Image Gradient
BOP Consulting Logo | HomeButton
image gradient

Download Project Report

VIEW PDF

For many years now, policy makers have struggled not just to grow the creative sector, but to make it better. 


After all, to varying degrees, every industry generates economic activity and employment – the more difficult challenge has been to produce good jobs, and businesses that can provide opportunities for the whole population.


On this, the creative sector performs far less well than it should, with a number of troubling characteristics that belie its reputation for artistic freedom and meritocracy. These include precarious working conditions, low levels of investment in training, stark regional inequalities and the widespread use of unpaid interns. As a result, it is little wonder that research has repeatedly shown that those from working class backgrounds are significantly under-represented in the creative workforce, as are women and those from BAME backgrounds – particularly in senior positions.


One approach to addressing these concerns, which has received relatively little attention up until now, is the potential for co-operatives in the creative sector. But the launch of a new report, Co-operatives in the Creative Industries by Dave Boyle and Kate Oakley, published by Co-operatives UK, may start to change this.


A co-op is a business owned and run by its members – often but not always its employees – who all have an equal vote in major decisions and are jointly involved in its management. As the report describes, there has not been a strong tradition of co-ops in the creative industries. In some ways this reflects the broader history of labour relations in the UK – in contrast, across much of continental Europe, co-ops have for many decades made up a substantial, and highly productive, element of the economy. But it also reflects a particular paradigm, the ‘entrepreneurial model’, which has come to dominate how creativity is discussed, promoted and taught – as the report points out, business teaching, whether at MBA or degree level, has embraced the creative industries, but the focus remains a narrow one, in which wider models of ownership, management and reward are rarely considered.


The report summarises some of the benefits of shared ownership, particularly in terms of greater equality and well being in the workplace. It also puts forward suggestions to encourage co-ops to develop and become better established in the sector. Many of these relate to teaching and study within Higher Education, but there is also scope to improve the support and, in particular, the promotion of co-ops, which are still poorly known and understood amongst creative workers.


As the authors acknowledge, co-ops are by no means the only answer to the problems associated with the UK’s creative industries, but it is a fresh approach, and one that warrants greater focus and investment from both policy makers and business.


A full copy of the report can be read here.

Creative Co-ops

Addressing inequalities within the Creative Industries

Nov 9, 2018

Green Cities helping climate change through culture and sustainability

Nov 4, 2021

How are major cities around the world responding to climate change through cultural policies and programmes?

The Green World Cities of Tomorrow: Culture and Sustainability

Paul Owens

Culture and the Climate Emergency

Apr 22, 2021

5 Priorities for World Cities in the post-covid recovery period

Culture and the Climate Emergency

Paul Owens

Culture and the Recovery: Levelling Up Culture?

Dec 4, 2020

Culture can play an important role in recovery and renewal across the UK, if the right local decision-making is put in place

Culture and the Recovery: Levelling Up Culture?

Callum Lee

Central London’s celebrated

Sep 23, 2020

This focused, coordinated set of measures can not only rescue the sector, but position it to lead the recovery

Central London’s celebrated cultural offer is in peril

Jonathan Todd

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #3

Aug 21, 2020

Three big questions as applications close for Arts Council England’s Cultural Recovery Fund

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #3

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #2

Jul 30, 2020

The UK’s £1.57 billion recovery package: priorities for a New Deal

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #2

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Cities, Culture and the 3 ‘P’s: powers, partnerships, place

Jul 20, 2020

Cities are using their unique capabilities to lead recovery and renewal

COVID-19: Cities, Culture and the 3 ‘P’s: powers, partnerships, place

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #1

Jul 7, 2020

Investing in recovery, planning for transformation

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #1

Paul Owens

COVID-19 is a triple blow to culture and the creative industries

Jun 30, 2020

Recovery and renewal will depend on how we address the three dimensions of the crisis

COVID-19 is a triple blow to culture and the creative industries

Paul Owens

Take planning and collaboration to whole a new level.

Jun 3, 2020

In the face of radical uncertainty leaders and policy-makers will have to take planning and collaboration to whole a new level

‘Plans are useless, planning is essential’

Paul Owens

Relief, Recovery and Renewal

May 13, 2020

Nobody knows what will happen next, but we have a good idea of the three necessary steps out of the crisis

Relief, Recovery and Renewal: navigating our way to a new kind of future

Paul Owens

The Golden Thread in the 2020s

Dec 20, 2019

A cause for optimism

Weaving the Golden Thread into the 2020s

Paul Owens

Related Articles

By BOP Consulting

Callum Lee

Managing Director

Callum leads the BOP team, its portfolio and strategic partnerships. His cultural and creative industries expertise is founded on leading analytical research and policy formulation in the UK and internationally.

Callum Lee - Managing Director  | BOP Consulting

Planning a new project?

If you are interested to learn more about our work or if you have a project you would like to discuss, get in touch.

SHARE ARTICLE
Callum Lee

Callum Lee

Managing Director