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Free Labour

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Valeria Graziano
added 3 research items
This paper addresses the position of young arts graduates seeking to respond to the unequal access and precarity of jobs in the cultural sector by establishing artist-led temporary spaces. With the increasing dissemination of the discourse of pop-up urban uses in the United Kingdom since 2008, former genealogies of autonomous self-organised spaces intersect with the urban agendas of public commissioners and private actors. Following a long-established critique of the “creative industries” and recent studies of working conditions in the sector, this paper brings together critical textual analysis of specialized press and policy documents and a series of in-depth interviews with a young arts graduate collective involved in setting up a pop-up space in London. Our research shows how in the context of low-budget public commissions in affluent areas of central London artists are encouraged to translate their passion for autonomous, self-organised practice into dominant discourses of artistic “community provision” and place marketing.