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Digital Living

Digital Living includes research interests in the social and economic impact of the digital creative industries. New forms of creativity and approaches to product and service innovation have resulted in new social behaviours in online communities and new forms of collaborative working. Digital commerce and online markets have led to the emergence of new business models, marketing strategies, regulatory and business practices.

Value in the Creative Industries, and particularly in the growing markets for online products and services, can be observed and measured in a number of ways.  Beyond market value, entertainment and cultural products have social and cultural value that are tangible as human capital, creativity, innovation and quality of life that demand new methods for understanding, analysis and measurement of direct and indirect forms of value.

Researchers at Abertay University are working with partners in the commercial and public sectors on a range of projects that explore notions of value and the development of policy, regulations and tools that support the enhancement and exploitation of value.

Moving Targets

Principal Investigator: Prof. Gregor White
Co-Investigator: Dr Dayna Galloway

Moving Targets seeks to create an innovative and sustainable knowledge exchange mechanism, which fulfils the Scottish Creative Media sector's need to respond to the emerging market trends of global consumers by devising and developing new models to engage new audiences. Demand-led by industry, Moving Targets facilitates the flow of knowledge between the key researchers, producers, policy makers and consumers of Creative Media.

Moving Targets is structured through three complementary KE Centres located at Abertay University, the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art. Abertay is the lead institution for these KE Centres. At each centre, key academics supervise Knowledge Exchange Associates (KEAs).

A range of project outcomes include a number of publications, reports and book chapters, guidelines and recommendations, methods and processes and collaborative software tools.


Changing Business Models in the Creative Industries: The cases of Television, Computer Games and Music 

Business Models for the Creative Economy
Commercial business models for a fast changing industry

Moving Targets Conference Special Section of Participation Journal of Audience and Reception Studies.  Volume 10 issue 2
Stop just making stuff! Listening, co-creation and sustainability in independent game development.
Documenting debate: Online communities and the expansive interactive documentary.
Stiki: Audience Engagement and co-creation toolkit.

Institute for Capitalising on Creativity

ICC is a unique partnership of leading researchers, educators and institutions concerned with the Creative Industries. We focus on industry research and knowledge transfer, postgraduate education, and networking between public bodies, creative enterprises and academics.

Our work is inter-disciplinary, working beyond traditional boundaries between for example strategic management, accounting, and human resource management. Instead we develop understanding of elements and inter-relationships of capital--intellectual, cultural, and social--and how these distinct forms can be traded for economic capital.

The Institute combines the talents of a College of Art, a Conservatoire, a new and an ancient university. These creative collaborators are recognized as being at the forefront of their fields, each possessing discrete skills and research expertise in a range of creative areas.

  • University of St Andrews School of Management
  • Abertay University School of Arts Media and Computer Games
  • Dundee University Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design
  • The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland


Institute for Capitalising on Creativity Website


Managing Creativity
Exploring the Paradox

Economic & Social Research Council CASE Studentship

Candidate - Christopher Lowthorpe - An investigation of games design processes. ESRC CASE Studentship sponsored by Denki Ltd

Design in Action

Co-Investigator: Professor Louis Natanson
Postdoctoral Research Assistant: Dr Suzanne Prior

New ideas are the lifeblood of every good business. Large and small, corporation or entrepreneur, it’s the ideas that drive us forward. After all, most of our failures are not failures of data, but of imagination. Doing things in new ways, solving problems and pushing boundaries are the essence of any good economy.

Good ideas happen in the most unlikely and sometimes most inconvenient of ways. Inspiration, so often elusive, can hit us at the most awkward of moments. Why? Because the ultimate solutions to problems are rational, but the process for thinking them is not.

The Abertay University research group are responsible for the scoping of the Sports Sector and are investigating how design and knowledge exchange can help in breaking down barriers to participation.

Our research looks at how the design and development of interactive tools can enable community growth, knowledge exchange and learning. In addition we are investigating how innovation and design emerge from the actions of collaborations such as those found in virtual communities, educational communities, face to face communities and support communities.


Design in Action Website


The pop-up ethnographer: roles of the researcher in temporary spaces
Understanding audiences from industry sectors in knowledge exchange

Arts and Humanities Research Council Studentships  

Colin Gray - Online Entrepreneurial Development: A "Bite Sized" Learning Design Model for Optimum Educational Engagement in Entrepreneurs
Sarah Morton - Brand Building in Rural Scotland: Using a design-led, knowledge exchange approach to holistically grow a community of practice within the adventure sports industry

The Code Bar

Principal Investigator: Dr Margaret Hartnett
Co-Investigator: Prof. Gregor White

The Code Bar has been established by Abertay University with support from the Intellectual Property Office to provide the computer games development sector one-click access to evaluate innovative projects created by students in the University.

The  project has helped the Abertay University to establish new ways of making available the backlog of computer games based Intellectual Property (IP) from the archive of its computer games design and development competition “Dare to be Digital” and from student teams. The Dare archive contains a wealth of undistributed computer games related content and software that has been generated since 1999. The Dare Repository seeks to unlock the archive for potential academic or commercial use while maintaining a balance between accessibility and the integrity of the creators’ IP.

In order to achieve this outcome, the project has undertaken a substantial review of the archive to establish the technological, contractual and legal status of each game. The project set about assessing the viability of over 100 computer games in a phased process which lasted the duration of the project. This number was reduced to 35 games that were technologically accessible, then to 22 games that were legally and contractually eligible. Ultimately agreement was reached with 7 teams to make their games available on the platform. The Fast Forward funding has enabled the University to access significant expert contributions to the project from both computer games and legal professionals. Their contribution informed the creation of an online distribution platform that is underpinned by robust legal, contractual and security processes.


The Code Bar Website
Interim Project Report
Final Project Report

The Small Society Lab

The Small Society Lab is a pop-up public centre for research and action in progressing the development and understanding of the small city of the future. Focusing on exploring the intersection between art, community and technology, it supports and develops a range of projects, interventions and events that help define the values, actions and solutions that will support a sustainable future for the post-industrial urban environment.

Focusing on the growth of a broad set of values within diverse and sometimes fractured communities, the work of the Small Society Lab challenges current orthodoxies around concepts of growth and engagement, locating future planning in a context in which there is a clear definition of shared values that are locally owned and supportive of an optimistic and sustainable future. It will do this through processes of creative technical disruption, employing contemporary technologies and creative methodologies to challenge existing methods of cultural empowerment and activation.

The Small Society Lab has grown out of the work undertaken by Dundee projects such as the Cultural Pathfinder and the Blue Skies Festival, each of which engaged partners from the cultural sector, the academic sector, industry and communities to share ideas, actions and outcomes in defining the future of our city. It is based in the DCA building and exists as a public forum with talks and presentations as well as meeting spaces and workshops to support a range of development projects. It is administered and managed by DCA with project support from the other partners who include the University of Dundee, Abertay University, NESTA and Creative Scotland.


Funding Source: Big Lottery Fund
Principal Investigator: Dawn Carmichael
Partner: Dundee Carer’s Centre

The role of being a carer can bring with it social isolation, reduced opportunities for leisure activities and barriers to developing friendship networks.  Long periods in the home caring for someone can lead to low confidence and self-esteem which in turn can make constructing relationships outside of the family home even harder.  Professional agencies such as NHS and social services can be difficult for young carers to mobilize on their own behalf.  These professional services often rely on the support provided by carers, but aren’t always geared towards specifically helping carers.  Young carer’s projects, such as the DCC, can be an important source for support and advice for young carers.  
The UPBEET project is intended to support young carers in the Dundee area, aged 16-30, by means of social networking technology.  The aims that we will address have four key aspects:

  • Providing information
  • Accessing practical help
  • Support and counselling
  • Social contacts/activities

The overall goal of the project is to provide an online resource based upon social media design patterns which can support the aims of the project whilst preserving the privacy of users’ information.  The success of the project will be determined by creating resources which are;

  • Functionally consistent with the aims of the project
  • Acceptable in terms of function and appearance to the project’s designated user group.


Software: web applications, mobile apps and social games software

Publications: conference and journal papers


Big Lottery Fund  Dundee Carers Centre