Creativity isn’t something that is easily measured. But its economic impact can be, and in the UK the creative industries are estimated to generate almost £10 million an hour. As IPSE’s own research in April 2016 revealed, the largest number of people operating freelance in the UK are grouped in the artistic, literary and media occupations. As a whole, there are currently 1.91 million freelancers in the UK. It is therefore fair to say that many of those contributing to this huge economic impact are among those that freelance in the creative industries.
Is there a need for support and what form can it take?
Self-employment is at record high numbers in the UK, and it’s important to understand the overall picture and the large economic impact of all that sit beneath this umbrella. But, more than this, we must see the importance of a support network for those who make this contribution.
For all who are self-employed, a lack of support and guidance can (for some) lead to drowning in unknown administration: managing accounts, marketing yourself, negotiating rates and the dreaded self-assessment tax deadlines. All are bits of admin that, with the right support, you can understand and get on top of.
When the Government launched The Culture White Paper in March this year, George Osborne is quoted as saying “One of the best investments we can make as a nation is in our extraordinary creative industries”.
The paper is the first of its kind to be released in more than fifty years and recognises a need for greater support in the creative industries to enable cultural growth in the UK. And, ultimately, economic growth too.
Who currently supports independent professionals working in the creative industries?
Clearly there is scope here for IPSE to play its part, you say? Well, you’d be right.
Our research shows that the fastest growing group of freelancers are those in artistic, literary and media occupations, which has increased by 115% since 2008.
There are so many people choosing to become self-employed and to operate in the creative industries. For all these newcomers, and for the many who have been in the industry for years, there isn’t much in the way of guidance.
IPSE’s plan of action
This is why IPSE has created a new type of membership specifically for those who work in the creative industries. We launched this at National Freelancers Day 2016 in The Hospital Club, London.
A visual campaign to tie in with the launch, produced by Saatchi Masius, sees creative freelancers held back from what they’re creating by grey balloons. Emblazoned on these balloons are things like tax, late payment, contracts, intellectual property, cash flow, jury service.
The balloons represent the administrative burdens that can hold you back as a freelancer operating in the creative industries. But think of the possibilities if this administration is done away with, and you are left free to create. This is where IPSE steps in.
We’re proud to say that the campaign was devised by freelancers, for freelancers, and everyone who took park in the launch is a current IPSE member.
And through the new membership for those in the creative industries, IPSE aims to connect self-employed people to:
- Specialists who can advise on contract reviews
- benefits like an enviable 15% discount on Adobe Creative Cloud
- free access to workspaces
- regular networking opportunities
- free tax and legal helplines
- 20% off training courses with Media Training Ltd.
And much, much more. The membership packages come in two options, standard and plus.
Like lots of people, self-employed creatives love what they do and want to focus mainly on that. It’s not good to feel bogged down by the boring admin side of things.
The launch aims to provide the appropriate platform for self-employed people working in the creative industries.
It’s time for creatives to Be Free To Create.
For more information visit the new website www.creative.ipse.co.uk
Chris Bryce, IPSE CEO:
“The creative industries are clearly a very important part of the UK economy, and should be rightly supported and encouraged to grow. As our own research shows there’s much we can do at IPSE to support the huge spike in numbers of self-employed people working in this sector.
The new IPSE membership for creatives is designed to provide this in giving a route to specialist support. As an organisation whose guiding principle is to enable self-employed people to succeed, we have recognised a need to expand into this sector, so that creatives are free to create.
Of course, all IPSE members can also access these benefits as well as all the tradition benefits of IPSE membership. This launch recognises the need for focused support for a group of self-employed people that is growing so very rapidly.”
What happened at National Freelancers Day 2016...
On the day, attendees of National Freelancers Day were invited to step into a room filled with dark grey, ominous balloons and attempt to find the one bright purple coloured IPSE balloon amongst them.
This balloon was representative of the new IPSE campaign, and provided a promising colour against the grey backdrop of limitations you can face as a freelancer.
If the purple balloon was found in 20 seconds or under, the brave adventurer was awarded a bottle of champagne! Which, while not quite the same as the full benefits of the new IPSE creative membership, was a welcome prize nonetheless to all those successful participants.
So ensued a series of frantic entanglements and excited balloon hitting. Many who took part were temporarily lost beneath a sea of grey, only to suddenly resurface triumphant and clutching the one purple IPSE balloon.
It was a fantastic way to see in action the aims of the #BeFreeToCreate campaign.
The No Free Work campaign: progress on tackling unpaid work in the creative industries.
“Future clients expected me to work for free” “I was forced out of freelancing and had to seek paid employment” “I missed out on paid jobs as my time was being spent on unpaid work”
We’ve been hearing many results of free work in the industry. For IPSE, these are unacceptable outcomes. Free work, whether offered on the promise of exposure, prestige or whatever else, should not, and will not, be an accepted norm. IPSE is currently supporting a campaign started by The Freelancer Club, which aims to identify the extent of this issue and address it head on. Of course, this isn’t an issue faced exclusively by those in the creative industries. But after hearing about the campaign run by Matt Dowling at The Freelancer Club, IPSE was keen to support it.
As part of this support, IPSE ran a survey, in conjunction with The Freelancer Club, which aimed to better understand the issue. The results were intriguing, and will be released very soon. But this isn’t where the campaign ends. We ask you to continue your support and offer your voice on this issue. If you’ve had experience, in whatever form, of having to work for free as a freelancer in the creative industries, then we want to hear from you.
Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Or support us on social media by using the hashtag #NoFreeWork