The International Handbook on Social Innovation
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The International Handbook on Social Innovation

Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research

Edited by Frank Moulaert, Diana MacCallum, Abid Mehmood and Abdelillah Hamdouch

The contributors provide an overview of theoretical perspectives, methodologies and instructive experiences from all continents, as well as implications for collective action and policy. They argue strongly for social innovation as a key to human development. The Handbook defines social innovation as innovation in social relations within both micro and macro spheres, with the purpose of satisfying unmet or new human needs across different layers of society. It connects social innovation to empowerment dynamics, thus giving a political character to social movements and bottom-up governance initiatives. Together these should lay the foundations for a fairer, more democratic society for all.
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Chapter 5: Social innovation through arts and creativity

Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research

Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay and Thomas Pilati


In the context of an economy based on knowledge and symbolism, researchers are increasingly interested in the ‘creative society’ and the essential role of creativity as a major resource for professional and recreational activities and for social innovation conducive to socio-economic development. It is hypothesized that creativity plays a fundamental role in social innovation as well as in economic and social development since it gives a competitive edge to organizations for the development of new social forms and for knowledge accumulation. (Sacco and Tavano Blessi 2005). In this chapter, we will look at the manifestation of social innovation in the arts and culture-creative sectors. The case of Tohu will illustrate the role of territory and the creative city in relation to social innovation. Tohu, in Montreal, is an example of culture-driven urban revitalization based on a model similar to the ‘evolved cluster’ or ‘proactive cultural district’ (Sacco and Ferilli 2006), which is clearly based on social innovation in a creative sector.

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