Ducking and Diving: An evaluation and mapping of mid-career UK actors' and performers' career sustaining strategies

Sparling, Steven. 2021. Ducking and Diving: An evaluation and mapping of mid-career UK actors' and performers' career sustaining strategies. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis evaluates and maps career-sustaining strategies of mid-career UK actors and performers through the lens of creative entrepreneurship. Using semi-structured interviewing, this micro-qualitative approach traces on a granular level the freelance pathways of working actors navigating a competitive creative market. Contributing to the literature that explores the nature and experience of freelance creative labour, this study considers how the tension between economic and artistic logics informs strategic decision making in performers’ career pursuit and how it requires both proactive and reactive actions, undertaken spatially in both acting and non-acting work environments. Building upon existing knowledge of project and network based careers, this work links theories of multiple job holding with portfolio and protean career models and their relation to sustainability and resilience, with a specific geographic focus on mid-career UK actors and performers. A key original contribution is the PRAN model, which facilitates mapping the various spheres and motivations in which performers work in each of four quadrants: Proactive Acting, Proactive Non Acting, Reactive Acting, and Reactive Non-Acting. It finds that career sustainability in a scarcity market, is derived from the ability to navigate, or duck and dive, between these different quadrants. This new knowledge assists actors in framing their choices and understanding their self-employment situation in a way that gives them a greater sense of agency over their career, and acts as a career planning and management tool. This study helps creative labour scholars to conceptualise project-based work in a scarcity environment that happens across multiple spatial markets and how that is navigated both practically and experientially by the actor.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00030465

Keywords:

creative entrepreneurship; arts entrepreneurship; creative industries; cultural industries; sustainability; performance; actors; career; portfolio careers; precarity

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE)

Date:

31 August 2021

Item ID:

30465

Date Deposited:

02 Sep 2021 10:56

Last Modified:

02 Sep 2021 10:57

URI:

https://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/30465

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