The role of education in addressing the theory and practice of working in the arts and media sectors.


About The Passion Industries

A free workshop for students, teachers, researchers and cultural workers

Date: Saturday 23 June 2012, 10-5pm

Location: Birkbeck College, University of London

The event is free, but space is limited.
Please register your place here:

The arts and media sectors thrive on devotion born of their workers’ passions for art and culture. This one-day workshop investigates the conditions in which cultural workers pursue their passions by bringing the theoretical, historical and practical aspects of ‘creative work’ together. 

Creative work holds out the promise of practicing alternative and autonomous ways of living and working.  Yet, for a large number of people working in the arts and media sectors, the reality is one of freelance, unpredictable, and very often voluntary work.  With this in view, the workshop seeks to address a set of specific concerns: the relationships between scholarly treatments of ‘creativity’, ‘labour’ and ‘precarious labour’, and material experiences of work; conditions in the contemporary arts and media sectors in the UK; and the ways in which higher education is implicated in the reproduction of the arts and media sectors in this form.

The focus of the workshop will be on sharing information, strategies and tactics regarding the past, present and future of work in the arts and media sectors.  The proceedings will draw from research and practice regarding the normalisation of internships, bullying in the arts and the role of unions in supporting fragmented, freelance workforces.  There will be contributions from researchers about their current work in these areas. Attendees will feed into the discussion during practical workshops based on their own experiences. Through this event we hope to draw out a series of alternative scenarios that we can build on collectively as students, cultural workers and teachers.

Contributors include Broderick Chow (Brunel University), Kim Allen (London Metropolitan University), Elyssa Livergant (PhD student, Queen Mary, University of London), Joanna Figel (PhD student, City University) and Anne-Marie Quigg (author of Bullying in the Arts).

This event is organised by Sophie Hope (Department of Media and Cultural Studies) and Louise Owen (Department of English and Humanities), Birkbeck College with support from the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.