Creative freelancers, particularly those in the performing arts, have been hit hard by COVID-19. From the very start of restrictions, up to 60% of freelancers have lost all of their work, and it is estimated that at least 200,000 Londoners have been excluded from any Government support. The pandemic has also highlighted existing inequalities facing creative freelancers – including a lack of security at work, unequal access to freelance opportunities, and a lack of a basic safety net.
This new programme from the Mayor of London will enable a diverse group of freelancers in the culture sector to come together to explore and make recommendations on the future of freelancing. It will support the Mayor’s ambitions to improve working conditions and training, as well as advocating for the statutory changes needed for freelancers.
Creative Freelancers: Shaping London’s Recovery will amplify the voices of the self-employed in the culture sector, giving space for freelancers to shape and demonstrate their role in the recovery of London’s creative and cultural industries, as well as in wider civic spaces.
The programme brings together up to 50 diverse freelancers from across the performing arts, including performers, directors, writers, and designers, with up to 50 leaders of cultural organisations, funders, councils and other key decision-makers.
Each freelancer will receive a bursary, match-funded by a cultural organisation, and collaborate on a six-month research project in targeted working groups, supported by a freelance facilitation team. They will feed into the Mayor of London’s work to improve job creation and retention for freelancers, as well as skills and training, and take part in advocacy and lobbying.
The programme will be facilitated by a freelance team, enabled by Fuel, funded by LEAP, the London Economic Action Partnership, and co-designed by the Mayor of London. It builds on the first national Freelance Task Force initiated by Fuel as a pilot in April 2020, in which 150 organisations sponsored 169 freelancers across the country. It will build on the evaluation and recommendations by Morris Hargreaves McIntyre, which highlighted the positive impact of the pilot, its promising potential, and suggested that external funding would improve future work in this area.
This project will empower creative freelancers in the performing arts sector to make recommendations for London’s recovery from COVID-19 in distinct areas:
This programme will support the civic role of creative freelancers in London’s recovery from COVID-19, in policymaking, and in delivery.
Recruitment for the 50 freelancers for Creative Freelancers: Shaping London’s Recovery will open in March. Please check back then or sign up to hear when it’s announced. To apply to be a part of the Facilitation team, please see the job descriptions below.
The London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP) is the local enterprise partnership for London. The LEAP brings entrepreneurs and businesses together with the Mayoralty and London Councils to identify strategic actions to support and lead economic growth and job creation in the capital.
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