While COVID has brought a halt to many people’s lives – whether that be socially or professionally – it has hit certain sectors harder than others. Particularly vulnerable to the closing down of society has been the creative industry, with a projected “combined £77bn turnover loss over the course of 2020” in comparison to figures from 2019. With almost half of creatives working freelance at the start of the pandemic, the current unemployment rates are some of the worse of any sector.
So how has the pandemic affected individuals?
Some creatives have managed to build a name for themselves online, but this is not the case for everyone. Building a presence online has allowed people to continue creating, from Shakespeare performances uploaded to YouTube to painting classes delivered over Zoom. There is a concern, however, that as a lot of online content is created for free, that trying to generate income solely from online sources as a creative is not viable and may even affect the industry in the future, at risk of their work becoming free forms of media. On the bright side, this is largely speculation at this point, we cannot predict the future of course, one thing the pandemic has definitely taught us.
Unfortunately, others who have not built an online presence have fallen through the cracks, some of whom have been excluded from government schemes to support businesses since the pandemic first took hold last March.
On a wider scale, the effect on the creative industry would have an enormous impact on the U.K., both socially and economically, not only for creatives but for the consumers themselves. The creative industry, so often overlooked and taken for granted, is a pillar of modern society and its loss would be felt deeply. While we can project, we will not really feel the full loss until society has reopened and we continue living as ‘normal’, whatever that may look like post pandemic.
What does this mean for the future?
It’s not all bad news though! The U.N. has announced that 2021 is the “International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development”. While the world is sure to remain more online than ever, the creative industry has suffered an undeniable loss of talent and venues, and we can only hope that, in time, it is able to build itself back up to the cultural pillar it was previously.