lobato & Thomas 2012, Lobato 2010). Likewise, it can sustain systems of disadvantage (Mann 2011, 2016, Nurse 2000, Howard 1999). The case of Nollywood demonstrates both (Lobato & Thomas 2012, Lobato 2010). While digitalisation fosters intercultural communication, it also demonstrates the liminality of the global cultural economy. The global cultural economy itself represents a historic system of economic flows (De Beukelaer & Spence 2018).  In this paper, I analyse some issues regarding regimes of power inbuilt within the global cultural economy and how second-mover cultural industries can utilise digitalisation to address them, while recognising limits to digitalisation’s articulation of change. Nollywood utilised ‘piracy’ as an informal distribution model that extended all over the African continent to North America and beyond. Nollywood therefore became a globally known phenomenon, despite its existence outside of and lack of access to the formal film distribution system (Frederiksson 2014, Scott 2004, 1999). The Nollywood case therefore is demonstrative of the opportunities offered by digitalisation for a second-mover cultural industry in response to historical economic structures they lack access to. However, digitalisation has not led to a restructuring of globalised practices and flows within the global film industry. Global ‘Western’ distribution remains most lucrative and the response to Nollywood’s growing popularity has been absorption within the pre-existing system, resulting in Nollywood films on the Western digital counterparts of Netflix and Amazon. While Nollywood’s success might not have resulted in the establishment of an alternative to the Hollywood-centric distribution system, the ability of Nollywood to garner international attention through digitalisation and the creative survivalism of Nigerian entrepreneurs provides a roadmap to other second-mover industries.  

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