Artist & community organising for equitable, creative ecosystems


Creative Industries: The Future We Want?

Whenever “the future of the creative industries” crops up in public dialogue, the following points are usually raised:

  1. Growth statistics, with the creative industries being one of the leading contributors (currently £92bn) to the UK economy

  2. The effects of technology on the industries - automation, VR/AR, streaming, the works.

  3. The freelance workforce - nearly half of the creative workers in the creative industries - 47 per cent - are freelance. This compares with 15 per cent across the workforce as a whole.

But where are the other narratives? How will the creative industries play a part in solving societal challenges in the future? What are the new economic models being imagined? How will we speak about art in the years to come? How will creativity and culture relate to other fields?

Here, we compile a list of projects that reflect the direction for the future we hope for; one where we might reimagine the creative and cultural industries, how they operate and who they involve.

  1. The Radical Renewable Art + Activism Fund, the creation of artist and activist, Ellie Harrison. The aims for the RRAAF are to create an autonomous funding scheme for radical art and activism, powered by renewable energy. The project arises in the wake of continued cuts to public funding for the arts and as an ethical alternative to private/corporate sponsorship.

  2. The Black Ticket Project, established by Tobi Kyeremateng, combines philanthropy, crowdfunding and audience development, having raised thousands of pounds to grant young Black people access to theatre productions. Tobi initiated the project after seeing the Barbershop Chronicles, a show she describes as “a very Black story… though the audience didn’t reflect this”. Tobi bought and distributed 30 tickets through social media before partnering with National Theatre, helping over 250 Black young people see ‘Nine Night’. Most recently, Tobi set up crowdfunding campaigns (sailing past targets) to continue the work. Through BTP, she plans to “open up the doors to the theatre-world on a more consistent and long-term basis”.

  3. The White Pube is the collaborative identity of Gabrielle de la Puente and Zarina Muhammad - expanding the way we think about art curation and art criticism. The project began as a way to challenge the monogamous, often academic dialogue and languages surrounding art. They describe every review as “a personal reaction, and a record of an encounter with an aesthetic experience”.

  4. STEM from Dance: weaving dance and STEM subjects together, this project is designed to support girls, predominantly young girls of colour from low-income backgrounds. STEM from Dance was founded in 2011 by Yamilée Toussaint, who experienced the gender gap in STEM fields first-hand, as a mechanical engineering student at MIT. In recognising that dance enhances creative problem solving, collaboration, freedom of expression, Yamilée wanted this to translate to STEM fields, so that young girls would also understand that to be meaningful to them.

  5. Afrotech Fest: A two-day tech festival by and for black people of African and Caribbean heritage. The programme offers talks, workshops, installations and much more as a way to address the underrepresentation of black people in the technology industry – especially those who are marginalised in additional ways - in addition to the challenges of access that come with expensive tech conferences. The team is made up of activists, artists, techies and community leaders, working to create conversations and connections beyond ‘networking’ or bending to fit into the current industries and climate.

  6. Write A House renovate dilapidated housing in Detroit to create reimagined versions of writer’s residencies. Founding Director Anna Clark speaks about the programme as an alternative offering to traditional grants and residencies that force artists to float from one temporary incentive to the next. Write A House supports writers who want to make strong, direct contributions to the city.

  7. Assemble are a collective based in London who work across the fields of art, architecture and design. Founded in 2010, the group faced much controversy upon winning the prestigious Turner Prize back in 2015 for their regeneration project, Granby Four Streets Liverpool. The group refurbished housing and public space, working alongside the existing community. Though it was the first time a collective had ever won Europe’s most contemporary visual art award, much of the debate stemmed from the wider establishment being forced to reexamine it’s ideas of what constitutes ‘art’.