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New research on creative workers

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Professor Stephanie Taylor introduces a new collection of published research. 

Pathways into Creative Working Lives is a collection of fifteen chapters on new research into the ways that people enter so-called 'creative' work. For more than two decades, policy makers and educationalists have celebrated the ever-expanding range of occupations that make up the global sector of the cultural and creative industries. Over a similar period, the higher education sector has developed more education and training courses for people who aspire to enter creative careers. Some of these courses are presented through art schools, the conventional training places for creative practitioners. Others are linked to new degrees on the creative industries. And in addition to these more formal pathways, many people attempt, with varying success, to turn their personal creative talents and enthusiasms into income-earning jobs. Artists and makers, designers, musicians and performers in different genres and media, writers, curators and many others all attempt monetise their creativity and creative practice, with varied success.

For academic researchers, creative work raises a great many issues, economic, political, ideological and psychological. There is now a substantial literature about the creative industries across several disciplines. The psychology of creativity is a well-established, to some extent separate field, largely concerned with how creativity can be defined, explained and fostered. For social psychologists like me, the focus shifts to the perspective of the workers themselves. Why do they value creativity? What is the shape and nature of a creative working life? indeed, what do its practitioners think that creativity is (Taylor 2019) and why do they persist in the pursuit of creative careers, in the face of well-publicised challenges and difficulties?

The new edited collection addresses these and related issues. The collection developed out of an event for an international research project on creative industries and the digital economy*. Researchers from different countries and disciplines met in Dublin to present their findings on the career pathways and opportunities available to creative workers in different national contexts. We talked about the effects of state-funded projects, old and new expectations, technologies and initiatives to support creative workers, and we considered the barriers to success. The research that was discussed at the event is presented in the thirteen chapters in the body of the new collection.

In the first and final chapters, Susan Luckman and I write as co-editors of the collection. In Chapter 1 'Creative aspiration and the betrayal of promise? The experience of new creative workers', we consider whether higher education offers effective preparation for a creative career. We look at the obstacles encountered by aspiring creative workers and ask what can help or hinder them. In the final Chapter 15, 'New pathways into creative work?' we consider some long-held more general assumptions about how people become workers, and ask what, if anything, makes creative work different. We conclude by turning back to my previous research on the practitioner's own viewpoint (Taylor, 2019), considering how a personal identification as a creative person impacts on the experience of creative work.

* ‘Creative Industries and the Digital Economy as Drivers of EU Integration and Innovation’ (CIDEII) Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Project 2017-2019

References

Taylor, S. (2019). A participant concept of contemporary creativity. Social Psychology Quarterly, 82(4), 453-472.

Pathways into Creative Working Lives is published by Palgrave Macmillan https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-38246-9 Three of the chapters, including Chapter 1 https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-38246-9_1 and Chapter 15 https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-38246-9_15 are available open access so they can be downloaded directly

Read about Stephanie Taylor's work here http://www.open.ac.uk/people/sjt38

 

 


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