The Report

New report calls attention to the range and contribution of creative freelancers in the UK, based on the economic, cultural and social value they generate.

In a research project led by Coventry University, 84 creative freelancers who lived and/or worked in the Coventry city region, the London Borough of Waltham Forest, and the county of Northumberland were interviewed across 100 hours in 2020.

The resulting report Mind the Understanding Gap: The Value of Creative Freelancers summarises this investigation into the contribution of creative freelancers to the economic, societal and place-based impacts of the creative industries. An in-depth Discussion Paper has been published here.

This Report sets out:

  • The range of value generation for the economy and for society of creative freelancing
  • A typology of creative freelancers based on their generation of different types of value
  • Policy directions to support the full and sustainable contribution to economy, society and places of creative freelancing
Click here to read the full report

A Typology

One of the consistent themes of the freelancer interviews was clear ideas about the different forms of value to which their business activities were contributing. These included generating economic value through growth and inputs to production processes, the cultural value of their work, and their contribution to a range of wider social value impacts. Freelancers varied in the relative weight they assigned to these different forms of value, but many articulated a contribution to more than one form.

In support of understanding the diversity of creative freelancing models and the generation of value, the research proposes a typology of six creative freelancers.

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Policy Directions

We have identified policy implications and recommendations from our findings for national government, creative and cultural sector institutions and local place-based policy. Download the report to learn about these recommendations in full detail.

What support do you need most as a creative freelancer? Join the conversation with us on Twitter using #FreelanceFutures

Policy Domain One: Recognising, Embracing and Supporting Freelancers in a Changing Labour Market

  • Recommendation 1
    Support the movement for good work – including in self-employment and freelancing.
  • Recommendation 2
    Development of income support and employment schemes which recognise and support management of precarious and project-based work.
  • Recommendation 3
    A system of adult skills and lifelong learning designed to support individual contributions to the economy and community.

Policy Domain Two: Enacting Good Freelancer Employment and Procurement Charters

  • Recommendation 4
    A focus on better business practices in the sector and its array of contracting organisations.
  • Recommendation 5
    Engage actively with debates about shareholder and stakeholder responsibilities of organisations to their employees and, also, to their supply chains, customers and communities of impact.
  • Recommendation 6
    Creative freelancers should be actively supported to enable participation in these debates, the structures within which they take place and subsequent actions.

Policy Domain Three: Place-Based Policy and Creative Freelancers

  • Recommendation 7
    Provision of appropriate business support.
  • Recommendation 8
    Use of appropriate funding models.
  • Recommendation 9
    Investing in creative freelancer infrastructures.
  • Recommendation 10
    The use of place-based policy to recognise, fully value and fully invest against the value generation of creative freelancers in support of place-based outcomes.
Click here to read the full report

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