COVID-19 Shows It’s Time to Rewrite the Script on Jobs in the Creative Economy

Stefan Hall

The creative industries have been massively affected by the covid-19 shutdowns, which is having a devastating impact on our cultural fabric, local economies and those who work in these industries. For example, the performing arts were one of the first to close their doors and are expected to be among the last to fully reopen, leading to an immense destruction of value and livelihoods. In the UK, theatres employ 290,000 workers; in the US, Broadway is a $1.8bn industry. Cinemas are facing a 2020 with practically zero revenue and many operators are shutting down screens in anticipation of a difficult few months ahead – and very likely much longer.

The sense of urgency is palpable, with high-profile leaders across the creative spectrum calling for greater government intervention and spearheading campaigns to support unions and associations in providing relief to out-of-work members. The precarious nature of jobs in the creative economy, the unique challenges of the crisis, and the slow response from society has created a real need to reconsider how to better value and protect workers in these sectors.

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