Anything by Kate Oakley is worth reading. Her newest is “Art Works” — cultural labour markets: a literature review (PDF link, 200kb), which appeared last autumn for the London-based Creativity, Culture and Education literature review series. She evaluates the last fifty years of research on cultural work and labour markets (in the UK, USA and Australia — there’s no mention of Hans Abbing), and pays special attention to the predictable hurdles that all new graduates face in getting into creative work.

“interviewees overall equated success with the quality of the work produced, rather than earning income from the work. This led the authors to conclude that artists’ careers are different from others in that it is ‘psychic income’, rather than monetary rewards, which drives artists.”

A bit dangerous that one. ‘Pat them on the head, give them some shiny awards, and let them starve’ seems to be a potential junior ministerial mis-reading of that in the current economic climate. After all ‘they can always work in a bar’ if they’re young and pretty enough…

“A less recognised but important aspect of the city’s leisure infrastructure is the opportunity it offers for multiple job-holding to artists who are unable to make a liveable income from artistic work alone.”

Creativity, Culture and Education (aka Creative Partnerships) have some other useful-looking papers at the literature reviews page — such as Justin O’Connor at Leeds on… “the history of the formation and definition of the creative sector”, and Ken Jones at Keele on the… “idea of culture as it has permeated policy-making, public debate, practices in schools and academic writing”.

   [ Hat-tip: Annette Naudin ]