What Does it Mean to Be Working Class? 

16th March - 15th May 2021

Kev Howard // Shonagh Short // Erin Dickson // Mark Parham // John James Perangie

Working Class is a socioeconomic term used to describe persons in a social class mainly defined by your job. Physical labour, low pay, limited skills are only some definitions of being working class. Being working-class can be worn as a badge of honour to some and a shameful forgotten status to others. Some careers can seem unattainable to people from a working-class background, the arts being a big one! In a 2018 study, Panic! Social Class, Taste and Inequalities in the Creative Industries, collected almost 300 hours of interviews with creative professionals collected following a national survey. The percentage of people working in publishing with working-class origins was 12.6%. In film, TV and radio it was 12.4%, and in music, performing and visual arts, 18.2%.

Creative organisations are struggling to keep their doors open due to UK COVID-19 lockdown. Redundancies are rampant, and opportunities and jobs are lacking. Working Class identity in the arts will decline as with barley no financial help to keep every creative career going. We need diverse voices in the arts, and it’s more important now than ever to show working-class people that creative roles are not just for the elite.

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