Our Creative Reset is a research program for culture after Covid19, exploring new principles and strategies for cultural work, policy, and solidarity. This includes a broad scope, ranging from a summer school around the theme of ‘post-precarity’, a two-day conference, experiments with hybrid (off- and online) cultural events, and models for decentralized redistribution of income.
From The Great Reset to Our Creative Reset
‘The Great Reset’ was launched in June 2020 as a proposal of the World Economic Forum (WEF), to rebuild the world economy after the Covid pandemic in a more durable way. The idea was hijacked in no-time by conspiracy theorists on 4Chan and Reddit, who believe that world leaders use the pandemic to increase their control over the world economy. Depending on whom you ask, these world leaders may include the deep state, Bill Gates, and a global network of lizard people.
It cannot be denied that the Covid crisis is a time of great change. Previously existing issues of social and income inequality, the increased demands of flexibility, and incessant precarization have become more visible and urgent. In the context of digitization, we need new structures of solidarity and safety, fair distribution of chances and resources, and new ways to monetize work. This is especially true for the cultural sector, the champion of temp contracts. The many freelancers and small organizations in the cultural field received the hardest blows during the crisis, whilst bigger institutions were often generously supported by national and local governments.
There might be a hidden potential in the dubious role of the arts as flex avant-garde. Since workers in this sector were the first to adapt to an increasingly normalized labor market model, they might also lead the way to alternative modes of organization, collective methods, and self-organization. This is not a question of achieving macro-economic optimization using ‘design challenges’ or ‘social impact’, ‘cultural entrepreneurship’. The failure of the WEF’s launch of the Great Reset clearly shows that top-down ventures that instrumentalize the day-to-day struggles of precarious people are doomed to fail. The question then is, how can me make the Covid reset into our creative reset?
Previous INC Research
‘What are we to make of someone who says they love their work and cannot imagine doing anything they enjoy more, yet earn so little that they can never take a holiday, let alone afford insurance or a pension? How are we to think about a person who is passionate about the creative work they do up to 80 hours per week yet feel fearful that they will not be able to have the children they long for because of the time and money pressures they face?’
These questions were written thirteen years ago by Rosalind Gill, and published by the Institute of Network Cultures in Technobohemians or the New Cybertariat? (2009). Sadly, they are just as urgent today as thirteen years ago, which is why we decided to create Our Creative Reset: the next step in our research on working conditions in (digital) culture. This legacy goes back to 2005 when we organized the conference A Decade of Web-Design and was further developed in the MyCreativity research program, which included two conferences in 2006 and 2014 and the publication of the MyCreativity Reader (2007). When the INC made its first-ever episode of the podcast ‘Zero Infinite’ in 2017, it was about Pausing Precarity. Our Creative Reset also builds on ongoing the research of MoneyLab, a network of artists, activists, and geeks experimenting with forms of financial democratization in the digital economy.
The visual identity of Our Creative Reset is designed by Wieke Willemsen (https://www.instagram.com/wiekewillemsen/).
Typefaces: Ortica & Ortica Bold by Benedetta Bovani (Collletttivo, 2019)
Organizations that have participated in the research activities of Our Creative Reset include:
Hotel Maria Kapel, Platform BK, the Learning Community Critical Making, Casco Art Institute, ARIAS, Caradt, PLOKTA, University of Groningen.
The Post-Precarity Autumn Camp and Our Creative Reset Conference were funded by the Centre of Expertise for Creative Innovation (CoECI).
 In The Netherlands, 60% of people the cultural sector work as freelancers. This percentage is higher than in any other sector.