Moral Economies of Creative Labour

' is precisely that feature of cultural goods which enables them to enhance the effectiveness of the market, namely their thematization of the nature and conditions of human well-being, which also enables one to recognize the limitations of the market as a source of such well-being, and the need to sustain relationships and activities characterized by the absence both of market institutions and market meanings'

(Russell Keat, 2000).

Markets and associated economic behaviour ‘both depend on and influence moral/ethical sentiments, norms and behaviours and have ethical implications’

(Andrew Sayer, 2004).

Social life ‘requires serious commitments which are non-contractual in nature’

(John O’Neill, 1998).

Postmaterialist values represent ‘a value structure that goes beyond material accumulation to emphasise self-realisation, freedom, equality and respect for others’

(Arvidsson and Pietersen, 2009).

Post-capitalist politics can be seen in ‘myriad projects of alternative economic activism’

(J.K. Gibson-Graham, 2006).

'Neither the celebrants of creative labour nor the critical pessimists have been sufficiently clear about what constitutes good work and bad work, and this has inhibited debate and understanding about the meaning of contemporary creative labour'.

(David Hesmondhalgh and Sarah Baker, 2010).

'Since the 1950s, there has been a gradual but decisive orientation of labor institutions in the U.S. media industries to the external labor market and individual contract bargaining.... adaptation has had its costs, particularly a lack of cohesion among segments of the labor force and bargaining organizations. The ability to take positions requiring cross-occupational solidarity has become problematic, in part, because internationalization led to different labor market conditions for various segments of the workforce.'

(Susan Christopherson, 1996).


All sessions take place in the Clothworkers’ Building North (see venue/travel for more information). Keynote lectures and the plenary panel take place in the main lecture theatre, G.12. Registration will be in room 1.17 – follow the signs!

A full version of our conference programme is available to download as a PDF: PDF of conference programme.


10.00 – 11.00: Registration & refreshments

[10.30: Screening of Performers on The Edge, produced by Philip Schlesinger & Charlotte Waedle, in The Cinema (2.31)]

11.00: Welcome and Introduction

11.15 – 12pm : Keynote: ‘Bringing ethics back in: cultural production as a practice’, Russell Keat (chair: Mark Banks)

12-1pm: Lunch

[12.30: Screening of Performers on The Edge, produced by Philip Schlesinger & Charlotte Waedle, in The Cinema (2.31)]
Thurs 1-2.45pm Theme Speakers Topic
Panel  1
ROOM 2.31
Questioning Creative Work Jason Toynbee Uberwork? Why creative labour is no better than work in general
Jeremy Valentine Ought we to sympathise with people employed in the production, distribution and exchange of culture?
Mike Wayne The normative basis of creative labour in Kant and Marx
James Hay Too good to fail: managing financial crisis through the moral economy of Realty TV
Panel  2
ROOM 1.18
Television and Public Service Values Anna Zoellner The pressure of being ‘popular’: Constraints and concerns in documentary development
James Bennett Public Service as Moral Economy: The independent production sector and public service broadcasting 1
Andrea Medrado Public Service as Moral Economy 2
Dimitrinka Stoyanova & Irena Grugulis Entry tournaments in UK television
Panel  3
Production Ethics 1 Neil Percival TV versus low-budget film: same laws, different ethics
Jonathan Ong Classed moralities of TV audiences: Filipino interpretations of exploitation & empowerment in media pilgrimages
Nicholas Carah The Gruen Transfer: advertising experts scrutinising advertising
Bridget Conor ‘You’ve got to fight for your corner’: the ethics of collaboration in screenwriting work

2.45 – 3.15: Break

Thurs 3.15-4.30pm Theme Speakers Topic
Panel  4
ROOM 2.31
Creative Value Andrew Weir Crowdsourced labour: an individualized race to the bottom?
Renée Ridgway Paid usership
Alessandro Gandini Creative value in popular music
Panel  5
Virtues, Goods and Practices Mark Banks MacIntyre, Bourdieu & the practice of Jazz
Benjamin Woo Virtues, vices, and media practices: towards a normative framework for cultural policy
Luke Jaaniste We lead a double life: the ethics of the institutional life vs the ethics of the practice life
Panel  6
ROOM 1.18
Micro Moralities & Methods Stephanie Taylor ‘I’m quite a motivated and kind of political sort of person’: exploring the morality of contemporary creative work
Holly Patrick Art for Art’s Sake? Rethinking value and morality in creative work
Leo Hwang Carlos Participatory action research: redefining creative economy development from a grassroots perspective

4.45 – 6.15: Plenary Panel (chair, Bethany Klein):

6.30: Drinks reception to launch Creative Labour: Media Work in Three Cultural Industries by David Hesmondhalgh and Sarah Baker

7pm: Conference buffet


9.30 – 10.15: Keynote: ‘Hard jobs in Hollywood: how concentration in distribution affects the production side of the media entertainment industry’, Susan Christopherson (chair: Helen Kennedy)

Fri 10.20-12.05pm Theme Speakers Topic
Panel  7
ROOM 2.31
Policy / Politics Daniel Ashton Creative labour and higher education
Oli Mould, Tim Vorley, Kai Lu Hidden creativity? Highlighting the impact of freelancers in London’s creative industries
Fabian Frenzel & Armin Beverungen Values or value: drivers of social innovation and regeneration in Stokes Croft
Mark Rimmer Ethics and politics in contemporary community music work
Panel  8
ROOM 1.18
Production Ethics 2 Clarissa Smith ‘It’s not the content, it’s how it is produced’: labouring over ethics, morals and commerce in porn production
Rodanthi Tzanelli Cinematic pilgrimage in New Zealand: the case of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit
Chris Paterson Child labour in UK television production
Vicky Mayer Moral Tactics in a Film Production Economy
Panel  9
Networked Moralities Helen Kennedy Data miners: the ethics of sentiment analysis
Ben Roberts Against the ‘networked information economy’: rethinking decentralisation, creative labour and free software development
Jeremy Hunsinger From Hacklabs to Hacker Markets: becoming complicit in self-exploitation
Adrian Wright Understanding the labour process in software and digital gaming

12-1pm: Lunch

Fri 1-2.15pm Theme Speakers Topic
Panel  10
ROOM 1.18
Production Ethics 3 Allan Watson “We’re not solving the Middle East peace crisis. We’re just trying to make music here”: examining emotional labour in the recording studio
Daniel Mutibwa Examining the ‘hybrid’ practices in Third Sector media industries and assessing their impact in the processes of cultural production
Ana Alacovska Genre-oriented creative work
Panel  11
Visual Moralities Danielle Child Thomas Hirschhorn: artist as project manager?
Alberto López Cuenca The visual arts under postfordism. expropriation, social workforce and the ethics of creative labour
John Vail & Robert Hollands Cultural work and transformative arts
Panel  12
ROOM 2.31
Conceptualising Moral Economies Scott Fitzgerald The place(s) of good work: moral economies within global production networks
Adam Arvidsson The ethical economy: an argument for the democratisation of value
Caroline Hamilton On publishing as a moral economy

2.15 – 2.45: Break

Fri 2.45-4.00pm Theme Speakers Topic
Panel  13
ROOM 2.31
Exploitation and Social Mobility Sabina Siebert and Julian Calvert Counting the cost of social capital: unpaid internships for student journalists
David Lee Creative industries and the death of social mobility: raising questions of social justice in an internship culture
Jorg Wiegratz Good, legitimate and acceptable exploitation: the role of morality in capitalist systems of social interaction
Panel  14
ROOM 1.18
Plural Labours Bingqing Xia Labour in Chinese Internet Industries
Catherine Robin Confronting moral concepts: interactions within ‘creative’ production networks
The Precarious Workers’ Brigade Politics, or just performance? Precarity: a participatory people’s tribunal
Panel  15
Immaterial & Emotional Labour Gauti Sigthorsson Carrotwork and other work: the creative industries and the culture of free labour
Caitlin Lennon Reworking the Immaterial: Lazzarato and the new definition of the precarious worker
Jenna Ward & Stephen Linstead The nature of emotional labour: exploitation or expression?

4.15 -5.00pm: Keynote: ‘Creative Work: problems for moral economy’, Andrew Sayer (chair, David Lee)

5.00: conference ends

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