In 2018 we collaborated with Create and academics from the Universities of Sheffield and Edinburgh on a report titled ‘Panic! Social Class, Taste and Inequalities in the Creative Industries’. The report is based on almost 300 hours of interviews with creative professionals collected following a national survey in 2015 as part of Create’s first Panic! project. It is the first time that sociologists have compared large-scale national datasets on social mobility alongside industry-specific information, offering new insights into the tastes, values and engagement of cultural workers.
The research shows that the creative industries have less social mobility than any other sector. Young people from privileged backgrounds are four times more likely to make it into the creative industries compared to their less privileged counterparts. Even if a working class young person goes to university, a young person from privileged background is still twice as likely to get into these fields after graduating. This imbalance is in large part due to whether someone can afford to take on unpaid work, and whether they have access to personal networks and insider knowledge.
This project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and delivered in partnership with the Universities of Edinburgh and Sheffield, and Create.