national collaborative for creative work

National Collaborative for Creative Work

A network of creators, policy thinkers, movement makers and change agents

The National Collaborative for Creative Work was a network of creators, policy thinkers, movement makers and change agents who worked together to weave projects, partnerships and policy solutions to enable healthy, equitable creative work in the United States. The National Collaborative concluded in spring of 2022; much of its work continues through other ASU entities, including the Studio for Creativity, Place and Equitable Communities. On this page, we invite you to explore the mission behind the Collaborative and the completed and ongoing work that began as part of the Collaborative.


Creative work isn’t working for workers.

At the time we launched the National Collaborative, statistics showed that creative work wasn't working for all workers. 

We believe creative work can sustain people and their communities.

The Collaborative worked toward that future.


Our mission

Our mission was to activate artists, educators, movement leaders and policy makers to imagine learning, tools and policies that support the social, financial and civic health of workers and their communities.  


How we grounded our work

  • Facilitating dynamic collaboration with artists and creative networks that center community wisdom and support self-determination.
  • Modeling of racially equitable decision making and leadership in our work.
  • Leveraging our unique place and investment in the civic and economic health of creative workers and communities in the Southwest. 

We did this work through partnerships, projects and research that spanned several portfolios.

Early work

The first phase of the National Collaborative for Creative Work, under the National Accelerator for Cultural Innovation name, engaged more than 200 collaborators from artists to national thought leaders in applied projects that transform our notion of creative work:

  • Partnered with the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Southwest Folklife Alliance in AZ Creative Communities, a network of nine communities investing in artists and place-based projects.
  • Invested in 14 Phoenix-based artists, unemployed due to COVID-19, as content creators helping other artists navigate state pandemic assistance and artist recovery resources.
  • Hosted dozens of community projects, online career sessions and conversations helping students navigate the complexities of gig and community-focused careers.
  • Initiated national partnerships and fellowships exploring the expansion of cultural work in health, transportation, infrastructure, juvenile justice, parks and community development.

How we made decisions

The Collaborative was coordinated through a shared leadership structure between BIPOC and non-BIPOC team members who committed to facilitate internal and external work, with a focus on power analysis, reparative action and mutual support. Each co-leader managed key operational functions of the collaborative and served as team lead for a core portfolio.

Our partners and investors

We participated as a thought leader, partner and collaborator in a variety of national efforts to provide increased wages and worker protections, deeper investments in BIPOC-driven creative industries and better public policy for creative workers. We did this partnership with others working toward similar goals in our field. 

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