Call for papers—Special Issue for Organization

Diversifying the creative: Creative work, creative industries, creative identities

Deadline 1 December 2015

Guest Editors:

Deborah Jones, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Kate Sang, Heriot-Watt University, UK

Rebecca Finkel, Queen Margaret University, UK

Dimi Stoyanova Russell, Cardiff University, UK

Introduction

To diversify the creative is to ask how certain bodies, certain work practices and certain identities come to be counted as ‘creative’, while others are excluded. Creativity and creatives have become desirable, socially and economically, as creativity has been rebranded as the engine of post-industrial ‘creative economies’ over the last decade or so. The rhetoric of creativity encompasses specifically designated ‘creative industries’ and ‘creatives’ (Caves, 2000), as well as a much wider idea of ‘the creative’ at work in all kinds of organisations and occupations (Bilton, 2006). Creativity is conceptualised in a wide range of forms, in which traditional and new are spliced together. For instance, a romantic framing of arts and artists, based on a distinction between the creative and the industrial, is linked with ideas of art as a vocation and of the artist as a distinctive kind of individualised genius (Becker, 1974). A more recent, 21st-century vision is linked with the idea of innovation as the key to economic success so that workplaces are specifically designed to attract and affirm creative talent (Hesmondhalgh, 2012). Here, the ideal ‘creative’ may be imagined as a member of smoothly functioning team of passionate and diverse talents, a member of a new, ‘creative class’ (Florida, 2002). Contemporary governmental policies—national, regional, industry-driven—have set out to extend, evaluate and monetise it (Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), 2001; Flew, 2012).

Creative work has increasingly been recognised as work, with governmental technologies accounting for creative subjects—artists, technicians, entrepreneurs—in data sets where earnings and occupations can be surveyed. In oppositional mode, critical scholars have increasingly paid attention to creative labour and have raised questions about the forms of exploitation and exclusion with which it is associated (Nixon and Crewe, 2004). They frame creative work in relation to other kinds of exploitative or precarious work, while maintaining a focus on the distinctive features of the creative (Gill, 2002). In particular, such research recognises that struggles over the creative are also struggles over the control of cultural production (Dean, 2008; Hesmondhalgh and Saha, 2013). But people working in creative fields often refuse such analyses. Identifying as artists with a vocation, they often work in what they see as non-creative jobs, perhaps part-time or intermittently, to fund their creative practice (Menger, 1999). The distinctions between paid and unpaid work are blurred (Hesmondhalgh and Baker, 2011), and unpaid positions such as internships may be institutionalised as a way to get a foot in the door of a creative industry (Siebert and Wilson, 2013). The language of workplace rights is frequently marginalised or silenced altogether, and forms of collective organising such as unionisation are often unavailable or rejected (Blair et al., 2003). Some government initiatives to develop creative industries also attempt to address social diversity in terms of equal access to work and of cultural inclusion and exclusion, but there is not much evidence of success (Proctor-Thomson, 2013).

In this context, it can be very difficult to articulate claims about diversity and (in)equalities within creative work. For example, it is nearly impossible for women to find a forum or space to raise issues of creative work and gender equality, such as pay, status, recognition or acknowledgement of family responsibilities (Thynne, 2000). Even if they are in paid creative work, creatives may accept low pay, extremely demanding working conditions and precarious employment (Haunschild and Eikhof, 2009). Such patterns are also seen within established professions such as architecture, where members often reflect on architecture as a lifestyle and persona rather than as a job or career. The construction and negotiation of personal and professional identities, as well as the performance of creativity through dress and demeanour, bodily comportment and body art, compound the complex understanding of what it means to be a creative ‘worker’.

The construction of identities takes varying forms in relation to the creative. For instance, the creative is typically constructed so that women do not become the creative stars or geniuses, do not have equal access to creative work, are not equally rewarded and are subject to various forms of occupational segregation that reinforce these inequalities of both recognition and reward (Sang et al., 2014). Intersecting with gender are constructions of class, ethnicity, age, disability and sexuality, which complicate and extend privilege and inequality (Grugulis and Stoyanova, 2012). However, less is known about how other marginalised identities experience creative work, and in particular how gender may intersect with other identities to construct these experiences. Furthermore, there is poor understanding of how these intersecting identities may affect who or what is considered creative. Economic development rhetoric has been influential in claiming that cities ‘tolerant’ to diversity will attract the ‘creative classes’, but this claim is frequently undercut by continuing patterns of class, gender and racial inequalities (Leslie and Catungal, 2012). At the same time, new creative spaces can operate as sites where claims to cultural citizenship can be contested by marginalised identities such as sexual minorities (Yue, 2007) and people with disabilities (Darcy and Taylor, 2009). A critical examination of creativity and diversity therefore allows us to interrogate and denaturalise both of these concepts: we can ask how the ‘creative’ comes to be seen as a kind of essence inhabiting particular kinds of bodies, and also how the ‘diversity’ that is supposed to generate the creative works seems to rewrite traditional relations of power.

The special issue invites empirical, theoretical or methodological papers critically exploring creative work and, in particular, the ways in which it is diversified. For instance, the gendered construction of creativity can be seen in analyses of women’s employment within creative industries and in the ways in which creativity is imagined or represented in a range of occupations and practices. Intersectional perspectives regarding how gender intersects with class, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation for those working in the sector also can be explored. Although the special issue is open to any discussion of diversity in creativity or creative work, explorations of specific work settings or contexts, for example, architecture, film and television, comedy, literature, music and design, will be prioritised. An inter-disciplinary approach is welcome, acknowledging that the literatures of work in the creative industries, like the sector itself, have developed in and across a range of disciplines, including cultural studies, sociology, geography, management and organisational studies. Contributions also could include explorations of innovative methodologies for studying and understanding the creative industries, creative identities and creative labour, such as those employing visual and ethnographic methods. Research may open up new discourses for imagining, re-negotiating and managing diversity in creative work, opening up in turn new opportunities for marginalised groups to lead, collaborate and develop skills in creative spaces of greater equality.

Scope

  • Embodying the creative: How is creativity embodied as gendered, racialised, aged and able? How do organisations do support or discourage these embodiments, implicitly or explicitly?
  • Imagining and organising diversity in creative work: What would decent work in the creative sector look like for women and other marginalised groups? How do minorities organise in guilds, professional groups, unions or lobby groups to raise issues of equality in this sector? How do they organise creative projects with across or within boundaries of difference?
  • Experiences of women and other marginalised groups in the creative industries: Autobiographical and third-party accounts of experiences in various creative fields can ask questions such as follows: How is equality approached and negotiated? What challenges have been faced and what kinds of approaches taken to varying outcomes and successes?
  • Intersectional analyses of working life in the creative industries: The complex intersections between different identity categories sometimes create unexpected effects, both negative and positive. How does the compounding or intersection of diversity categories in single cases add to a study of working life in the creative industries?
  • Claiming the creative: How are ‘creative’ identities allocated and recognised? How is the ‘super-creative core’ constituted in relation to the ‘below the line’ people, that is, the ‘crew’, support workers and administrators? What systems are there of awards, grants, training and networks, and how are they diversified? Who are the gatekeepers to these resources and who receives them? Who in a profession or occupation actually gets to be creative at all, and why?
  • Personal branding and the benefits of difference: In the creative industries, standing out as distinct from peers can sometimes be advantageous in the construction of a creative persona, even when this difference stems from being part of a marginalised group. How can it sometimes be beneficial to be in a minority? How does difference link with constructions of originality and uniqueness in such cases?
  • Authorship, attribution and credit in collaborative work: Creative work is very often collaborative, yet the credit is often attributed to one individual. This is not just a case of unscrupulous individuals stealing credit, but publications and awards and organisations insisting on a single creative figurehead. What implications and effects does this practice have in terms of equality?
  • Exceptionalist discourses: How do some creative professions frame themselves as unlike any other profession and entirely incomparable? What are the unequal consequences of this framing?
  • Anti-management: There are tendencies in creative professions actively to resist perceived managerialism, including any kind of official equity initiatives. How is this resistance exploited by employers to increase their own profit at the expense of their workers or to prevent equity interventions?
  • The creative profession as cult: Colleagues may become the creative’s only friends, romantic and business partners and family. How does this exclusive culture engender inequalities?
  • Creativity and vocation: There is often a sense of ‘calling’ to the creative professions. What are the effects of such quasi-metaphysical ideas? For example, are people willing to put up with exploitation and precariousness because they are dedicated to a larger ideal, one which frames economic and business imperatives as dishonourable and low-minded?
  • Methodologies for studying gendered creativity: Explorations of innovative methods for studying and understanding the creative industries and creative labour. What methods are most appropriate or interesting (e.g. visual, ethnographic) for understanding diversity and creative labour?

References

Becker, H. (1974) ‘Art as a Collective Action’, American Sociological Review 39(6): 767–76. Bilton, C. (2006) Management and Creativity. Oxford: Blackwell.

Blair, H., Culkin, N. and Randle, K. (2003) ‘From London to Los Angeles: A Comparison of Local Labour Market Processes in the US and UK Film Industries’, International Journal of Human Resource Management 14(4): 619–33.

Caves, R. (2000) Creative Industries. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Darcy, S. and Taylor, T. (2009) ‘Disability Citizenship: An Australian Human Rights Analysis of the Cultural Industries’, Leisure Studies 28(4): 419–41.

Dean, D. (2008) ‘“No Human Resource Is an Island”: Gendered, Racialized Access to Work as a Performer’, Gender, Work and Organization 15: 161–81.

Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) (2001) Creative Industries Mapping Document. London: DCMS.

Flew, T. (2012) The Creative Industries: Culture and Policy. London: Sage.

Florida, R. (2002) The Rise of the Creative Class and How It’s Transforming Work Leisure Community and Everyday Life. New York: Basic Books.

Gill, R. (2002) ‘Cool, Creative, and Egalitarian? Exploring Gender in Project-Based New Media Work in Europe’, Information, Communication, and Society 5: 70–89.

Grugulis, I. and Stoyanova, D. (2012) ‘Social Capital and Networks in Film and TV: Jobs for the Boys?’, Organization Studies 33(10): 1311–31.

Haunschild, A. and Eikhof, D. (2009) ‘Bringing Creativity to Market—Actors as Self-Employed Employers’, in A. McKinlay and C. Smith (eds) Creative Labour: Working in the Creative Industries, pp. 153–73. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hesmondhalgh, D. (2012) The Cultural Industries, 3rd ed. London: Sage.

Hesmondhalgh, D. and Baker, S. (2011) Creative Labour: Media Work in Three Cultural Industries. London: Routledge.

Hesmondhalgh, D. and Saha, A. (2013) ‘Race, Ethnicity, and Cultural Production’, Popular Communication 11(3): 179–95.

Leslie, D. and Catungal, J. P. (2012) ‘Social Justice and the Creative City: Class, Gender and Racial Inequalities’, Geography Compass 6(3): 111–22.

Menger, P.-M. (1999) ‘Artistic Labor Markets and Careers’, Annual Review of Sociology 25: 541–74.

Nixon, S. and Crewe, B. (2004) ‘Pleasure at Work? Gender, Consumption and Work-Based Identities in the Creative Industries’, Consumption Markets & Culture 7(2): 129–47.

Proctor-Thomson, S. B. (2013) ‘Gender Disruptions in the Digital Industries?’, Culture and Organization 19(2): 85–104.

Sang, K. J., Dainty, A. R. and Ison, S. G. (2014) ‘Gender in the UK Architectural Profession: (Re) Producing and Challenging Hegemonic Masculinity’, Work, Employment & Society 28(2): 247–64.

Siebert, S. and Wilson, F. (2013) ‘All Work and No Pay: Consequences of Unpaid Work Experience in the Creative Industries’, Work, Employment and Society 27(4): 711–21.

Thynne, L. (2000) ‘Women in Television in the Multi-Channel Age’, Feminist Review 64(1): 65.

Yue, A. (2007) ‘Hawking in the Creative City: Rice Rhapsody, Sexuality and the Cultural Politics of New Asia in Singapore’, Feminist Media Studies 7(4): 365–80.

Submissions

Papers for the special issue must be submitted electronically between 31 October and 1 December 2015 (please note dates) to SAGETrack at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/organization

Papers should be no more than 8000 words, excluding references, and will be blind reviewed following the journal’s standard procedures. Manuscripts should be prepared according to the guidelines published in Organization and on the journal’s website: http://goo.gl/Ukuor0

Early abstract submission

The editors are anxious to ensure speedy review of the submitted works. In support of this, they have requested that authors please send them the abstracts of their proposed papers by 31 October 2015. This will ensure that potential reviewers for these papers are identified prior to paper submission.

Special Issue Editor contact details

For further information, please contact one of the guest editors:

Deborah Jones: Deborah.Jones@vuw.ac.nz

Kate Sang: K.Sang@hw.ac.uk

Rebecca Finkel: RFinkel@qmu.ac.uk

Dimi Stoyanova Russell:  StoyanovaRussellD@cardiff.ac.uk

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