Culture in Crisis: impacts of Covid-19 on the UK cultural sector and where we go from here

Covid-19, Cultural policy - 7 February 2022

SCAN is proud to be an affiliate of the Centre for Cultural Value. In one of the largest studies of its kind in the world, the Centre examined the impact of the pandemic on the cultural workforce across the UK.

The study found:


The impact of the pandemic was uneven. Younger workers, women, and ethnically diverse workers were among the hardest hit in terms of losing work and income.The pandemic had a major impact on freelancers who make up a significant part of the cultural workforce. Freelancers constituted 62% of the core-creative workforce before the pandemic and only 52% by the end of 2020.The UK’s cultural sector is at an inflection point and facing imminent burnout alongside significant skills and workforce gaps. It urgently needs to adopt regenerative modes of working.

The importance of networks

The research highlighted how networks played a key role in supporting the cultural sector through the crisis and also that networks can build long-term resilience, which might better be understood in terms of collegiality and solidarity, or at least as a complex “bottom line”. This finding supports the shift towards collective leadership.

The Study’s analysis of Greater Manchester illustrated how cross-sector collaboration enabled organisations to network with each other and associated freelancer communities, and to support independent artists with fundraising support, advisory sessions, bursaries, and commissions


In light of the pandemic and Black Lives Matter, many cultural organisations reevaluated their purpose and their relevance to local communities, which was complemented by increased local engagement.

You can read the executive summary and the full report here