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Cultural work and Creative Biographies

Wednesday April 1st 2009, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA

The last decade has seen a huge growth of interest in cultural labour, coinciding with increased attention to the media and other fields as 'creative
industries', and underscored by technological changes that have brought into
being new occupations such as web design, digital animation, electronic arts etc.

Research in this field points both to the passionate attachments cultural
workers have to their work, and to the costs this involves in terms of
precariousness, poor pay and 'bulimic' stop-go patterns of working.  
How do workers in fields as diverse as fashion, television, film, web design or fine art negotiate and manage working lives that are characterised by  insecurity, informality, and in which ‘you are only as good as your last job’?.

Following on from the workshop in 2008 on "The Creative Industries: Ten Years After", this symposium will bring together a series of invited speakers to explore the following themes:
*Are cultural workers the poster boys and girls for work in the 'new 
*How different is 'cultural labour' from other forms of work? Are we all cultural
workers now?
*Is the notion of 'creative industries' useful?
*How do Romantic conceptions of artists and artistic work hold up in an age
of individualisation and insecurity?
*Is the notion of 'creative biographies' useful for understanding cultural
workers lives as lived and experienced in conditions of precarity?
*To what extent are creative biographies inflected by inequalities 
relating to class, gender, 'race', age and disability?

Speakers include: Lisa Adkins (Goldsmiths), Melissa Gregg (Sydney), 
Helen Kennedy (Leeds), Kate Oakley (City University and independent 
consultant), Stephanie Taylor (Open) and Andreas Wittel (Nottingham)
Attendance is free for Open University and CRESC students and staff, 
with a nominal charge of £25 for external attendees (coffee and lunch 
Contact [email protected] if you wish to register for this event.