The Creative Society grew from an article written in the New Statesman in January 2009 by Martin Bright, the magazine’s former political editor. Martin was inspired by an  American scheme from the 1930s which put artists, writers and musicians to work on cultural projects during the depression. He believed this could be adapted for modern Britain. The Works Progress Administration (WPA), which was introduced  by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the 1930’s Depression and saved thousands of people from destitution. The article struck a chord and Martin was inundated with offers of support from the creative sector and politicians from all parties.

The charity was formally launched on March 29th 2009 at Number 11 Downing Street at an event hosted by hosted by then Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling and his wife Maggie. Prominent individuals from the world of the arts and politics joined forces to call for a fresh approach to tackling youth unemployment. As a result, the Future Jobs Fund, launched by the government to tackle long-term unemployment, included a specific commitment to creating jobs in the arts.

Through the Future Jobs Fund, the Creative Society helped over a thousand people into work. This work continued with the Arts Council's successor scheme, the Creative Employment Programme, and a host of other initiatives to create work or improve access to creative jobs.

More recently the charity has worked closely with Trust for London and the Walcot Foundation to tackle the issue of in-work poverty among young creative people. This has allowed us to develop an intensive mentoring scheme and a series of careers events in collaboration with employers. With Arts Council support we are now drawing on 10 years of experience to develop the Creative Job Studio, a holistic approach to tackling the barriers young people face to breaking into the creative sector. The pilot was launched in October 2017 at Somerset House in central London and provided drop-ins to meet employers, careers days, advice sessions and artistic events produced by young artists. In 2019 the Creative Job Studio will continue its work in London but also setup shop in the North East, via a partnership with mima (Middlebrough Institute of Modern Art) and Yorkshire, where Creative Society will work with Screen Yorkshire.