The partnership ‘Innovative Media and Music Heritage Impacting Vocational Education’ (IMMHIVE) is a cooperation network of organisations involving those working in the music industry and those designing and delivering vocational courses in education across Europe. Seeking out best practice as exhibited by its members, the partnership has explored the value of both innovative media (new) and music heritage (old) in relation to current industry and vocational education sectors (directly connected to music or not) in order to consider where and when connections might be made.

The context for the formation of this partnership is two fold:

Firstly, the advent of the ‘digital age’ has presented opportunities as well as major challenges to many areas of the creative industries and to education also. The music industries in particular have undergone some profound adjustments to their business models and practices. In these industries, the dominant companies, as in many other similar fields, have yet to respond adequately to the new cultural practices of online communities and the possibilities of creative practices. Innovative developments and initiatives however are emerging in independent sectors and a variety of cultural spaces – including in education – involving cross-collaboration, exploration and knowledge exchange.

Secondly, in recent years there has been prodigious growth in the attention given to music heritage – across both high and popular cultural forms. The partnership was conceived in the belief that heritage practices have a part to play in nurturing cultural identity and civic pride both locally and at a pan-European level.

The IMMHIVE partnership sought to explore responses to these contexts from within the music industry and its relationship with the education sector and related industries. The particular concern is with the contribution of vocational training and research to addressing current challenges and planning for skills development, exploring and capturing best practice as developed amongst the partners in order to produce resources that will aid in future cultural sustainability.

Across the two-year project, partners engaged in knowledge exchange in order to better understand the condition and needs of of the music industry and heritage sector in terms of skills, innovation informing vocational educational practice. Activities included exchange visits between partners; explorations of music industry conditions, development of the results as well as dissemination activities.

Thus, the partnership has sought to address Leonardo priorities of innovating in vocational training practices and enhancing the attractiveness of vocational training to those in the music industry through responding to the perceived needs of the labour market and creating closer links between education and cultural workers.

The production by the partnership of an accessible and sustainable digital resource records its cultural collaboration as well as insights into challenges and best practice responses to this context in the form of streamed interviews and discussions. This will immediately aid in addressing the current statement from the EU Committee on Culture and Education ‘Supporting artistic and cultural creation in the EU’ (see: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20130617IPR12334/html/Supporting-artistic-and-cultural-creation-in-the-EU):

“As a large share of the jobs created by cultural and creative industries are held by young people, universities and other training centres should adapt the training they offer so as to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship in young people. Synergies between training and research centres and firms working in these sectors should be better exploited through knowledge alliances, skills alliances, and professional platforms.”

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