Literature review

'Art Works' - cultural labour markets: a literature review

Creative workforce Arts Cultural industries Great Britain

On the whole aspirations towards being creative are espoused as an unqualified good. Creative Partnerships has been working now for seven years to develop relationships with artists and other creative practitioners in schools in order to support the growth of a long term creative workforce. However this report was commissioned to explore the literature surrounding the spread, nature and meaning of such work, as it is experienced by real workers in the UK and around the world.

As this report will show, there is a close relationship between the arts or cultural sectors and ideas about creative work in general, and all of us working in education need to think quite hard about what it means to ‘make’ creative workers in order that we might know more about what a ‘creative life’ means in practice. This report draws on studies about the nature of this work, as it is experienced by the real workers in the creative and cultural sectors.

The review seeks to give a flavour of the major debates in the academic literature on what is called, ‘cultural labour’. These include: the degree to which cultural work serves as a template for other forms of work, the pains and pleasures of cultural work, the geography of work and the importance of the network and of social contacts, and the growing importance of ‘free work’ of all sorts.


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