“Creative Industries, it’s time to recompense young artists”: A short open letter detailing the importance of inclusivity within freelance work
by Charlotte India Howard (@ccindiez on Instagram)
There’s still an idealised conception of what it’s like to work within the creative industries.
With the term ‘freelance’ often being misinterpreted with a belief that the lifestyle of a creative doesn’t equate to ‘real work’, many are oblivious to the universal struggles that continue to make life as a freelance creative exceedingly strenuous.
So, what exactly is the issue?
One of the biggest struggles that many freelance creatives face throughout the entirety of their careers within the industries, is the lack of inclusivity that many opportunities present. Inclusivity is described as, “the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized…”, and though efforts have been made to ensure young creatives from all backgrounds are entitled to equal opportunities, there’s still a significant amount of bias and prerogative that exists within many of the creative industries.
Realistically, emerging as a freelancer within the creative industries is still only truly attainable for those that are financially sheltered enough to survive on inconsistent commissions and short term contracts. This lack of financial lenience for freelance creatives means that being a full-time freelancer still isn’t an obtainable career choice for many, due to the industry’s nature of fluctuating income and the ever-relevant belief that “exposure” is a worthy exchange of an artist’s time and resources when working on commissions and submitting work to open calls. In fact, this idea that creatives (particularly those that aren’t yet well-established within the industry) have to settle for unjust forms of remittance from a commissioner that has a larger platform, is frequently considered a form of exploitation; and subsequently results in many young and talented creatives being unable to make a suitable living.
Taking these issues into account, it’s indisputable to deny that the creative industries as a whole, aren’t still lacking opportunities that provide young creatives from all backgrounds to refine their skills and gain experience. Instead, money and privilege continue to dominate the industries and, subsequently holds many talented creatives back from being able to commit to unpaid commissions.
And what can be done about this?
To put it simply, now more than ever, it’s vital that companies and platforms begin to acknowledge the urgency for providing young creatives (once again, particularly those that aren’t yet well established within the industry) with paid work opportunities. Furthermore, we must choose to stop normalising unpaid work experience, as it’s an outdated belief that undermines the work of freelance creatives and exploits their time, money, and skill.
When the creative industries begin to take more accountability for this lack of diversity and inclusion that young creatives have to face when looking for work, more effort can begin to be made to bridge the gap between freelance work and apt forms of remittance that are most beneficial for freelance creatives. Likewise, hard-working, disadvantaged creatives can finally find themselves entitled to the recognition and recompense that they deserve.