I would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I recognise the inherent value of Indigenous Australian perspectives to the University of Canberra and the continuing contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academics to research and education across this nation and around the world.
The 4 phases of this study
Aim of the Study
In this study I aim to discover how we might replicate financial success at all levels of women’s business ownership starting from the micro-business level, through the exploration of personal narratives and the lived-experiences of women in creative business.
The central question that this project asks is:
What can the lived experiences of women artists, craft practitioners and designers tell us about starting and growing a financially successful maker micro-business in Australia?
Questions that are consequently asked are:
i) Do women who own creative businesses making over $64,000 profit per year, have other commonalities across other areas of their lives that may be related to these financial outcomes? What are they and what significance do they play?
ii) To what extent are concepts such as grit (Duckworth et al., 2007), mindset (C. Dweck, 2016) and resilience (Garmezy & Masten, 1986) related to financial outcomes for women makers involved in micro-enterprise?
iii) To what extent is education around business, marketing and branding (including mentoring) related to financial outcomes for women makers involved in micro-enterprise?
iv) To what extent do gender roles (Money et al., 1957), socioeconomic status, and family/friend support networks relate to financial outcomes for women makers involved in micro-enterprise?
v) To what extent is the social role and experience of motherhood related to financial outcomes for women makers involved in micro-enterprise?
Research approach and methods
The Academic Version
This practice-led research will explore the lived experiences of women involved in creative micro-business through a feminist standpoint framework (A. Brooks, 2007). The embedded mixed-method study will utilise narrative (Bold, 2013) and thematic analysis (Aronson, 1995), with an embedded cross-tabulation quantitative analysis to inform the creation of a documentary-style audio podcast.
Human behaviour is individual and complex: in order to explore the social factors that may impact on a woman’s success in business, we need to look at that woman’s own experience of her circumstances. “Women’s concrete experiences consist of what women do.” (A. Brooks, 2007, p. 4). Feminist standpoint scholars argue that we must build knowledge from women’s actual concrete experiences to have an authentic understanding of what life is like for women, “if we hope to repair the historical trend of women’s misrepresentation and exclusion from the dominant knowledge canons” (A. Brooks, 2007, p. 4). This study intends to explore the many and various roles women have in their lives and society and how these inform their business practices. “Feminist research seeks to support social change and unearth subjugated knowledge by placing the lives of women and other marginalized groups at the center of research inquiry.” (S. Hesse-Biber & Flowers, 2019, p. 2). Examining the range of activities that women engage with in daily life we can examine how they cultivate particular knowledge and utilise unique skill sets (A. Brooks, 2007) within their business activities.
What I’m doing
The Human Version
I believe your stories matter and in order to better understand why and how women succeed financially in their business endeavours, I want to find out what you experience on a daily basis, how you think of yourself in terms of being a business owner, and how this impacts what you do in business. I will then explore the potential relationship between these factors and your financial outcomes, to see if there are any similarities in the experiences or personal narratives between women who are bringing in comparable revenue amounts. Through this exploration, I hope to identify what unique skill sets, particular knowledge or individual circumstances financially successful creative women in micro-business possess, in order to discover how we might replicate this across all levels of women’s business ownership in our industry of Makers.