Research into the uncertain position of the creative sector during and after Covid-19

Date of news: 16 June 2021

The Radboud-Glasgow Collaboration Fund has awarded 20,000 pounds for research on cooperatives in the cultural and creative industries during and after the corona pandemic. Yosha Wijngaarden, Helleke van den Braber (both from Radboud University) and Kate Oakley (University of Glasgow) are looking for solutions for the hard-hit sector. ‘We are going to focus on reducing rather than identifying problems.’


Over 200,000 people earn their income in the creative industries in the Netherlands. This entails theatre, music and dance, for example, but also more applied creative work such as advertising, web design and the game industry. It has long been known that this sector is vulnerable. The precarious position of workers and freelancers in the cultural and creative industries has been extensively studied, and low levels of job security and low income, in particular, have been proved to be a problem.

Working collectively in the creative industry

From September 2021 to July 2022, Yosha Wijngaarden (assistant professor of Cultural Policy, Radboud University) will join forces with Helleke van den Braber (professor of Patronage Studies, Utrecht University and assistant professor of Cultural Studies, Radboud University) and Kate Oakley (professor of Cultural Policy, University of Glasgow). They will look for solutions in the project Collective responses to Covid-19: cultural work in times of crisis that was recently honoured by the Radboud-Glasgow Collaboration Fund. The research focuses on a traditional – but for the creative industries quite novel – form of protection against uncertain circumstances: that of collective working in (shared) spaces or facilities. How do these places play a role during the pandemic? Have cooperatives helped to protect workers in the creative sector or during the crisis? And what can collective working mean for the period after Covid-19? Wijngaarden: 'You can't look at the creative industry without talking about Covid-19. The pandemic has left deep holes in the sector. Underpayment, inequalities and precarious working conditions with little protection have only become more visible due to Covid-19.’


Due to the pandemic, cooperatives must reinvent their practices – both in terms of the way members communicate and collaborate, and in the way they organise, run and share their creative practices. ‘It is very important to look at this right now,’ says Wijngaarden. ‘By joining our expertise, we can focus on quick ways to take the sharpest edge off those problems.’

The Radboud-Glasgow Collaboration Fund aims to “strengthen, enable and support the tactical priorities of both universities (Radboud University and University of Glasgow). Each year, funding is available within this Collaboration Fund for five joint projects. The project 'Collective responses to Covid-19: cultural work in times of crisis' runs from September 2021 to July 2022.