The Value of Freelance Dance Artists in our Cultural Economy

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This presentation employs research findings co-produced with 74 freelance dance artists from the United Kingdom and funded by the British Academy Innovation Fellowship. It was facilitated with One Dance UK, the UK advocacy body for dance, as the cultural partner. I will highlight the ecology in which freelance artists operate in the performing arts sector and suggest infrastructure and practical ways to make a better society.

Just over 2 million people in the UK work in the creative industries (DCMS, 2021). Around
50% of this workforce is made up of freelance/ self-employed workers, which compares to 13% of all U.K. workers . Approximately 300,000 people work in ‘music, performing and visual arts’ (categorised by the DCMS) of which 216,000 are self-employed (72%). There are more self-employed people in ‘music, performing and visual arts’ (MPVA) than employed people and the only other DCMS sub-sector like this is ‘design and designer fashion’ where numbers are around half of that in MPVA.
Freelance dance artists exist within the same structures and have similar working conditions as other freelance art workers but form a higher proportion of the workforce and with particular needs for resources. This paper will address the inequalities around pay and look at positive ways to make it better.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2024
EventArts and Citizenship: Moving and Belonging - Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Jan 202412 Jan 2024


ConferenceArts and Citizenship: Moving and Belonging
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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