This report sets out to show that the co-operative model is a real alternative to competitive and individualized patterns of work. Building on Dave Boyle and Kate Oakley’s reflections on why co-operatives and creative industries are a good fit, this report is based on research we carried out in 2019 and 2020 on co-ops in creative industries in Canada, the UK, and the US. We designed and distributed an online survey completed by 106 co-ops and interviewed 12 members of worker co-ops.
Our research reveals a small but vibrant co-operative landscape in the cultural and tech sectors, from co-operatively run art galleries to co-op advertising agencies, web development companies, architecture firms, coworking spaces, ceramic studios, and film production rental services.
Our findings showcase the diversity of co-operative practice in the creative industries. Statistical data give an overview of the sector and co-op profiles illustrate what co-operative work can look like in practice. While this report will be of interest to established co-operators who want to learn more about how other co-ops operate, Sharing Like We Mean It is geared to cultural and tech workers who may be drawn to the co-operative idea but want to better understand its practicalities and potentials. But this report is not a how-to guide on starting a co-op. For anyone wanting to take concrete steps towards working co-operatively, we note some of many excellent resources available in the Co-op Support Systems section of this report.