Looking for work in creative industries policy

Banks, Mark and Hesmondhalgh, David (2009). Looking for work in creative industries policy. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 15(4) pp. 415–430.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10286630902923323


In this article, we first outline and account for the utopian description of work in much UK creative industries discourse. We then offer a contrasting assessment that shows how creative workplaces are marked significantly by insecurity, inequality and exploitation (including self-exploitation). In the third part, we examine recent developments in UK policy discourse, exposing a reluctance to recognize or engage with these manifest problems of creative labour. The article concludes by suggesting that this absence reflects something of the focus and limitations of creative industries policies in the current period, where government initiative appears increasingly driven by a narrowly focused skills and employability agenda, one that seeks to disavow problems of labour markets and bring greater discipline to those (relatively) autonomous institutions that generate creative workers, as part of the wider purpose of producing a more integrated and governable 'creative economy'.

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