Coventry University and partners working with “Creative Freelancers” to contribute to key research study

Creative United has partnered alongside Coventry City of Culture Trust, Northumberland County Council, Waltham Forest Borough Council and Warwick Institute of Employment Research, to contribute to important research into the crucial contribution of freelancers to the creative industries. The research is being led by Coventry University and has been commissioned by the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC).

The study will generate new insights into the business models of creative freelancers and their relationship to local labour markets, creative networks, supply chains and innovation ecosystems – as well as identifying the challenges that they face. By gaining a better understanding of the creative freelance workforce, the sector can be best placed to assess sector-specific needs as we enter a post-COVID world.

Designed to produce ‘deep dive’ qualitative evidence on creative freelancers, this research will increase understanding of the economic relationships, dynamics and business personas of freelancer models in order to directly support locally-based investment and policy responses to creative industry business models.

The study will focus in three specific locations:

  1. The London Borough of Waltham Forest (London Borough of Culture 2019);
  2. Coventry City (City of Culture 2021); and
  3. The County of Northumberland

“Building Back Better? Creative Freelancers and Learning from the Covid-19 Experience”

On 30th November 2020, Creative United hosted a national Webinar and Panel chaired and presented by Professor Nick Henry and Dr Paul Sissons from the Centre for Business in Society to an invited audience. The panellists responding to the research findings were:

Deborah Annetts, CEO at Incorporated Society of Musicians
Julia Bennett, Head of Policy and Research, Crafts Council
Fred Hopkins, Head of Business Development and Membership, One Dance UK
Julie Lomax, CEO, A-N
Yvonne Conchie, freelancer supporting rural communities to become more resilient

This online presentation, stakeholder panel and Q&A reflected on how the world of creative freelancers in the economy has been made visible under Covid-19. The event discussed the needs of, and possibilities for, creative freelancer businesses as we enter a new economic development period of ‘reset’, ‘recovery’ and ‘build back better’.

Click here to read about interim findings and event discussion

The study is expected to complete in March 2021, having interviewed 84 creative freelancers in total between July to November 2020, and when a NESTA Policy and Evidence Centre Paper will be published.

To find out more about the project and the full portfolio of six research projects that the PEC have commissioned, please visit:


For more information:

Download the Press Release