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Creating value in place

Image of country house - courtesy of Kenny Orr

The role, contribution and challenges of creative freelance work

The creative industries are incredibly diverse, and include a very wide range of occupations and businesses, from fashion or interior design, to video game or dance companies. This diversity can make it hard to measure the value created by creative workers, as their way of working, their income, and the number of roles they play can vary considerably from one sub-sector to another. 

In this new Discussion Paper, researchers from Coventry University and University of Warwick, investigate the full range of creative occupations, building an analytical framework to help policymakers better understand the economic and social value of creative freelancers. 

As part of this work, the researchers conducted interviews with 84 creative freelancers from  Coventry, Waltham Forest and Northumberland, places that were chosen because they are distinct areas in England with representative characteristics. 

The authors have created a new typology for better understanding creative freelancers, categorising everything from their motivations for becoming self employed,  to how their roles fit into the wider economy, and the impact that the places where they live and work have on their professional roles. 

The paper ends with three clear domains where policy makers can do more to support creative freelancers. Echoing previous calls, the researchers set out how policy makers can support freelancers in a changing labour market, can design better systems for freelancers to negotiate and manage contracts, and understand creative freelancers in the context of the places they live and work. 

Please reference this paper as:

Henry, N., Barker, V., Sissons, P., Broughton, K., Dickinson, P., Lazell, J., and Angus, T. (2021) Creating value in place. The role, contribution and challenges of creative freelance work.  Coventry: Coventry University funded by the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre. Available from:

Photo by Kenny Orr on Unsplash

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