'Covid-19 opened the pandora box' of the creative city: creative and cultural workers against precarity in Milan

Jessica Tanghetti, Roberta Comunian, Tamsyn Dent

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Creative and cultural workers (CCWs) concentrate in large cities due to the livelihood opportunities they facilitate. Synchronously, cities have experienced the highest rate of Covid-19 infections. Focusing on the case study of Milan, the paper explores the criticalities of the sector and the impact of the pandemic using qualitative interviews and digital ethnography. It highlights how C-19 has exacerbated the effects of neoliberalism on CCWs, illuminating their precarious working conditions but paradoxically providing time and focus for workers to collectively organise. This paper captures CCWs use of the city to make their precarious working conditions visible in response to the unsustainable demands of neoliberalism. It also engages with the need for re-futuring contemporary understanding of the creative city, questioning the value of agglomeration economies and creative city policies, especially if workers' rights and livelihoods do not become central to the future local policy agenda.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberrsac018
Pages (from-to)615-634
Number of pages20
JournalCambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society
Issue number3
Early online date23 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


  • Covid-19
  • creative and cultural workers
  • creative city
  • cultural policy
  • Milan
  • precarity

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