University of Tasmania
151157 - The invisible architecture of creative and cultural work Revised - authors version.pdf (506.01 kB)

The invisible architecture of creative and cultural work: the relationship between miscategorisation and sector wellbeing during COVID-19

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 09:40 authored by Kathleen WilliamsKathleen Williams, Elizabeth Lester, Ami SeivwrightAmi Seivwright
Tasmania, Australia’s southern island state, is known nationally and increasingly internationally for its arts and cultural sector. As is common elsewhere, the extent and nature of the sector has been poorly measured and documented, with its value remaining relatively opaque within a policy making framework. With the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020, serious consequences of this poor categorisation and articulation of the sector’s value emerged, with many creative and cultural workers missing out on crucial financial and other support. This article presents the findings of a study of the impacts of COVID-19 on Tasmania’s cultural and creative sector, including on financial sustainability, health and wellbeing, and future work. Using a combination of survey data and interviews, we problematise the reliance on workforce categories when describing the economic understanding and measurement of the sector, and instead provide an analysis of the sector through an approach based on self-describing work, work identities and perceived contributions. We find that those who were financially supported during the pandemic were able to shift or adapt their creative practice and had a higher sense of health and wellbeing, whereas those who did not receive government or philanthropic funding experienced significant negative impacts on their health and creative practice. These findings reinforce the urgency of embedding new methods for describing and valuing the sector for policy makers, and in turn, the sector’s participants.


Arts Tasmania


Publication title

Creative Industries Journal






School of Creative Arts and Media



Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2022 Informa UK limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an original manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Creative Industries Journal on 05/08/2022, available at:

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Arts not elsewhere classified

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