Creative aspiration and the betrayal of promise? The experience of new creative workers

Taylor, Stephanie and Luckman, Susan (2020). Creative aspiration and the betrayal of promise? The experience of new creative workers. In: Taylor, Stephanie and Luckman, Susan eds. Pathways into Creative Working Lives. Creative Working Lives. Palgrave Macmillan.



The promise of ‘doing what you love’ continues to attract new aspirants to creative work, yet most creative industries are so characterised by low investment, shifting foci and ongoing technological innovation that all promises must be unreliable. Some would-be creative workers negotiate their own pathways from the outset, ‘following their dream’ as they attempt to convert personal enthusiasms and amateur activities into income-earning careers. Others look to the proliferation of available training and education options, including higher education courses, as possible pathways into creative work. This chapter reviews recent research from the USA, Australia and the UK on the effectiveness – or otherwise – of higher education as preparation for a creative career. The chapter discusses the obstacles that many creative workers, including graduates, encounter on their creative pathways, for instance, as a result of informal work practices and self-employment. The chapter also looks at sources of advantage and disadvantage, such as those associated with particular geographic locations or personal identities. The chapter concludes by introducing the subsequent chapters in the collection. These critically explore the experience of new creative workers in a wide range of national contexts including Australia, Belgium, China, Ireland, Italy, Finland, the Netherlands, Russia and the United Kingdom.

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