Author: Kate Oakley
Institution: Visiting Professor in Innovation at the University of the Arts in London and at the Department of Cultural Policy and Management, City University
Full reference: Oakley, K (2009) ‘Art Works’ – cultural labour markets: A literature review. London: Creativity, Culture and Education.
The review gives a flavour of the major debates in the academic literature on what is called, ‘cultural labour’. These include: the degree to which cultural work serves as a template for other forms of work, the pains and pleasures of cultural work, the geography of work and the importance of the network and of social contacts, and the growing importance of ‘free work’ of all sorts.
The introduction sets the context for this study looking at current policy and defining the terms of the review.
Ideas are explored as of what it means to talk about art as work (section 2) and review studies of artists and cultural workers in general (section 3).
The next section examines theory arguing that work in the cultural sector is a template for all kinds of work in the future. Section 5 explores the geography and organisation of cultural work.
Following that is an outline of theories of ‘precarious labour’ (section 6) and studies that look at ways in which cultural labour is described in terms of love or passionate attachment to work. (section 7). The final section looks at the implications of these studies for cultural policy and education.
This Literature Reviews was based on desk research of United Kingdom and international literature.