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Race, creative freedom and the cultural industries

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Solent University (TS312)

Southampton

SO14 0AB

United Kingdom

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Anamik's seminar will be looking at the issue of creative freedom in the cultural industries. It asks, who has creative freedom, or rather, who does not? As the core cultural industries across the globe become iincreasingly transnational and competitive with huge finance at stake, creative practice is as tightly controlled as ever before. Despite new digital forms of rationalisation including the use of marketing strategies based on big data, user-tracking and trends analysis, cultural production remains an exceedingly unpredictable enterprise, or as cultural industries theorist David Hesmondhalgh puts it, a risky business. But while all creatives experience constrains upon their practice - this is nothing new - in this paper I argue that this is most pronounced for minorities working in the cultural industries. People from racial and ethnic backgrounds in particular are seen as a riskier investment by the dominant (white) culture who run the media. Using case studies from my research into race and the cultural industries, in this paper I aim to demonstrate the ways that minorities are subjected to tighter forms of control than their white counterparts. Overall, this paper is underpinned by the argument that the issue of creative freedom is a matter of social justice.

Anamik Saha is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London. After completing his PhD in Sociology at Goldsmiths, Anamik worked in the Institute of Communication Studies at the University of Leeds, firstly as an ESRC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, then as a Lecturer in Communications. He has held visiting fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Trinity College, Connecticut. Anamik’s research interests are in race and the media, with a particular focus on cultural production and the cultural industries. He has had his work published in journals including Media, Culture and Society, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and European Journal of Cultural Studies. With David Hesmondhalgh (2013) he co-edited a special issue of Popular Communication on race and ethnicity in cultural production, and with Dave O’Brien, Kim Allen and Sam Friedman (2017) he co-edited a special issue of Cultural Sociology on inequalities in the cultural industries. His new book Race and the Cultural Industries was published in 2018. In 2019 he begins a new AHRC-funded project entitled ‘Rethinking Diversity in Publishing: A Cultural Industries perspective’.

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Solent University (TS312)

Southampton

SO14 0AB

United Kingdom

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