Tag Archives: cultural entrepreneur

Female Digital Entrepreneur

Motherhood and setting up digital enterprise – what are the challenges?

In a recent blog post, Dr Angela Martinez goes beyond the over-optimistic rhetoric usually associated with entrepreneurship and highlights The Reality of the Female Digital Entrepreneurs.   She states:

…the overwhelming conclusion of research into self employment by women, particularly mothers, is that it is more likely to intensify activity in both work and family spheres rather than resolve the tensions between the two.

Continue reading Female Digital Entrepreneur

Cultural Entrepreneurs: Identity and Becoming a Cultural Entrepreneur

We had a fascinating discussion yesterday, Wednesday 11th February, at the weekly BCMCR research seminar.  First,  Dr Christina Scharff  presented her research project ‘Young, female and entrepreneurial?

Exploring the working lives of young women in the classical music profession’ addresses various timely issues, such as the racial, classed and gendered inequalities that characterise the classical music profession, the gendered politics of self-promotion, as well as the psychic life of neoliberalism and the subjective experiences of precarious work.

I followed Christina with my own research based on an aspect of my PhD thesis, ‘Identity and becoming a cultural entrepreneur’. My paper explores the idea of ‘rethinking cultural entrepreneurship’ by focusing on the cultural entrepreneurs’ sense of themselves. Their personal identities based on their subjective experience of being an entrepreneurial cultural worker. As this is not a fixed identity, I propose the idea of becoming a cultural entrepreneur, in an environment in which individuals negotiate their version of the entrepreneurial cultural worker. In my presentation, I argue that cultural entrepreneurs perform the identity of the cultural entrepreneur, either by making use of popular stereotypes or by counteracting them, and that they are not puppets, passively accepting dominant attitudes and behaviours associated with entrepreneurship or with cultural work. Rather, cultural entrepreneurs are reflexive and negotiate their identity to suit their personal narrative, within a relational context. Here are the presentation slides:

Becoming a Cultural Entrepreneur

Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur

In a recent article, The End of Quiet Music, Alina Simone discusses her concerns with having to be entrepreneurial and ‘selling’ her music. Simone says:

 I was a singer, not a saleswoman. Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur.

I dont agree with everything Simone suggests. For example, I have some concerns with the idea that patronage is the answer or that musicians can be supported by governments or other public institutions. However, I do have sympathy with the idea that not everyone is comfortable with being an entrepreneur. In fact, I come across this quite often. The sense that some, not all, individuals working within the creative and media industries will have to be entrepreneurial to get on, but are relunctance to fully embrace entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurial practices require high levels of personal investment and as Angela McRobbie argues, it can lead to self-exploitation. Blaming yourself if things go wrong and working hard for little financial reward; for ‘the love of it’.

 There is nothing wrong with being enterprising but the overwhelming positivity associated with enterpreneurs and entrepreneurship can provoke uneasiness. It is something we actively discuss on the MA Media and Creative Enterprise. The challenges and risks are too often gloosed over. I hope this becomes part of the discussion for the Centre for Entrepreneurs who are currently investigating the media view of entrepreneurship.

The Entrepreneurial State

I was interested to read about Mariana Mazzucato’s book, The Entrepreneurial State which looks at the role of the public sector in entrepreneurship. Of course, the public sector tends to be looked upon as the opposite of entrepreneurial and is much criticised for this (see Du Gay’s Organising Identity which touches on this subject). Mazzucato argues that in many cases, the innovations at the heart of many entrepreneurial companies, were often developed through publicly funded research. In a recent article in Public Finance International, she states:

But what if the image we are constantly fed – of a dynamic business sector contrasted with a necessary but sluggish bureaucratic, often ‘meddling’, state – is completely wrong?

What if the revolutionary, most radical, changes in capitalism came not from the invisible hand of the market but the very visible hand of the state?

According to Mazzucato, many technological innovations behind products such as the Iphone, GPS, touchscreen etc. were government funded. So rather than a ‘meddling’ state, she presents The Entrepreneurial State.

This position reminded me of a chapter by Anne De Bruin, Entrepreneurship in The Creative Industries, who writes about how various levels of entrepreneurship have enabled innovation in New Zealand”s the film industry. De Bruin states that the New Zealand government developed policies with the Screen Production Industry to grow the sector through funding opportunities and public and private partnerships. Similarly to Mazzucato, De Bruin explains that:

Typically, entrepreneurial focus has been on the individual and the firm. Recent research, however, has pointed to the need to consider the external context or a creative milieu as being of importance to innovation (see, for example, Kresl and Singh, 1999; Porter and Stern, 2001)…The strategic state is a key driver of innovation in the national economy and is seen as a catalyst in the creation of favourable systemic conditions for knowledge creation and an important actor within the National Innovation Systems framework and regional systems of innovation.

While De Bruin recognises Peter Jackson’s (Lord of the Rings) contribution as a film maker and entrepreneur, she presents his success and that of the New Zealand film industry as a partnership in which risk taking and entrepreneurial characteristics are applied at multiple levels.

Freelancer’s Unite

10-01_resources_roadmap_freelancing_ld_imgFreelancing is increasingly common. In my research, I write about the precariouness of entrepreneurial and freelance work so I was very interested to see this post on the Islington Hub’s blog. The article is writen by Enda Brophy (Simon Fraser University), Nicole Cohen (University of Toronto), and Greig de Peuter (Wilfrid Laurier University), researchers working on a project called Cultural Workers Organize, and describes an event called “Freelancers Unite! What rights are we fighting for?”

 Taking inspiration from recent efforts in Berlin to ignite a freelancers’ movement, this event was part of the space’s “50 Days of Freelancing” series. Speakers gave a big-picture view of the spread of independent work and zeroed in on the flipside of making a living in a flexible labour economy. Among concerns that participants shared were clients who don’t pay, pressure to do work for free (or almost free), and uncertain access to contracts following maternity leave. One of the things that the “Freelancers Unite!” event demonstrated is that coworking spaces are promising places for gathering members of a workforce whose trademark dispersal can make it tricky to reflect—and act—on livelihood issues collectively.

Despite the challenges in freelancing, the authors are positive about the oppportunities individuals have through co-working and developing aletrnative models of work. There is a lot of inspirational literature about how individuals can develop coping mechanisms for a better work/life balance but they are not always feasible in a real world context. Joint action and collaborative initiatives have the potential to address some serious issues such as social protections and income security. At this stage, just raising awareness amongst freelancers and cultural entrepreneurs would be a good start!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alumni of the Year: Daniella Genas

Copngratulations to Daniella Genas who is to be honoured at the Birmingham City University awards ceremony today, as alumni of the year.

Daniella is a frequent guest speaker on the MA Media and Creative Enterprise and we will welcome her again in a few week’s time.

A year ago, I interviewed her for this blog. Daniella  talked about her enterprise, her motivation and her plans for the future.