Relations between Risk, Uncertainty, Precarity and Creativity

December 12th, 2012

As recently as 2007 the Department for Culture, Media and Sport determined that the creative and cultural industries were among the fastest growing sectors in the UK economy and together were comparable in size to that of Financial Services.  As its Secretary of State, Tessa Jowell (The Work Foundation, p.6) was outspoken in her assertion that the Labour Government should “create a framework in which these sectors can flourish”.  The Work Foundation’s policy analysis, which would inform the mapping document for her Creative Economy Programme in 2005, lauded these industries for their economic value.  By the next year, 2008, an unprecedented global, financial crisis would coin the term “credit crunch” and usher in an era of uncertainty, precarity and severe risk management, but would also lead to a reactionary change of political regime.  Ms. Jowell may not have realised how prophetic was her assertion, but it seems obvious that the creative industries, and in fact creative industry itself, are now not only an asset for the economy, but a day to day necessity.  The present situation is not a thorough precedent, however, and humanity’s acumen for improvising its way through crisis and disaster is legion (Sennett, 1998).  There is such profound connection, overlap and progression between these four concepts – Risk, Uncertainty, Precarity and Creativity – as to qualify them as part of an acute and empirical process of transformation, whether in the field of art or science, or as a fundamental component of the human experience, singularly or collectively.  

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