Creative workers have been celebrated internationally for their flexibility in new labour markets centred on culture, creativity and, most recently, innovation. This book draws on research with novice and established workers in a range of specializations in order to explore the meanings, aspirations and practical difficulties associated with a creative identification. It investigates the difficulties and attractions of creative work as a personalized, affect-laden project of self-making, perpetually open and oriented to possibility, uncertain in its trajectory or rewards. Employing a cross-disciplinary methodology and analytic approach, the book investigates the new cultural meanings in play around a creative career. It shows how classic ideals of design and the creative arts, re-interpreted and promoted within contemporary art schools, validate the lived experience of precarious working in the global sectors of the creative and cultural industries, yet also contribute to its conflicts. 'Contemporary Identities of Creativity and Creative Work' presents a distinctive study and original findings which make it essential reading for social scientists, including social psychologists, with an interest in cultural and media studies, creativity, identity, work and contemporary careers.
’This is a book about the creative professionals who drive the creative and cultural industries: how and when they decided to go to art school, and how they negotiated their subsequent careers. This well-written book is an important contribution to the scholarly study of creative work, and will also be of interest to creative professionals who seek a deeper understanding of the forces impacting their lives.’ Keith Sawyer, Washington University in St. Louis, USA ’A marvellous, rich, satisfying book. At once deeply moving and rigorously analytical it offers an original analysis of creative work that manages to encompass both its satisfactions and its troubles. In exploring the complexity of creative identifications, it illuminates the very nature of what it means to be human. A major contribution to studies of creative labour, and an exemplary work of discursive and narrative analysis.’ Rosalind Gill, King's College, London 'In the burgeoning literature on cultural labour, the voice of the worker is still relatively rarely heard. It is therefore a pleasure to read a book which engages so thoroughly and so sympathetically with the experiences, feelings and understandings of cultural workers or, as these subjects might more elegantly phrase it, of artists... this book serves as a useful and absorbing counterpoint to much recent scholarship. Its discursive psychological approach enables us to get behind what sometimes appear to be baffling choices, without lapsing into variants of false consciousness. Along the way it dispels some enduring myths - that networking in the cultural industries is largely about self-advancement (support and mutual recognition are important too) or that balancing creative and non-creative work is only an issue for freelancers (museum curators and others have to do it as well)... as a study of creative labour which puts the creative at its heart, it is invaluable. Scholars of creative work, and the growing number of students taking a