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Contribution: "Towards a status for cultural entrepreneurs?" by Antoine Stéphany

Artists and cultural entrepreneurs often have to juggle various activities at once: leading projects, writing, publishing articles, speaking in conferences, teaching… They also have different activities over time, and switch from creative periods to times of reflection… In a word, they embody the concept of “pluriactivity”.

Today, creators earn income from various sources: contracts, sales, royalties, etc. They also face different social security models to ensure their protection: sometimes freelancers, sometimes occasional workers, their social protection is often inadequate, in regards to the variety of activity they practise, sometimes associative, salaried, individual, collective, etc.

To overcome this problem, we need to invent a status for cultural entrepreneurs, which recognizes the variety of activities practised, the necessity to have economically unproductive time for reflection, but also the added value from this pluriactivity, by granting them a truly protective status, both rewarding and adequate. It would also reduce the impression of the artists being “the bad guys” who refuse free access and diffusion on the Internet, whereas they do not always have a stable status ensuring their income security.

As a matter of facts, cultural entrepreneurs are not the only one to have several activities, which are not always correctly valued: association members, volunteers, people working on digital platforms (Uber is the most famous instance) are three examples. In other cases, one may want to change activity, to start a new curriculum, to undertake new projects, create a business, but it is not always possible without a stable income, or the guarantee of an income during transitions or at the beginning of new activities.

For all those reasons, it is possible to think that a guaranteed basic income, which would be unconditional, delivered on an individual basis, which can be combined with any other forms of income, could solve the problem of the status of cultural entrepreneurs, and of many people whose activity is not always linear. Exploring “the different propositions and experimentations around basic income” was one of the advice of the National Digital Concil (CNNum) in its report about work, employment and social protection to the French Minister of Employment in January 2016[1].

Today, this protection is essentially connected to the labour contract. However, this model is now strongly decreasing, and many studies[2]  show that many jobs may disappear in a close future, and would be in any case transformed in their nature because of the digital revolution. It is therefore necessary to rethink the value of our activities in society, and to grant them a viability regardless of a salaried working contract. Basic income would not be a tool to destroy the existing social protection, especially health insurance, but would offer a security that would give everyone an effective freedom to create, undertake projects, have several activities, both useful and truly chosen. Can cultural entrepreneurs be, once again, at the avant-garde, by being the pioneers of a new model?

[1] Travail emploi numérique : les nouvelles trajectoires, Conseil National du Numérique, janvier 2016, available here :

[2] Study from Carl Frey and Michael Osbourne, 2013, or the study from the consulting firm Roland Berger, 2014. 

About Antoine Stéphany

Antoine Stéphany is a student in public administration at Sciences Po Paris. Current intern at the Forum d’Avignon, he is more specifically interested in cultural policy issues, economic models in the cultural sector, digital economy and social policies. He is also engaged in several cultural, sports, and social associations.