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Wor Culture – Skills: Enabling the Cultural Workforce for the Future


Thursday 25 March 2021
12.30pm - 2.00pm



About this event

Skills in the cultural and creative industries are going to be critical as we move forward from the pandemic. It is widely recognized that the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the sector (on its creative production, its workforce – particularly freelancers, on its work toward greater diversity and inclusion, and on the creative economy as a whole). Creative skills won’t only be essential to building the creative and cultural sector of the future, but will be integral to the recovery of the wider economy and society. Pre-pandemic the creative industries were one of the largest contributors to both our economy and our global reputation, and there is clear ambition that this is a position to which they return.

Yet, the government’s introduction of the EBacc and recent proposals for post-16/18 education have strengthened concerns over the value hierarchy being created in education with an emphasis on STEM subjects. Evidence shows that, after the introduction of the EBacc, the opportunities for young people to access and study the arts has declined significantly and the repercussions of this for Further and Higher Education, and for the sector, is yet to be fully understood. Moreover, despite the recent skills white paper and move toward more flexible apprenticeships, the challenges faced by portfolio careers in the creative industries and the needs this presents for continued professional development and/or retraining have not been fully addressed.

It seems timely, therefore, to build on our ‘Future of Work’ session last year and think about how we best enable access and opportunity for skills development in the arts at all stages. Considering issues such as:

  • What are the skills development needs of the cultural sector now, and in the future?
  • How should skills needs be addressed, and by whom?
  • How can place-based agendas better enable opportunities?
  • What are the meaningful opportunities we can create for young people to engage in the arts?
  • How can we create affordable, inclusive and robust pathways for lifelong learning at all stages?


Melanie Shee

Partnership Manager (North East), Creative & Cultural Skills

The NewBridge Project

Principal Investigator at Creative Fuse North East

What is Wor Culture?

Wor Culture is a forum for discussing issues relating to the culture and creative sectors in the North East, and contribute to shaping its future. The gathering is facilitated by Newcastle University but we strongly encourage you to propose topics for discussion, join in the debate, or offer to lead a session.

At the moment, due to COVID19, this is an online gathering using Zoom. We will be looking at alternative formats in due course.

What is the format of the event?

Normally the event follows a format where we have a series of short presentations (c. 10 minutes) to help establish the context for the discussion. This is followed by a Q&A. We then have a series of breakout groups each focused on a different theme or topic. You choose which one you want to join beforehand. Breakout groups are smaller, focused discussion groups. After this each group feeds back into a general discussion. When we have closed the event, we have a coffee social – unfortunately you have to provide your own coffee!

There is a function in Zoom called the ‘Chat’ function which is like texting or messaging. We use this to gather questions and comments. Participants can also use it to contribute or send a private message to the host if they do not want to speak using their video.