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Freelancers urged to get involved with new study exploring their importance to the creative industries

cartoonCreative Freelancers living and/or working in Coventry, Waltham Forest and Northumberland are being urged to get involved with a new study into the contribution of freelance workers to the economic and place-based impacts of the creative industries.

The Institute of Employment Research at the University of Warwick is one of the partners carrying out the new study, which has been commissioned by the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) and is led by Coventry University in partnership with Coventry City of Culture Trust, Creative United, Northumberland County Council, and Waltham Forest Borough Council.

The study, launched today [8], will generate new insights into the business models of creative freelancers and their relationship to local labour markets, creative networks, supply chains and innovation ecosystems – as well as identifying the challenges that they face.

Designed to produce ‘deep dive’ qualitative evidence on creative freelancers, this research will increase understanding of the economic relationships, dynamics and business personas of freelancer models in order to directly support locally-based investment and policy responses to creative industry business models.

As a first step, creative freelancers living and/or working in these three localities are being invited to complete a two-minute online survey.

Peter Dickinson of Warwick Institute for Employment Research (IER) said, “The creative industries has been one of the fastest growing sectors over the past decade, and IER employment projections suggest that this would have continued throughout this decade. Freelancers have been and will be a key component of this growth.

"However, creative industries has been one of the sectors hit hardest by Covid-19. This research project comes at a critical time and will help to identify the specific barriers and opportunities creative freelancers face as the economy reopens, and how they can be supported to regain their potential in the post-Coronavirus recovery”.

Professor Nick Henry of Coventry University said, “When we were awarded this project, we knew that freelancers are a lifeblood – but potentially vulnerable lifeblood - of the booming creative industries. We wanted to know how do they, and their different business models, engage with and embed in place? And with what economic and social outcomes?

"We still want to know, but that vulnerability has been laid bare by the pandemic crisis. Our funders and partners want to know more, because they are committed to creative freelancers and because place-based policy opens up possibilities to support them to be sustainable and resilient – even in times of crisis. We look forward to some great interviews and some innovative policy discussions.”

One of only six projects funded nationally, and led by the Centre for Business in Society at Coventry University, the research proposal responded to the PEC’s open call for projects that could help to demonstrate how freelancers and micro enterprises contribute to the UK’s creative industries. The study is expected to complete in late autumn 2020.

8 July 2020



Sheila Kiggins

Media Relations Manager

University of Warwick

07876 218166