The organisation is on a mission to help support and convene self-employed workers and microbusinesses impacted by COVID-19
Though certain aspects of life have returned to ‘normal’ since the coronavirus pandemic took hold at the beginning of the year, life still feels stagnated. Swathes of the service industry, schools, and some workplaces have been able to reopen, but many businesses remain on lockdown.
The creative industry is particularly impacted by social distancing rules, with music venues and clubs – places that thrive on the atmosphere of a close-knit crowd – struggling to adapt. For freelancers who work in the creative sector, this continuing uncertainty can feel endless, especially when experiencing it alone.
In an attempt to tackle this and build solidarity among self-employed creatives, the Creative Industries Federation has launched a new community membership. As well as joining the organisation’s online community, members will gain access to legal advice, further education courses, events and workshops, peer-to-peer coaching, and more.
The Creative Industries Federation has also announced a three-day virtual festival for all sectors of the UK’s creative industries, in collaboration with Creative England. Called the Creative Coalition, the event is set to take place between November 9 and 11, and will celebrate industry achievements amid the pandemic, as well as discussing what the future might look like.
Featuring live performances, workshops, talks, panels, and networking events, the festival will be live streamed from venues across the country, and sees the likes of Dazed founder Jefferson Hack, George the Poet, and former Twitter vice president Bruce Daisley joining the line-up.
The announcements come as the group’s free six month membership draws to a close. Launched in April, the organisation offered access to its network of talent, job opportunities, and industry insights, and worked to get the major concerns and challenges faced by creative freelancers to the government.
In March, the group wrote an open letter to Boris Johnson, advocating for a temporary income protection fund for freelancers. Backed by Stephen Fry, Philip Pullman, and more, the letter read: “The income of freelancers up and down the country is at immediate risk, threatening their ability to keep their businesses alive and cover basic living costs like rent, bills, and food.”
In a Creative Industries Federation survey conducted the same month, over half of the respondents said they had already lost 100 per cent of their work, while one in seven organisations worried they would run out of money by the end of April. By June, the organisation’s CEO Caroline Norbury was warning of a “cultural catastrophe”, revealing that the creative industries were expected to lose £77 billion in revenue in 2020 alone.
The following month, the government unveiled a £1.57 billion support package to help protect national and independent arts venues, including theatres, music venues, galleries, museums, cinemas, and heritage sites. Speaking at the time, Norbury said: “The voice of the creative sector has been heard loud and clear by the government and we warmly welcome their response. This investment acknowledges the mission critical role that the UK’s creative industries will play in recovery and growth of all parts of the country.”