One word comes up again and again when exploring issues of creative work and wellbeing: precarity. This has become something of a rallying point for people discussing the issues now facing creative workers. It’s an enormous issue which has been written about in depth, so for now I’m going to focus on the causes and effects, and next time we’ll look at some of the possible solutions.
Passion. It’s what we’re told is the drive for creative work. It’s what allows us to create incredible work, getting deep into its core and working on it intensely. It’s what makes us care.
It’s also what makes us work from the moment we wake to the moment we go to sleep on projects. It’s what makes us say yes to every offer that comes our way, just for the opportunity to become involved in more creative work. It’s what makes us work several jobs at once. Or more accurately, it’s what lets us put up with these conditions.
I recently completed my masters degree in creative producing, through UWE partnered with Watershed. It was a pretty intense roller coaster of a year, learning to translate all the things I had been doing off my own back into a professional context. But it culminated in writing a dissertation on burnout in the creative industries, and looking at how it affects sustainability.