Creative Voucher Scheme
Serendip Foundation (The Arthur C. Clarke Award) and Birkbeck, University of London
Tom Hunter, Serendip Foundation (The Arthur C. Clarke Award)
Roger Luckhurst, Birkbeck, University of London
The Geeks will inherit the Earth: the ‘geek pound’ and new value opportunities in the widening appeal of science fiction
One of the key governing principles of the Serendip Foundation is the promotion of science fiction literature and its importance in popular culture and its value as a site for serious academic interest. The primary way that Serendip has traditionally done this is via the annual Arthur C. Clarke Award prize for the best science fiction novel of the year.
The award is now in its 29th year and going strong, but the needs of its supporting constituents – eg publishers, readers, reviewers, academic and fans – is changing rapidly through digital disruption and distribution on the internet, the changing role of traditional publishers, the rise of self publishing business models, crowdfunding, the increasing connection between creator and fan via social media and the changing status of science fiction or geek fans in popular media and their identity as an increasingly large sub group with high commercial value and spending power.
The Geek Pound project was designed to conduct a cultural investigation into the contemporary definitions and value of Geek Culture as an important subsection of consumer culture – The Geek Pound – with the name chosen deliberately, as a reference to other consumer segments such as the Pink Pound (LGBT consumers) and the Green Pound (environmental consumers).
The primary aim of the project was to investigate what science fiction fans might offer mainstream cultural enterprises as a significant consumer group and how the cultural value of such a group might be defined. The project surveyed the extent of geek influence across the creative and cultural industries and sought to identify what value could be created in the intersection between these organisations and audiences. This was done through primary academic research, online audience surveys, interviews and meetings.
From this further investigation explored how the rapid growth of science fiction audiences could provide new creative and commercial opportunities for cultural and creative enterprises.
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