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Exploring everyday resilience in the creative industries through devised theatre: a case of theatre students and recent graduates in Ghana

By Rashida Resario, Robin Steedman, and Thilde Langevang

Published in International Journal of Cultural Studies

Key insights: The concept of resilience has become widely used to account for how people respond both to acute crisis and, increasingly, to protracted precarity. Yet, cultural studies theorists have also vigorously critiqued resilience discourse as a tool of neoliberal governmentality. In this article, we turn from the discourse of resilience to the practice of resilience. We argue, through a case of theatre students and recent graduates in Ghana, that the practice of resilience can be both individual and collective. Moreover, we show that resilience practices involve the exercise of agency at various scales through the specific practices of coping, reworking, and resisting. Finally, we show the merits of using artistic research methods, such as devised theatre, to unveil the complex ways that creatives practice resilience in the everyday.


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‘The show must go on!’ Hustling through the compounded precarity of Covid-19 in the creative industries

By Thilde Langevang,  Robin Steedman, Ana Alacovska, Rashida Resario, Rufai Haruna Kilu, and Mohammed-Aminu Sanda

Published in Geoforum

Key insights: The article offers a qualitative examination of compounded precarity in creative work during the Covid-19 pandemic. Drawing on repeated in-depth interviews with twelve creative workers operating in the creative industries in Ghana, we examine one of the most prevalent practices for navigating, coping with, and managing compounded precarity: that of hustling. We empirically identify and discuss three interrelated practices of hustling in creative work: digitalization, diversification, and social engagement. We present a new way of conceptualizing creative work in precarious geographies by theorizing hustling, and the associated worker resourcefulness, improvisation, savviness, hopefulness, and caring not merely as an individualized survival strategy, but rather as an agentic and ethical effort to turn the vicissitudes of life into situated advantages and opportunities, and even social change.

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Imaginaries of platform entrepreneurship in the creative industries: techno-optimism and subversion in Ghanaian filmmaking

By Robin Steedman, Ana Alacovska, Thilde Langevang, and Rashida Resario

Published in Information, Communication & Society

Key insights: Drawing on interviews and focus groups with 50 filmmakers in four different regions in Ghana we show how Ghanaian filmmakers mobilize, deploy and resist imaginaries of platform entrepreneurship in their efforts to make sense of their situated entrepreneurial practices and to imagine the future of their creative businesses. We found that rather than naïvely adhering to techno-optimist imaginaries, through their practices, Ghanaian filmmaking entrepreneurs challenged the power geometry of the current platform ecosystem dominated by major Silicon Valley players.

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Care in creative work: Exploring the ethics and aesthetics of care through arts-based methods

By Thilde Langevang, Rashida Resario, Ana Alacovska, Robin Steedman, Dorothy Akpene Amenuke, Sela Kodjo Adjei & Rufai Haruna Kilu

Published in Cultural Trends

Key insight: Building on our experiences of conducting an artistic workshop in Kumasi in 2020 we argue that the ethics and aesthetics of care in creative work can best be captured and appreciated through the use of innovative arts-based methodologies that afford researchers the opportunity to explore care-fully the relational aspects of creative work. We show that artistic workshops themselves constitute a caring and socially useful form of empirical research that upholds the principles of ‘creative justice’ by fostering more respectful, attentive and affective relationships among research participants and between researchers and participants.

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The work of hope: Spiritualizing, hustling and waiting in the creative industries in Ghana

By Ana Alacovska, Thilde Langevang, and Robin Steedman

Published in Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space

Key insight: Drawing on twenty four in-depth interviews with creative workers in Accra, we contend that in conditions of radical and pervasive precarity, hope represents a distinct form of work in which the potentialities of the moment extend the present into the future, while the future, however hazy and unimaginable, affects the economic vitality of the present. We explore three dominant practices of hope: hustling, waiting, and spiritualizing.

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