FREELANCERS MAKE THEATRE WORK

WEEKLY MEETING MINUTES

09:30-11:30, FRIDAY 02nd October

Present: Natalie Abrahami, Kelsie Acton, Ben Arkell, Rachel Bagshaw, Siobhan Barbour, Sally Beck Wippman, Nafeesah Butt, Emma Cameron, Paule Constable, Alistair Cope,  Freddie Crossley, Anna Fleischle, Sunita Hinduja, Hazel Holder, Jack Hudson, Emma Jayne Park, Peter McKintosh, Prema Mehta, Vicki Mortimer, Arran Pallan, Tom Piper, Beth Steel, Athena Stevens, Ella Taylor, Leo Wan

Guest speaker:  Jane Tarr, Arts Council England

ACE are currently making the case to government for funding through the spending review, which they expect to be slightly different to its usual form.

ACE are aware that the government’s rescue packages have focused on buildings and organisations, so have redirected a lot of their own efforts to freelancers, both now and going forward. The work they are currently doing with freelancers includes: putting more money into the Artists Fund and the Help Musicians fund; relaunching the Developing Your Creative Practice Fund later this year with a higher budget; splitting project grants 50/50 between organisations and freelancers and stipulated that Project Grants for Portfolio Organisations must include support for freelancers; working with individuals and freelance groups on support projects; factoring support for individuals into their long-term plans to be announced early next year; holding paid consultations to review Project Grants for next year.

There is a need for skills and job development to focus on young people and creative freelancers. ACE are currently thinking about how they can support more clarity and visibility to entry routes into the cultural sector. This might include: building on the Creative Careers Campaign with partner organisations; supporting the Digital Discover Week; engaging with the Government’s recently announced Kickstart programme; establishing working apprenticeships – lots of local authorities are aware that this has been an especially tough time for recent graduates, with no degree shows or networking events; setting up local mentoring groups; building creating leadership programmes to develop people from all backgrounds; and broadening models of governance – e.g. getting more freelancers on boards.

In the ensuing conversation, the following things were discussed:

  • The threat to diversity in the industry, as identified in the Big Freelancer Survey
  • Individuals already looking at ways to get more freelancers on boards
  • The contentious issue of having NPOs and groups attempting to represent all freelancers
  • The language deficit around individuals who fall between ‘emerging’ and ‘established’
  • The need for organisations and freelancers to find solutions together
  • The pressure on the industry to be grateful for existing support, despite its insufficiency

It was suggested that we establish a monthly recurring dialogue with ACE in these meetings.

Updates on projects from working group

Website and social media​​

  • We shared images from the We Make Events day and Panto Parade, which got a lot of traffic
  • There were lots of acknowledgements of FMTW from people commenting on the events
  • We still needs content, especially commentary on events like the house of lords debate

Emails ​​​​

  • We will investigate purchasing a second email address to funnel communications for individual projects away from main account

Merchandise

  • A company are making us an online store and managing it, they have sent through designs
  • We will explore ways to make items available to people for whom cost is a barrier
  • We can also set up a donations page
  • The items will be sustainably made and produced in Edinburgh
  • It was noted that we should describe fasteners on zips and buttons etc
  • We need a separate conversation about what how we would use the proceeds
  • We could potentially tie the wearable items into a visual social media campaign

Picnics/Team Breaks

  • Our first tea break was well received
  • We are not allowed to tweet the zoom link so will adapt how we share it
  • We need another host for next week
  • We have connected with a couple of people to make the tea breaks more accessible

​​Podcasts

  • We have our first recording and are putting together text for intro and outro
  • We need someone to record this this week for a teaser.
  • We have arranged a recording at a second theatre and other venues have been suggested
  • Music has been composed for the podcast

Spa Sessions

  • The Globe have confirmed that we can run two well-being sessions in-person next week
  • The page is now up on our website –  https://freelancersmaketheatrework.com/spa/ 
  • Freelancers can apply by ballot and will be selected at random, as places are limited
  • If it works, we’ll hopefully do more with them, and explore other venues around the country
  • A couple of people have offered to help the facilitators on the day

Newsletter

  • We have a newsletter ready for next week and a volunteer for the following week

AAPTLE Letter

  • To be discussed and signed later today

Guest speaker suggestions & updates

  • Paul Fleming is happy to come and speak to us when he is available
  • Lindsay Turner is happy to discuss her project further once funding is confirmed

Future Labs

  • The trial panel this week was a success – thank you to everyone who was involved
  • We have drafted a timeline for the remaining panels over two weeks at the end of October
  • We need to confirm the topics and discuss possible participants – to be picked up by email

Engagement & Core Values Document

  • The draft could be separated into two documents – core values and working structures
  • The core values could be distilled into a simple ‘why’ and ‘how’ principles
  • Alongside working structures, it would be useful to have a live list of our activities

Recap action points and deadlines

  • Pursue regular meeting with ACE
  • Investigate setting up second mail box and continue setting up online store
  • Discuss how we would use the proceeds from merchandise
  • Record intro and outro for podcast
  • Share the spa sessions once live
  • Meet to discuss and sign the AAPTLE letter
  • Continue conversations about next round of Future Labs

Dates and times of next meetings

  • Lobbying group meeting – Monday (time to be shared in slack)
  • Future Labs – Monday, Wednesday, Friday (recordings to be shared internally)
  • Regular catch up – Friday 09 October, 16:00 (chair: Sunita Hinduja)

AOB 

Members to speak to journalist this week for piece about the hold up of financial support for individuals.

If you are on social media, please follow our accounts and like posts to increase their reach.

The lobbying group will meet on Monday to update the MPs letter and draft a response to funding updates and the commons debate.

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