BCMCR Research Seminar – Creative Industries: Austerity, and the Psychosocial Consequences of Cultural Work
1600-1730 Wednesday 6 June *please note room change*
C424, Curzon, Birmingham City University
Free registration at this link
Jack Newsinger (Nottingham) and David Lee (Leeds) | Austerity, and the Psychosocial Consequences of Cultural Work
Austerity, understood as a profoundly negative economic and political project, has far reaching consequences both for the specific material conditions of cultural and creative sectors and the wider social and cultural contexts within which cultural practice takes place. While cultural labour studies has long been concerned with effects associated with the specificity of cultural work – tensions between autonomy, creativity, exploitation and individualisation have animated the field, generating complex and often troubling representations – the extent to which austerity intensifies and transforms the material and psycho-social consequences of cultural labour are not well understood. Furthermore, while much key work examining cultural work has tended to be sociological, there is a pressing theoretical, political and methodological imperative to study the psychosocial consequences of cultural labour, particularly under conditions of austerity, which this paper addresses.
This paper reports on two ongoing projects that seek to explore the material and psycho-social consequences of cultural work under conditions of austerity. It will report on the preliminary findings of the Creative Industries, Diversity and Austerity (CIDA) Project conducted with precarious creative practitioners in the East Midlands region and findings from a tracking study of cultural workers in the British independent television production sector, carried out over a ten-year period.
The paper draws upon qualitative research conducted with cultural workers in different sectors and contexts to understand the psycho-social effects of austerity on cultural labour. It explores issues of performativity, resilience, precarity and burnout, and the mediating effects of temporality, class and geography that emerge from practitioner narratives. It reflects on the challenges of combining psychological concepts and theories on issues such as burnout, anxiety and shame within a sociological context, given the complex and often tense relationship between the two fields. But it also argues for the necessity of finding connections between the fields, given the intense psychosocial pressures of cultural work. Finally, the paper reflects on methodological and disciplinary issues associated with translating psychological concepts and debates into the field of creative labour studies.
About the speakers:
Jack Newsinger is Assistant Professor in Cultural Industries at the University of Nottingham. His research focusses upon policy and labour in cultural and creative sectors and has been funded by the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Film Institute. He is a convener of the Screen Industries Special Interest Group of the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies, an associate researcher of the Cultural and Media Economies (CAMEo) Research Institute and a member of the Radical Film Network.
David Lee is Lecturer in Cultural Industries and Communication at the University of Leeds, UK. His research investigates cultural labour, television production and cultural policy. He is the author of Independent Television Production in the UK: From Cottage Industry to Big Business (2018), co-author of Culture, Economy and Politics: The Case of New Labour (2015) and co-editor of Advancing Media Production Research (2016). He has published extensively in refereed journals and his research has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council.