Media and Cultural Work: A Resource for Better Working Life in the Arts and Media

This new website, Media and Cultural Work, is targeted at those working in the media and cultural industries, as practitioners, activists, policy makers, campaigners, students and academics.

Devised by David Hesmondhalgh and Kate Oakley, at the School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds, the aim of the website is to create an international forum to address a range of  issues in the sector, including inequalities (gender and ethnic) and the precarious nature of cultural work.

The appeal of working in the media and cultural industries has never been higher. Many young people want to enter these industries and many workers tolerate low pay and poor working conditions to stay within them. But better working conditions and an end to exploitative forms of unpaid work are vital if we want more open and diverse media and cultural industries.

The resource can be followed on Twitter: @mediaculturwork

5 Productivity Myths for Creative People

Graham Allcott, founder of time management training specialists Think Productive, takes us through some productivity myths.

myth-busting

Time management – it’s a myth

When someone is feeling overwhelmed and has too much to do, they often say things like “I need to get better at time management”, but time management is the wrong definition, and it leads to people chasing a problem that can’t be solved. As effective as the best business leaders are, they cannot manage time either: everyone has the same number of hours in their day. The problem is really how we manage our attention. If I focus on time, I may very efficiently schedule difficult work for Friday afternoon, when I’m so tired I don’t have the attention resources available. Likewise, we all have only 2-3 hours a day of what I call ‘Proactive Attention’ – where our attention, energy and concentration levels mean we’re truly on top of our game. It’s how we manage that resource, which is much more limited than time, which ultimately determines our productivity. A Productivity Ninja manages attention, not time.

Continue reading 5 Productivity Myths for Creative People

Cultural Entrepreneurs: Identity and Becoming a Cultural Entrepreneur

We had a fascinating discussion yesterday, Wednesday 11th February, at the weekly BCMCR research seminar.  First,  Dr Christina Scharff  presented her research project ‘Young, female and entrepreneurial?

Exploring the working lives of young women in the classical music profession’ addresses various timely issues, such as the racial, classed and gendered inequalities that characterise the classical music profession, the gendered politics of self-promotion, as well as the psychic life of neoliberalism and the subjective experiences of precarious work.

I followed Christina with my own research based on an aspect of my PhD thesis, ‘Identity and becoming a cultural entrepreneur’. My paper explores the idea of ‘rethinking cultural entrepreneurship’ by focusing on the cultural entrepreneurs’ sense of themselves. Their personal identities based on their subjective experience of being an entrepreneurial cultural worker. As this is not a fixed identity, I propose the idea of becoming a cultural entrepreneur, in an environment in which individuals negotiate their version of the entrepreneurial cultural worker. In my presentation, I argue that cultural entrepreneurs perform the identity of the cultural entrepreneur, either by making use of popular stereotypes or by counteracting them, and that they are not puppets, passively accepting dominant attitudes and behaviours associated with entrepreneurship or with cultural work. Rather, cultural entrepreneurs are reflexive and negotiate their identity to suit their personal narrative, within a relational context. Here are the presentation slides:

Becoming a Cultural Entrepreneur

Event: Are you a Productivity Ninja?

How to be a Productivity Ninja Event on 12th November 2014, at BCU Parkside, 5 Cardigan Street, Birmingham.

Book your ticket here!

Information overload is a big problem.  We’re all overwhelmed with the amount of information and potential distraction we face in our work.  It’s no longer enough to just focus on your time management: it’s time to think about how you manage your attention and focus, your projects and actions and your choices and habits.  A Productivity Ninja is calm and prepared, but also skilled and ruthless in how he or she deals with the enemy that is information overload.  This 1.5 hour seminar will show you how to keep a zen-like calm as well as an agile ruthlessness, just like a Productivity Ninja.

The ticket price includes a signed copy of Graham Allcott’s best-selling “How to be a Productivity Ninja” book.

This event is organised by Think Productive and hosted by BCU.

 

Useful Apps for the Productivity Ninja

Another post by guest blogger and author of “How to be a Productivity Ninja”, Graham Allcott.

Graham introduces different tools for productivity, many of which he uses in his own business. I have blogged about using Evernote which I use as an academic research tool, but as Graham states, it can do so much more.

Mobile apps are great tools to assist our thinking and organizing. When choosing which ones to use, check out as many YouTube videos, customer reviews, screenshots and product tours as you can, all of which will give you a good feel for the style, value and functionality of each app. Here are my top picks (I have no commercial incentive to endorse any of these, so this list is completely objective). Continue reading Useful Apps for the Productivity Ninja

Information Overload and How to Avoid It

When I think back to earlier in my career, there are hundreds of memories that spring to mind. In and amongst these is a vivid image of my desk, which zooms in on my computer screen to see hundreds upon hundreds of emails. Emails I’d read, emails left unread, but all piling up. It characterises how I used to work: controlled by my email inbox, struggling to lift my head above the parapet and consumed by the stress of information overload. It doesn’t have to be this way.  I’ve changed. You can too.   Continue reading Information Overload and How to Avoid It

Cultural Entrepreneurship: Good or Bad Work?

In her chapter entitled Good Work? Rethinking Cultural Entrepreneurship (in Creativity and Cultural Policy edited by Bilton), Kate Oakley rethinks entrepreneurship and the notion of good work. The thrust of her argument is that the policy rhetoric encouraging entrepreneurship in the cultural sector needs to take note of the challenges of cultural work and self-employment. A better understanding of different practices and individual experiences needs to inform the ‘rethinking of cultural entrepreneurship’. As Oakley states, there is a ‘disconnect between the discourse of cultural entrepreneurship and the reality of it.’

I’d like to pick up a few ideas from Oakley’s chapter and add my own research and comments to the debate. Continue reading Cultural Entrepreneurship: Good or Bad Work?