How can we address inequalities of representation in the cultural workforce and specifically in cultural and arts leadership?
Working with Professor Jenny Phillimore at University of Birmingham, Dr Karen Patel and I were commissioned to investigate existing data on Cultural Leadership and Diversity in the West Midlands. The study has been produced as part of our research at Birmingham Centre for Cultural and Media Research (BCMCR) will contribute to a wider study investigating diversity and leadership across a range of industries, in the region.
We have made key findings and our recommendations available here. We offer original findings on the diversity of leadership based on our analysis of ACE National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) in the West Midlands. We highlight areas which need further research and policy attention in relation to cultural leadership, and offer a working definition of cultural leadership. Our research highlights the significance of freelancers and cultural entrepreneurs in the sector, creating complexity in how we view leadership training and opportunities. We also draw attention to good practice in the region, specifically to projects such as RE:Present16 and ASTONish.
I recently presented at the New Directions in Film and Television Production Studies 2015 conference as part of a panel presenting research on the topic of Creative Labour.
My paper, entitled ‘The nature of entrepreneurial labour in regional film making’, focused on a small sample of Birmingham film makers and has drawn on my PhD thesis.
My aim was to explore the day-to-day lived experience of entrepreneurial modes of work, identifying individual endeavours and collaborative initiatives, within the context of recent UK cultural and film policies. The space in which film maker’s negotiate personal identities is framed by the local milieu: policies, institutions and individuals. In my research, I find that at a local level, entrepreneurial film makers have a pragmatic approach by contributing to policies and engaging in developing alternative support systems. Structures and relations between individuals help to shape the cultural milieu for entrepreneurial cultural work, but this is a fluid space in which individual film makers negotiate diverse priorities and values.
Continue reading What is the Nature of Entrepreneurial Labour in Regional Film Making?
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