National Producers Taskforce launches campaign to build futures in the arts

A new initiative has been launched to address the dire shortage of roles and sustainable pathways for young and emerging producers. Jobs in the arts and culture sector have disappeared more than in other industries exacerbated by the pandemic. Creative Careers Commitment is inviting arts organisations to sign up and commit to offering one training or entry level producer role each year.

The Creative Careers Commitment campaign is a growing collective of like-minded partners led by the National Producers Taskforce. A group of forty arts organisations convened by Poet in the City, and includes London Transport Museum, Magic Me, The British Library, British Museum, Apples & Snakes, Trigger, Contact, National Theatre, Beatfreeks, Creative UK, and China Plate.

The Creative Careers Commitment campaign launches on Thurs 20 April inviting all cultural organisations to unite and pledge to a simple, tangible action that supports long-term structural change: to create a new budget line to hire one young creative in a new project or their core budgets at the planning and fundraising stage.

The Creative Careers Commitment recommends a set of principles to organisations to ensure fair recruitment and retention of young talent. This includes writing new roles into budgets, recruitment of new roles being clearly communicated, advertised diversely and paid fairly, and supporting young producers with access to the organisations’ networks.

Contributors to the launch event include young and emerging producers as well as leaders in the sector supporting young creatives, including Liz Moreton, Director of Creativity & Social Change, Battersea Arts Centre and Beth Atkinson, Young People’s Skills and Communities Programme Manager at London Transport Museum.

Charlotte Cole, Trustee, Poet in the City and Development Manager, Battersea Arts Centre said: “Opportunities in the cultural sector are scarce. Famously competitive, the few new roles, many of which are on voluntary, internship-based or zero-hours contracts, are some of the lowest paid across all industries. However, the experience requirements are high, so we asked ourselves how do we make sure we are equipping our industry with a broad range of talent for the future preservation of the arts? The Creative Careers Commitment is asking organisations to think about the ways that they recruit and train young producers and how these could be made sustainable for both parties. Making a dependable financial commitment to the young workforce through core budgets presents more career opportunities for them, whilst broadening the organisation’s avenues to new talent. As well as budget, we need to consider how we can break down barriers to recruitment, to make the change successful and sustainable. If 100 organisations were to add a budget line into future project budgets, 100 new jobs could be created.”

The Young People’s Skills team at London Transport Museum said: “It is essential that organisations share experiences and develop practice together to ensure that we are continually innovating, rather than replicating models or methods we know could work better. It is important that organisations work together to move beyond identifying the problem to addressing it, especially at a time of such acute struggle for young people.”

Arden Fitzroy, ‘Poet in the City Producers’ Alumni 2018 said: “I’m excited that organisations within the sector are leading the way with this kind of initiative. Producers programmes have helped me realise how much of my existing skills were transferable and applicable to a career in producing… it’s given me the confidence to acknowledge that I always did have the capability.”

Organisations can sign up for the Creative Careers Commitment pledge using an online form and find more information and support on their website