WORKING AS AN ARTIST IS A COMPLEX THING

Cooperation in the creative industries is characterized by four aspects. First, the shared capital of artists is their creativity, which is determined by their commitment, vitality, talent, experience, and knowledge. This in turn makes joint creative work volatile, and dynamic. Second, to function as a temporary team, the individual artists must be able to communicate on a common basis, share knowledge, and trust each other. Third, the joint exchange of knowledge is a prerequisite for successful cooperation and is characterized by the interaction of ideas, experiences, and common aspiration for continuous growth. Fourth, collaboration grows fundamentally through the artists’ personal social networks. Fifth, the intellectual property is a key resource and has to be preserved. Finally, there is a lack of transparency in almost all areas of the creative industries, from salary negotiations to distribution of tasks and communication.

The lack of transparency in the creative industries seems to be an omnipresent challenge. The need to prevent fraud and opacity is particularly evident in the organizational form of project-based contracts. The complete documentation serves in particular to secure the individual players so that contract elements cannot be changed subsequently. The situation is similar in the case of protecting intellectual property rights

The question of intellectual property and the evaluation of creative work in the group process is a core challenge of project based contract work. It is often difficult to assess the individual artists retrospectively, i.e. after the project has been completed, because it is problematic to separate the individual contributions within the creative process. Documentation, if any, would represent an additional effort both in the process of recording and in the process of subsequent evaluation and would further impair the creative workflow. In addition to the efficient safeguarding of property rights, the ongoing exchange of knowledge between the project partners in the creative industries represents a challenge.

New knowledge is generated in the creative industries primarily during the undertaking of projects in project-based organizations. In the creative industries there are limited opportunities for further training that is as, or more effective, as what is gained on-the-job. Due to the constantly changing requirements of the creative-landscape, it seems important to share this knowledge between project members. Although the success of projects depends to a large extent on the experiences of the project members, the retention and sharing of knowledge between individual project participants is an omnipresent problem. However, within the project-based organizations, not only the maintenance of the continuous exchange of knowledge is a challenge.

The importance of social networks is particularly evident in the recruitment of new talent. Project managers usually rely on contacts from prior partnerships when recruiting personnel for new projects, as they cannot afford to invest in unknown contestants and risk failure. The almost cautious behavior arises from the fact that projects are mostly acquired through competitive tenders, so that the combination of the best and at the same time cheapest bid usually wins. The need for cost reduction often constrains a project. The resulting informal hiring process represents an almost insurmountable entry barrier for new and young creatives, as consequently a well-maintained social network is a basic requirement for the acquisition of a new job. Furthermore, this practice has been shown to foster the discrimination against women and minorities in the creative industries. Although the shortcomings mentioned here are not unknown, previous attempts to apply established management strategies in the creative industries have not led to the desired outcomes.

Overall, artists in the creative industries face four challenges: (1) Establishing transparency, (2) the protection of intellectual property, (3) the continuous exchange of knowledge and (4) the fostering of collaborative work and one’s own social network. These challenges shape the work exchange in the creative industries, both in terms of the success of projects and the success of individuals. However, as all of these issues presents challenges, it is necessary to find new ways to strengthen them.

Published by Manuel Knott

PhD Candidate researching about the use of blockchain technology in the creative industries. Owner and Founder of ProLabArt Passionate Snowboarder and Analog Photographer

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