Over the past decade a broader societal shift towards a so-called ‘gig economy’ has left numerous sectors becoming increasingly characterised by precarious work and diminishing employment rights. In 2015 89% of all workers in the film production sector and 25% of those working in terrestrial television were freelance (Creative Skillset, 2016). With just under half of the UK film industry located outside of London and the increased devolution of television production to the UK’s nations and regions, it is now imperative to investigate the role of freelance labour within regional cultural clusters and understand their contribution to the broader UK creative economy. As the UK’s third largest cluster of film and television workers after London and Manchester, Bristol offers a valuable case study into the significance of freelance labour within this sector.
This project seeks to explore the working lives of creative freelancers in Bristol’s film and television industries. The research has two principal objectives: i) to map the interconnecting networks of freelance film and television workers in Bristol and analyse how they create value for these industries and the ways in which they contribute to Bristol’s creative ecology; ii) to provide a detailed portrait of the freelancers’ working lives, aspirations and the challenges they face through conducting and analysing a range of interviews with freelancers from a variety of occupational groups within the film and television industries.