A Wall Street Journal blog entry cited a recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Review on gender-based wage differences that found that women were actually more likely to negotiate salary than men, but only when the job postings specifically stated that salary was negotiable. In more ambiguous situations where it was unclear whether the salary and other terms of employment were up for discussion, men were more likely than women to engage in negotiations. The study was based on 2,400 responses to job postings for administrative assistant positions. Furthermore, it was found that when salary was listed as negotiable in the posting, the gender gap in applications decreased, as more women were more likely to apply for the position in the first place. The study also found that men preferred more ambiguous work environments and suggested that this could be a reason why a gap persists and is more prevalent at higher level jobs.

The blog entry/study, while not specific to the creative industries, does highlight many of the issues we have discussed in class regarding the gender gap in these industries. The Alper and Wassall article touched upon such trends by describing many of the studies that have been conducted over the years on the demographics and trends of the creative industries workforce. For example, Alper and Wassall discussed a Stoh longitudinal study examining continuous versus interrupted careers (characterized by four or more job changes). It was found that men were more likely to have continuous careers that were more steady and experienced more promotions while women were less likely to do so (two-thirds of men versus one-quarter of women surveyed). At midlife, women with continuous careers had higher personal incomes and less children than women who had interrupted careers. A Bielby panel study documented the wage gap among the Writers Guild of America (WGA) when comparing minorities and women to white males. While the panel study found that the gap did decrease over the last few decades, it still persists.

We discussed many possible reasons for such disparities in the wages and employment between men and women in class. Many times, we tried to understand the culture and environmental factors beyond family or life choices that many others pinpoint as the main reason why women do not occupy as many high-level positions or make as much money. The recent National Bureau of Economic Review study could provide some explanation to why women do not stay in the creative industries longer that is not necessarily about having children. If the study is accurate in suggesting that women prefer less ambiguous situations and having situations more explicitly stated, then it wouldn’t necessarily be much of stretch to surmise that women may not like the precarious nature of work in the creative industries. Cultural workers deal with a lot of ambiguity and instability  where rules are not always explicitly stated. Creative workers often work as freelancers or independents bouncing from job to job, working multiple jobs, working flexible schedules from various locations, etc. There is more deregulation in the creative industries and the power of the unions in many industries has diminished, making it more work environments more precarious and defined. According to the latest study, more men than women prefer such environments.

– Tunga


LINK: http://blogs.wsj.com/atwork/2012/11/09/why-men-haggle-when-women-stand-down/


When reading Art Works and currently looking for a job, I was intrigued about the labor markets and financial support of the  younger generation of creative workers.  Young, emerging or ready? For early career artists, it’s all in the labeling,  an article on The Guardian’s website, describes the changing labor market and challenges that younger artists are facing.

Organizations that give grants and funds to younger artists, who focus on ages 16-24 are seeing a trend that there is a big increase in the need for funding of artists ages 25-30.  These organizations are being criticized for putting age limits  and the association that the artists have to be young to be creating emerging art.  But replacing ‘young’ with ’emerging’ is also getting some heat.  The focus should be on where artists are in their careers, and funders should support artists who are creating innovative work that might need financial support, regardless of age or career stage. The major criteria should be on the quality of the artists work.


Turney, Elanor.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/2012/nov/26/young-emerging-artists-label-problem

The career of an artist cannot be pinned down to any one formula or trajectory. Alper and Wassall found that within a range of years, the number of people reporting themselves to be artists was five times greater than in any one year (29). They also calculated that people ages 18 to 26 were the largest population that reported as an artist for their primary occupation; this figure dropped dramatically, by seventy percent sixteen years later (30).

 A recent article in the Guardian asks whether or not it is useful to keep labeling artists as “young” or “emerging” for promotional reasons and funding restrictions. On the one hand, the confirmed fluctuation of the artistic population, the entry of older artists and mid-career changing artists, seem to be at a disadvantage in attaining lucrative funding and promotion from galleries. The cult of youth perpetuated is always interested in, “what’s next?”, the answer seeming to be always looked for by way of the next generation. On the other hand, this population 18-26 is the largest practicing artistic population. They are eager to prove themselves and build connections in what they consider their life’s occupation.

 The fierce competition among newly minted artists is definitely in need of funding, but perhaps we should not count out those who have decided to change course mid-stream.    




…in a process familiar from other parts of the economy, outside of the cultural sectors, many larger firms now contract out elements of production to decentralised networks either of smaller firms or of individuals. In some cases, this means that, for example, media organisations outsource more of the creative work of cultural production to the ‘independents’ and concentrate on the core functions of financial operation, distribution and commissioning. (Oakley, 2009)

Like in many creative industries, video game developers are no strangers to outsourcing. When discussing such practices, however, one must first consider whether or not one can outsource a process. While this is certainly true of a lot of industries, what makes creative industries industry is that outsourcing is “more dependent on skills and capability than size of the labor pool” (Ravago, 2009). As a result, there is no one particular area which is predominantly drawn from:

The Philippines and India for example, have the available skilled labor pool (from their existing Animation Outsourcing industries) that can be utilized in Game Development processes such as storyboard creation, character modeling, and artwork development. Eastern Europe would be better suited for more complex processes in the development cycle such as cinematic walkthrough and motion capture. (Ravago, 2009).

Unfortunately, while many developers would love to draw entirely from within their company (as it ensures cohesiveness and responsiveness), the ups and downs of the economy ultimately determines whether a company will keep a team on-staff for a particular job. This leads to a rather large number of video game designers, writers, animators, etc. who must free-lance and benefit from very little job security.



While taking up a career in arts may be justified as a ‘calling’, there is more to it in order to become successful, skillful and known-enough for work to keep pouring in even if at irregular intervals or even to establish oneself as a freelancer.

This Guardian article is a first person account of Shakera Ahad, a theatre artist who says that a creative bursary was the most important thing to get her artistic career moving and helped her ‘get it’. Through this, she got access to Kneehigh, a theatre company, where her mentor taught her importance of sustainability, staying realistic and understanding there is never just one big break.

She taught me how to manage myself as a business, how to generate work in the future – everything I lacked before. Helen (her mentor)’got it’ and passed on to me a quiet self-confidence that, dare I say, hinted a little of self-entitlement. It opened up a world to me.”

Hereon, Ahad then took upto another big theatre group and today works as a freelancer and believes that she has ‘got it’. Emphasizing the increasing need for creative bursaries, she says-

Our bursaries provided access to an industry closed to the average low income working class individual. Now part of that industry, we hold the memory of why such schemes exist and are living proof that they work…This is about creating accessibility in the arts now and in the future.

Menger states that an artist’s earning depend not only on the skills but also entrepreneurial and management functions. In our class discussions too, we frequently discuss the need to bridge the gap between MBA and art schools.

In this context, I find this news article relevant. The first line of the article is particularly interesting – “Responding to calls directly from industry, Rouen Business School has created a new Masters degree dedicated entirely to management in the arts field.”

The degree will be called MSc in Arts Management and will be introduced next year in October 2013 and will look to address current economic and managerial issues facing organizations operating in the arts industry.

Article 1: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/2012/nov/20/jerwood-creative-bursaries-widening-access-arts?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

Article 2: http://www.artfixdaily.com/artwire/release/4129-rouen-business-school-launches-masters-in-%E2%80%98arts-management%E2%80%99



Alper and Wassall (2006) analyze the ‘persistence’ of artists in their choice of art as a vocation, finding “the more experience [one has] the greater the likelihood of persisting as an artist” (p. 8). Gaining experience in the field, however, seems challenging due to the precarious nature and competitive pressures of the labor market. Menger’s impressive approach suggests we consider the artist as an “Imperfect Bayesian actor,” who engages in “gathering information, learning by doing, [and] revising … skills, expectations and conceptions.” As Menger continues, the aim of the artist should be to “build networks in order to widen [one’s] range of work experiences, and to give new psychic and emotional foods, in a word, as self-actualizing, without knowing who exactly [one] is and what exactly [one] is able to do or to express in [one’s] work” (p. 252). The reflection of the nebulous environment of the field seems to be reflected in the artist’s own self-actualization, where the artist’s evolutionary response to this dynamic process is to continue to learn, and to try to strengthen continuously.

The Internet can now be seen to offer new tools for the artists in their difficult path. The article “How you can use Kickstarter to help promote your art career” gives information about the website, Kickstarter, which provides an opportunity for exposure and funding of artwork. Pursuant to the article, the website has become “one of the most popular places for artists, musicians, and writers to raise funds for their project and promote their work and talent.” It is a tool allowing anyone with a creative idea to search for funding. In order to take advantage of these tools, however, the artist must also know strategies for their use. The article suggests certain points for better use of Kickstarter, such as 1.) Start with fully-fleshed out plan, 2.) Think of creative ways to tell the story of your project, and 3.) If your project doesn’t get funded, don’t get discouraged, it was probably still worth it.

Even though the Internet seems to open new doors for artist’s self-promotion, it seems to have its own set of rules, of which artists must also be aware. Another facet to the evolutionary process, considering the three recommendations of the article, is that artists have to know the Web’s rules along with the ‘rules’ of art, and never give up…

The article can be found at: http://www.theartcareerproject.com/how-you-can-use-kickstarter-to-help-promote-your-art-career/4023/.

Muge Fazlioglu

For years (and still today), the only way to for artist to get recognized was by being an entrepreneur. Artist typically had to put on solo shows in hopes that they would be able to make a big connection just to get noticed. With the change in technology, that has changed.

New technologies are allowing artist to promote, fund and create their own shows. Artist are able to use YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to promote their work while using very few dollars. A new program known as Kickstarter, lets individuals leverage social networks to fund projects. You create your own page Kickstart page. One user, Erick Sanchez used this Kickstart page and marketed his project through a weblog and Facebook to reach over 3,000 people. He was able to raise $3,800.

I think we will continue to see artist use alternative resources to be able to get recognized with their own shows. It has always been crucial for any artist to be their own boss and not let anyone else dictate their work.




As we read the articles for this week and weeks previous, we are bombarded with the issue of precarity in the media industry. In class, we try to broaden our perspective to take into account the entire globe, rather than focusing solely on the American media industry. With this in mind, let’s look at New Zealand.

In early November, filming finished for the forth and final season of the US show “Spartacus.” This leaves the thousands of people who worked on the production jobless. In light of this, New Zealanders are hoping that the release of the first of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies will spur the New Zealand film economy and help those now unemployed to get back into the work force.

Film New Zealand’s chief executive said, “[w]e are focused, Film New Zealand is focused, along with the industry, in building scale so that there’s enough production happening at any one time so that these gaps like Spartacus is giving us at the moment hopefully disappear.”

Along with the desire to give jobs back to the filmmakers who lose them when major productions are over, the fact that a few large films are produced in New Zealand is creating another issue to deal with: an incredibly large labor pool in the New Zealand with more “artistic” aspirations. With Peter Jackson’s success, young people are enrolling in masses to film schools. These “artistic” directors can be considered independent artists, and as we know, employment is rough.

A local screenwriter and director says, “[t]he government has shown generosity toward these big films while smaller ones are left to struggle. The fact is, government funding for smaller New Zealand films hasn’t even remained the same; it has gotten smaller and smaller.” Many people are gaining valuable experience by working on Jackson’s films, but are then at a loss when taking the next step in their career by making a movie of their own. With so many aspiring filmmakers in such a small country (4.4 million people), prearity is abundant.

On a relatively unrelated note: There were lengthy talks and plans to erect a “Wellywood” sign on a prominent hill by the Wellington airport. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and home of Weta Digital, Jackson’s visual effects studio. After a massive amount of protest, the plans were thrown out. The sign was supposed to celebrate the flourishing film industry, but critics said the sign was unoriginal, tacky, and embarrassing.



Hopes pinned on The Hobbit to help create film jobs

A Small Country Crowded With Filmmakers


In a recent “Help Desk” Article on DailyServing.com, Bean Gilsdorf discusses and answers a question he entitled “Insults and Insecurities”. This article and the question provide a look into the interpersonal and financial woes of an artist’s life. The Artist shares a change in attitudes in fellow artists towards him as he begins to see success in his career. While the direct question is focused on how to psychologically process this change in heart, outsiders to the art world may gain perspective to the difficulties and precarity artist face as workers and interpersonally. Gilsdorf summarizes his viewpoint as:

“Choose what kind of artist you want to be, and choose how you want to interact with people. You can’t dictate what other people do, but you can control how you operate and who you let into your life based on how they behave.”

It is clear that the artist in question, Dimitri Kozyrev is advancing in his career as an artist. His success in achieving funding, however, only aids his ability to express thought and emotion. As Kate Oakley paraphrases:

“It is worth noting that Throsby makes no distinctions between subsidised and unsubsidised cultural activities; the classification is not based around business models or funding, but around the idea of the ‘creator’ as a source of ideas and images” (Oakley, ‘Art Works’)

Using the framework of the competive nature of grant application, Gilsdorf shares and idea of the precarious income stream of an artist:

“When 300 artists apply for one $10,000 grant, that leaves 299 disappointed; and everyone expresses disappointment in their own way.”

We find Pierre-Michel Menger attributing a similar thread of thought in his research “Artists as Workers”:

“Unemployment rates may be mismeasured for several related reasons: individuals with artistic occupations may switch temporarily to work mainly in non-artistic occupations when unable to make a living in their primary vocational field, without
stopping to produce art works.” (Menger)

It is clear through the article, emotionally and interpersonally, an artist’s life faces many challenges.




Article Link: http://dailyserving.com/2012/11/help-desk-backstabbing/

Contingency work by nature lends itself to a career that is flexible, but also extremely uncertain. This work requires a high degree of adaptability, often requiring an individual to juggle multiple jobs at one time. Today the artist will often take on many jobs in order to stay current enough to bring home a paycheck. In this respect, the artist can be seen “as a monopolistic supplier, [who] tries to expand the control over his own work and over the market of the goods or services he provides.” (Menger, 2006)

The actor, James Franco, exemplifies the contingent worker and monopolistic supplier, saturating the market with his products/brand. He produces movies, attends and teaches at multiple universities, performs in a soap, and is writing a book. Most recently he starred in and directed a commercial for Samsung, selling the new Galaxy Note. James Franco, like many in creative careers, juggles multiple jobs and projects in order to gain control of the creative market. Even when selling another organization’s product, such as Samsung, Franco is still branding himself as a creative worker.

Nikki Tuttle