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A freelance career in the creative arts
A freelance career in the creative arts

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Week 1: What is a creative freelance career?


Welcome to Week 1 of the free badged course A freelance career in the creative arts. Congratulations, you’ve taken your first step towards a better understanding of self-employment and the options open to you.

This course will introduce you to key issues and point you to carefully curated references and organisations for further research and support. The majority of references are from online blogposts and articles. While there are many excellent books on this topic, the most up-to-date information is often to be found on the websites of relevant organisations and in blogs by creative entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

The amount of online information available can be overwhelming, so this course aims to highlight some of the best advice out there and set it into a logical order to help you progress your freelance plans.

Throughout the course, most of the advice is the same whether you are offering a product or service, but where it is useful to make a distinction the text will highlight any particular relevance.

This week, you’ll start by exploring some definitions. You’ll also look at a range of case studies from freelancers in a variety of contexts. Case studies can be both reassuring and inspiring as well as providing a useful overview of how someone else has approached common issues.

Case studies are also at the core of the videos you’ll see in the introduction to each week. These videos include excerpts from interviews conducted with several creative freelancers, and aim to provide information and inspiration on the week’s key topics.

Watch this first video, in which our interviewees explain what being a creative freelancer means to them.

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By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • explore the context of freelancing within the wider economy
  • describe a portfolio career and reflect on whether that approach could work for you
  • recognise the benefits to employers of working with freelancers

Before you start, The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations of the course. Your input will help to further improve the online learning experience. If you’d like to help and, if you haven't done so already, please fill in this optional start-of-course survey [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.