On 23 April 2018 the 14 international students in Audencia Business School’s MSc in Management and Entrepreneurship in the Creative Economy (MECE) marked a special occasion – the launch of a collaborative book of fiction showcasing the diverse perspectives that often meet in the creative industries. The book, titled The Story of Lola, represents individual fields of interest – including the video game industry, the art world and the film industry – through a fusion of creative styles. It also provides more personal insights, revealing each student’s dreams, expectations and fears, and the passions they share.
Students created The Story of Lola in a course module titled Create Value in the Creative Economy. They conceptualised, wrote and edited the book, and also made arrangements for its funding, design and printing. “It’s good that the students learn when they’re with us, but I think it’s even better if they can share things with the rest of society,” says MECE director Catherine Morel. “[The creative economy] remains a bit of a fuzzy concept for many people, so the students can bring new knowledge to the area.”
The project is the culmination of the students’ year-long programme at Audencia, in which they learned to navigate the complex landscape of the creative industries. “We have spent a year together, laughing and crying and dancing (a lot),” the students wrote on the project’s crowdfunding page, “but most importantly, appreciating and learning from our beautiful and uniquely diverse backgrounds, and the city of Nantes that brought us all together.”
Contemporary art curator Patrice Joly, editor-in-chief of the magazine 02 and artistic director of Zoo Galerie in Nantes, was brought in to lead the project. Joly’s success on a similar project with a group of art school students inspired Morel to try it within the MECE programme. “I jumped on the idea of publishing a book because when you learn management, you never make things like this,” she says. “And I think in terms of creativity, that’s very important.”
Told through prose, poetry, comics and illustrations, The Story of Lola follows a young woman as she explores various creative industries, highlighting the passion, ingenuity and determination behind such pursuits. As student Ruth Andrea Rodriguez explains in the project’s crowdfunding video, “It is a celebration of how rich in experience – both good and bad – the world can be.”
Creating something from scratch and sharing it with the world is rarely easy – and the students initially found themselves intimidated by the project. At the beginning, Morel says, “Maybe they had too much creative freedom, and they froze a little bit.” Other struggles included writing in English as a second language, integrating chapters into a cohesive whole, and confronting the business side of publishing. But in tackling these issues, the students learned valuable lessons for their careers. “There were some obstacles, but that’s a nice way to learn and be creative,” Morel says. “I think that’s what happens if you work with a collective.”
While the book has officially launched as a prototype, the students’ final task is to raise €1,500 via crowdfunding to print 300 copies. They have not yet met their goal, but their promotional efforts both online and in person at the launch event have them well-positioned to do so.
“This book was an incredible opportunity for us to make use of our various skills, passions, cultural differences,” student Tristan Solaro notes in the video. “It’s a real journey for the reader as well.”
For more information on Audencia’s MSc in Management and Entrepreneurship in the Creative Economy, check out our programme page.