'There's no way that you get paid to do the arts’: Unpaid labour across the cultural and creative life course

Orian Brook, Dave O'Brien, Mark Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Unpaid labour is an important element of how precarity has been theorized. It is also an issue that is often seen as endemic to cultural and creative work. Questions as to the role of unpaid work, including but not limited to unpaid internships, have become central to understanding how the social exclusiveness of many cultural and creative jobs is reinforced through their precarity. This paper uses survey and interview data to outline the differing experiences of unpaid labour in cultural jobs. It contrasts the meaning of 'free' work over the life courses of a range of creative workers, showing how it is stratified by social class, age and career stage. By exploring the stratification of unpaid work as a form of precariousness in cultural jobs, and of who describes their experiences of unpaid work as benign, the paper offers new empirical evidence for those challenging the negative impacts of precarious working conditions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociological Research Online
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • class
  • cultural and creative industries
  • precarious employment
  • cultural work
  • internships
  • unpaid work
  • age

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