Photo Credit: Phoebe Wingrove
Photo Credit: Phoebe Wingrove

Open Sessions #14 - Class in the Arts

Audio Recording & Transcript

Missed out on our sold-out event Lighthouse Open Sessions #14 - Class in the Arts? Not to worry! Listen back to the session where we dove headfirst into an exploration of class in the creative industries.

Read on for an overview of the evening and check out the audio, transcription and the brilliant digital documentation by Aghh! Zine for a deeper dive.

In the world of the arts, creativity is often seen as the key to success. But what happens when the opportunity to be creative is limited by your socio-economic background? This is the reality for many working class creatives, as highlighted in recent reports such as the Arts Emergency Panic! Report. Despite what should have been decades of progress, it seems that little has changed for those from lower income backgrounds, with a significant decline in the number of practising working class artists since the 1970s.

The statistics are grim: individuals from working class backgrounds are 80% less likely to secure professional jobs than their more affluent counterparts, and when they do, they earn a staggering 13% less. And this doesn't even take into account other factors such as disability, ethnicity, and gender that can compound the challenges faced by working class creatives.

But this Open Session wasn’t about trying to fix or find a single solution or being experts on the class system, it was about highlighting some of the issues and sharing experiences, as well as talking about what shifts in the industry are currently happening, and how we can help move things forward alongside the systemic change we need.

Our panel of talented creatives, included:

Together, our panel delved into the barriers and challenges they've faced while also discussing shifts within the industry. This wasn’t a pity party though, far from it! We heard about their incredible achievements, the strength and talent of their communities, and their hopes for the future.

From the power of networks to sharing personal experiences, our speakers explored how collectivising, resource and knowledge sharing can support and uplift communities and drive systemic change forward.

But that's not all – the night also featured an otherworldly performance from Scarlett Fae of her recent single Seven Eleven, and a captivating crash-course in eco-poetics by spoken word artist-activist Hazel Davis. If that doesn’t make you want to check out the audio recording then we don’t know what will!

Photo credit: Phoebe Wingrove

And the best part of all this? The conversation didn’t end there. Our audience was an active part of the discussion, contributing their ideas and thoughts on paper and post-its throughout the session. Curated and compiled by the talented team at Aghh! Zine, check out their powerful publication documenting the evening - a must-read resource to keep the conversation going long after the event has ended.

In an ideal world, the arts industry would provide an environment where anyone can thrive, regardless of their background. Unfortunately, systemic educational, professional and cultural barriers continue to prevent many talented individuals from realising their full potential. To truly unlock the creative potential of our society, we must address these issues and ensure that training and opportunities are available to everyone, not just those with the cultural and financial capital who can afford it. By creating a level playing field for all, we can unleash the full spectrum of creativity and imagination that exists within our communities.


This audio includes swearing, and mild explicit language that some might find offensive.

Download the transcript here.

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