To understand the landscape, project partners have undertaken a stakeholder analysis which takes a broad look at the sector and those work in or influence it. The analysis took a mixed methods approach, referring to the wide amount of literature available but also talking directly to those who participate in the cultural and creative industries (CCI) by carrying out surveys and workshops that provide direct data on national experiences and circumstances.

The picture uncovered is complex and highlights the challenges facing any interventions in the sector. The sector is extremely diverse, covering firms and activities ranging from handmade traditional crafts to cutting edge computer games design.

Governments place high value on CCIs, they create wealth, jobs, and lead other sectors in driving innovation. But for some, working in the sector can be frustrating and doesn’t lead to a rewarding and satisfying career; pay can be low and employment precarious. Employment rates for CCI subject graduates are below average and lifetime career returns close to zero, and in some cases negative. 80% of people employed in the CCI sector works in small or medium sized enterprises (Eurostat, 2020), and across the EU-27 almost one third (32%) of the cultural workforce was self-employed in 2019 (Eurostat, 2020), compared with an average of 14% for the whole economy.

This makes for a fragmented sector where individuals can be isolated. Not only do workers need to be creative in their chosen field, but they also require a host of additional skills to make their businesses successful; skills such as project management, finances, networking and communication, and IT. But skills training isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ problem. The diversity of the sector means that individuals in different industries need and use very different skills mixes, so training options need to be responsive and flexible and this will be a key challenge for the DeuS project as it progresses.

Another key theme identified is that of collaborative working. There are many examples of projects that provide co-working or co-making spaces, or of projects that join teams and people from different disciplines. Collaborative working propagates many benefits by sharing resources and nurturing cooperation and stimulating innovation. The DeuS project was inspired by the Open Design School in Matera which was itself an open and collaborative project. So, this way of working will be a critical characteristic for the project as it moves forward and for proposed solutions.

This marks the beginning phase of the DeuS project, and it will help set the trajectory of following work packages, but it’s hoped to re-visit and re-interrogate these findings and expand on themes and topics highlighted as the DeuS project develops and is further refined and focused.

The results of the stakeholder analysis will be made available at end of September on the DeuS website.