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Are we living in a Freelance Economy?

Are we living in a Freelance Economy? People are working in new and different ways in modern economies. We can see the rise of self-employed work in the UK and elsewhere, and especially with highly skilled professionals. But how big is this trend? And how do we understand what is happening? Many people find it difficult to define the nature of their work using traditional categories. A large number of workers are not employees of big or small firms, or the public sector, but yet they work for them. They are neither employees nor employers. They call themselves different things, such as freelancers, contractors, consultants, independent professionals, commissioned artist, etc. What they have in common is that they are highly skilled self-employed individuals who work for themselves but do not employ others.Many of them operate in some of the so-called creative and digital industries, working as journalists, designers, ICT specialists and consultants. However, their contribution is not limited to those industries, and it is much more pervasive throughout the economy. According to a recent project funded by PCG (a) (Professional Contractors Group) and EFIP (European Forum of Independent Professionals),high skilled self-employed workers have been the fastest growing group in the EU labour market in the last decade. They increased by 45% in the EU over the period 2004-2013, and even faster in the UK (63%). Some observers point out that periods of recessions are often associated with an increase in self-employed work, which is partially compensating for the people who actually lost their job due to the crisis. Others think that the economic crisis alone cannot explain such a prolonged growth of free spirits, and that the rise of independent professionals is revealing a more pervasive change in modern economies. Self-employment may not be just a legal status. It may reflect a distinct philosophy or workers, who are rejecting the traditional hierarchical structure of work, and adopting a more horizontal approach based on their skills and competences. How can we know more about these self-employed workers, and especially those working in the creative and digital industries in the UK? The Labour Force Survey (LFS) (b) has a specific series of questions on self-employed work, and could provide some interesting statistics. First of all, it shows that there arecurrently 1.7 million highly skilled professionals working in the UK. If we look at the creative and digital industries (as defined by the DCMS), we find that there are around 426,000 self-employed workers in one of these industries in the UK, representing one fourth of the total number of self-employed workers. Some further preliminary analysis using the LFS show that on average, self-employed professionals in the creative industries are quite young, with an average age of 44, and that around two thirds of them are males. Around 27% of them are working in London (central, inner and outer), and 15.5% are working in the South East (including Brighton), which shows the largest concentration of self-employed workers in these industries after London.Their home is … Continue reading

Brighton Fuse article in Financial Times

  Here is as an article about Brighton Fuse in today’s Financial Times –    

The Brighton/Cherokee Nation Digital Cultural Exchange Project

Brighton Fuse isn’t just concerned with mapping the size, shape and flavour of the Creative, Digital and IT sector. It’s also looking to the future. The Brighton/Cherokee Nation Digital Cultural Exchange is part of an experimental strand of the research that investigates the development of communication, collaboration and co-creation skills driven by digital technologies. The Brighton/Cherokee Nation Digital Cultural Exchange project is an ambitious experiment in using digital media to drive a cultural exchange project. Two secondary schools in Brighton and Hove and three schools in the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma, are getting to know each other through the use of digital technologies to communicate, collaborate and co-create. This video shows the Brighton launch event where 40+ year 8 children mashed up their interpretations of their cultures with help from artists SDNA.

Lighting Brighton’s Fuse

Original article published by Crunch Accounting, 8 April 2011. It’s great to hear about the launch of ‘Brighton Fuse’ – a new £1 million government funded initiative which aims to further fuel the growth of the city.  

StartUp Britain

Original article published by Department for Business Innovation & Skills, 28 March 2011 Groundbreaking campaigns and projects announced to help inspire and support new businesses in the UK.  

Fuse lit for digital expansion

Original article published by University of Brighton, 28 March 2011 A £1m grant has been awarded to expand the creative, digital and IT sector in Brighton and Hove.

Brighton Fuse: a Unique Project for a Unique City

Original article published by Wired Sussex, 28 March 2011 Brighton Fuse is a 2-year, million pound project aimed at supporting and enhancing the connections between artists and creative practioners in the city and the digital, media and technology cluster.

Brighton Fuse

Original article published by Centre for Research in Innovation Management Brighton Fuse is a 2-year, million pound, AHRC funded project aimed at supporting and enhancing the connections between artists and creative practitioners.