Creative Crossroads: sustainability and well-being in Wales’ creative sector

Think tank: Institute of Welsh Affairs

Author(s): Marine Furet

February 7, 2024

This paper from UK think tank the Institute of Welsh Affairs reports on the Creative Crossroads event organised by the Institute of Welsh Affairs with support from Creative Wales.

Titled Creative Crossroads: Well-being & Sustainability in the Creative Industries, the event explored the challenges of funding, persisting precariousness, and sustainability in the creative sector in Wales.

It was organised to coincide with the launch of a Memorandum of Understanding between Creative Wales and the Arts Council of Wales, which articulated areas of collaboration between the two organisations. The creative and cultural sector, the creative economy or the creative industries – regardless of the name used to label them – remain a key part of the UK economy and, in the last few years, have been hailed a Welsh success story, with a reported turnover of ‘£1.7 billion in 2021, an increase of 14% from 2017’.

Yet, the impressive success of a number of film production companies in generating local employment opportunities while enhancing Wales’ worldwide visibility is in sharp contrast to the challenges faced by other sectors in a sector highly reliant on freelance labour.

Discussions highlighted that, often, the instability of working teams and the individual nature of freelance careers places the industry in the paradoxical position of incubating the most innovative ideas, while being at risk of replicating old structures of inequality.