From coworking to competing? Business models and strategies of UK coworking spaces beyond the COVID-19 pandemic

This paper examines the growth of the UK coworking space (CWS) sector in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing on data from a multi-year study comprising 44 interviews with CWS owners, managers, and other key economic actors. The paper offers a novel contribution by drawing on critical political economy to conceptualise CWS as capitalist enterprises providing fixed capital of an independent kind in competitive markets increasingly shaped by changing urban commercial real estate dynamics which necessitate that CWS adapt their business models to remain economically viable. The paper finds the entry of large corporate actors in the CWS [...]

2023-09-14T15:29:15+01:0029 August 2023|

Digital entrepreneurship on retail platforms: A way to formalise employment for young people in Nigeria and the UK

This study investigates the opportunities and barriers digital retail platforms offer to enable young people’s entrepreneurship as a sustainable and formal income stream in Nigeria and the United Kingdom (UK). This innovative comparison sheds light on how these platforms might alleviate high levels of youth unemployment and provide sources of more formalised sustainable income and skills for them in the future. It also illustrates how these developments are becoming part of a wide entrepreneurial ecosystem in each country which can cross over between different platforms and the boundaries between the personal and public personas of the sellers involved. The [...]

2023-07-17T11:41:05+01:0017 July 2023|

Employers’ Digital Practices at Work Survey: First Findings

There are significant gaps in our understanding of how employers in the United Kingdom adopt and use artificial intelligence powered tools and software. This report provides a comprehensive analysis of a nationally representative survey of business establishments in the United Kingdom conducted between November 2021 and June 2022. The survey offers both positive and concerning findings. Employer investment in digital technologies appeared to be positively associated with employment growth, future investment and employee involvement practices. However, only a minority of employers were ‘digital adopters’ with seemingly little appetite for future investment in AI. Employers’ investment in skills and training [...]

2023-07-10T14:10:35+01:004 July 2023|

Online but still falling behind: measuring barriers to internet use ‘after access’

UK, US, and EU internet access statistics show over 95%, 93% and 90% of individuals online respectively. Yet during the Covid-19 pandemic, many children missed out on essential schooling, and people struggled to access government assistance as services shifted online. At first the co-existence of near universal connectivity and people’s inability to access digital services may seem like a paradox. This paper analyses six digital access surveys in the UK, US, and EU to reveal how they are failing to consider ways that users may experience barriers to further use of digital technologies ‘after access’, making surveys ineffective in [...]

2023-09-15T13:28:34+01:0027 June 2023|

A Four-Day Working Week: its Role in a Politics of Work

From a fringe idea with limited wider support, the goal of a four-day working week has moved into the spotlight in contemporary policy debates. Indeed, a growing number of businesses have agreed to pilot a four-day working week. This article examines what the turn to this goal means for a politics of work. It argues that its adoption by business interests can dilute its impacts, while its stress in some radical circles can distract from other pressing goals such as higher wages and improvement in work's quality. The article is sceptical that a four-day working week, as currently conceived, [...]

2023-05-31T16:43:28+01:0031 May 2023|

Black, Brown and Asian cultural workers, creativity and activism: The ambivalence of digital self-branding practices

How do cultural and creative workers respond to racism and the politics of representation and respectability in the digital age? In what ways do they engage in forms of community-building and solidarity-making, while managing pressures to build digital presence and personal brands? This article seeks to address these questions via 30 in-depth interviews with Black, Brown and Asian (BBA) workers in the UK cultural and creative industries (CCIs). Focusing on the ambivalence of digital self-branding practices, our work builds on scholarship on inequalities in the CCIs, and on platformization and race. We organize our findings regarding the experiences and [...]

2023-05-10T16:30:38+01:0010 May 2023|

Stepping stones or trapdoors? Paid and unpaid graduate internships in the creative sector

Policy discourse on graduate internships rests on the assumption that, paid or unpaid, they improve the employability of interns. Employing data from a survey of UK creative and mass communications graduates, surveyed two to six years after graduation, this article examines the impact of graduate internships on subsequent job prospects. While paid internships are associated with better pay and increased chances of having a creative or graduate-level job, unpaid internships are not, and are associated with lower pay in the short to medium term. Findings contribute to theory by challenging the ‘stepping stone’ view of unpaid internships and much [...]

2023-05-10T16:19:07+01:0010 May 2023|

From ‘making up’ professionals to epistemic colonialism: Digital health platforms in the Global South

Platforms have been studied in terms of their impact on knowledge production and generation of social value. Little however is known about the significance of the knowledge they transfer to the recipient communities—often in faraway countries of the Global South—or its potential perceived colonizing effects. Our study explores the question around digital epistemic colonialism in the context of health platforms involved in knowledge transfer. Using a Foucauldian lens, we study digital colonialism as a phenomenon that emerges from platforms' underpinning power/knowledge relations. Drawing upon a longitudinal study of MedicineAfrica—a nonprofit platform intended to offer clinical education to healthcare workers [...]

2023-05-10T16:13:33+01:0010 May 2023|

The changing shape of the Indian recorded music industry in the age of platformisation

Scholars have explored the impact of technological developments on the livelihoods of musicians before digitalisation and in the contemporary age of music streaming platforms. However, a striking gap exists with respect to the Indian music industries which have been conspicuously ignored by scholarship on cultural work. This article contributes towards addressing this gap. First, we show how platformisation is challenging the longstanding domination of Indian music by film soundtracks which relegated non-film musicians to precarious careers with unsustainable work. We show that platformisation has ushered in a new wave of non-film music that is posing unprecedented challenges to the [...]

2023-09-18T12:14:19+01:007 May 2023|

Horses for Courses: Subject Differences in the Chances of Securing Different Types of Graduate Jobs in the UK

Analysis of the 2010/11 Longitudinal Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey shows that overly-simplistic conceptions of graduate success underestimate the value of obtaining a degree in some subjects. Using a skills-based classification of graduate jobs the research finds that maths and vocationally-oriented subjects associated with higher earnings returns (Belfield et al., 2018a, 2018b) – engineering, architecture, computer science and nursing – increase the chances of having an ‘Expert’ job compared to the average for all graduates. However, more generalist subjects that have been linked with lower earnings such as creative arts, languages and mass communication and documentation are better [...]

2023-05-10T16:24:43+01:0016 March 2023|
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