Chair: Peter McKintosh

Minutes: Josie Underwood

Present: Peter McKintosh, Paule Constable, Josie Underwood, Mimi Doulton, Jake Orr, Kelsie Acton, Paul Carey Jones, Emma Jayne Park, Sunita Hinduja, Freddie Crossley

Apologies: Vicki Mortimer, Alistair Cope

Updates and reports

Note: Josie wrote an email to everyone yesterday with agenda, meeting times/link and an open welcome to anyone that wants to come along (even if you feel out of the loop!) and it didn’t send!! Will make sure the agenda reaches everyone on thursdays from now on!


JO: Last week we sent out a letter to NPOs in England requesting that they support fMTW through an annual donation. We have heard back from 4, 2 have said they will donate £6000 each, and another 2 saying they will discuss and come back to us. We will wait a couple of weeks/maybe after christmas will get in touch again.

We have discussed writing a letter of agreement for the organisations who will be donating which outlines our values and assigns a point person from the organisation,

PC: Arts Council England funding has just come in as well. Also using this fundraising ask as a way of opening conversation with these venues, even if they say no. A fast no is almost as good as a yes.

EJ: Letter of agreement with a box for the organisations to add their own input into the agreement.

JO: Do we acknowledge the organisations that have supported us?

MD: Have they asked us to shout about giving us the money?

JO: No direct asks yet.

PM: It would be good to do a follow up with the organisations that have yet responded telling them of the support we have so far raised.

PC: We should also name them on our website.

EJ: This would be good to also highlight the organisations that we are in conversations with as well. Then we could have a freelancers wall too for all volunteers past and present.

SH: What are the plans for scotland and wales?

JO: We are in conversations about this and it is the plan to move these conversations forward.

Action points:

  • Write a letter of agreement for funding organisations
  • Set up meetings to discuss links with Scotland and Wales


Big Freelancer Survey

JU: We have been working further on the Big Freelancer Survey, and this week were joined by Sally Wippman and Paul Carey Jones! Working on the main theme of this survey being working conditions and the skills drain we are experiencing – asking what people need to make things better/to stay in the industry/to com back to the industry.

PCJ: How do we get the survey to the people who are no longer in the industry (as they are harder to contact now, and there is likely an emotional response from those people)?

PC: ACE Funding has some money for some heavy lifting producing on this project. Natalie Abrahmai and Lynsey Turnery have got in touch to ask if we can gather data, so we have asked them if they would like to join the space. BECTU etc might be a good place to find those people who have left the industry.

NE: Using unions to access people who have left. CiTEA has a social plan that is about networking for freelancers, to create social connection.

MD: Is it worth us talking to help musicians? They have found that 1 in 3 have not got back into work 

PM: Does this need to be two surveys? OR does it just have to be two separate marketing ploys for 

PC: Can we reinforce the network of stakeholders to share the survey would share it more widely? ISM?

JU: Yes, two separate targeted marketing 

PM: People feel so much more energised this week compared to last december!

Action points:

  • Talk to Help Musicians about how they contacted those who have left the industry.
  • Fold in partners before the survey is released to make sure we can spread it as widely as possible.


ACE Symposium Tender

JU: Our tender (led by People Make It Work!!) has been accepted and we are now working towards a freelancer symposium with Migrants in Culture, Inc Arts, Something to Aim For, MAX, Dance FTF, What Next, People Make It Work! Very exciting news, very exciting collaboration and partners, and this is a great opportunity for the freelancer voice to be heard and amplified! Next step is to get people in a room, and also a meeting on Dec 8th with ACE.

PC: MAX is involved so there is an opera voice in the room.

Action points:

  • If you are interested in being involved with the ACE Freelancer symposium,  let Josie know!

Agenda Points

Pay for involvement in FMTW

PCJ: Inspired by the Unlock programme that asks that there is time, space and funding given to projects led by people of global majority led to a conversation about race and class being a barrier to access when it comes to being a volunteer spaces. Radical idea of asking whether we should begin to offer to pay people to be in the FMTW rooms.

PC: Conflicting feelings about this, as the energy it takes to fundraise is very scary. In principle the thought of paying everyone is wonderful, but it would be a drain of energy on the group.

EJ: Lots of complicated emotions around this proposal, monetary values make the work we do complicated. There is a way of creating a social justice pay scale that would be a fair way of pay – Platform London have a module that seems to work very well. (Example: There is also a question around public money being used to pay for this work. We also rarely acknowledge the time put in by volunteers for free!

SH: The Unlock programme is designed for companies and organisations so we have had to alter the lens that we see it through, but it has come up multiple times that race and class can become a barrier to volunteering. The suggestion of pay-what-you-can or pay it forward schemes, where you can opt out of payment, or there are specific ways you qualify to be paid for this time. Is there a direct way to ask for money that specifically goes towards a pot of money supporting people who face barriers to volunteering, so that this money is openly raised for this means, as opposed to using public funds.

MD: We need to find the money first to make sure this is possible. As and when, we can ask for money that pays for consultation for freelancers, project based?

EJ: Could we expand on donation modal, value by time, many different ways of doing this!

JU: Slow burn! And we need to thank people who already pay their time in!! Lego Wall!

PC: Companies and institutions who can’t donate large amounts of money, but they could instead sponsor a freelancer to be in the room. Yes to Lego wall thanking volunteers!

JO: Strategy head – we are fortunate that right now we have secured our costs for next year, which means that any additional fundraising that we are doing will most likely be project based, and within that we would add a contribution to our overheads per projects, so every project application could include a contribution to a pot of money that supports volunteers to be in the room. Merchandising and sporadic donations could very easily be put towards this. It possible!!

PCJ: Tying this back into the Unlock project, we could try a test run which would be a way to see if this would work and also with an aim to diversify the space.

PM: buy as a minimum donation of £15, this could be a modal for paying for this?


Skills based workshops

JU: ACE have given us money to deliver free-to-access skills based workshops for freelancers, which need to be delivered by March 2022. We need to set up a group to get this off the ground.

EJ: Can we do some research to see what is already out there, and therefore we can find those places that aren’t covered but there is a real demand for them.

MD: Athena and I are doing workshops for Babylon so should link up. What 

PC: The money for the survey from ACE -where is this money going? Also, if we have a pot of money and we have committed to delivering 6 workshops and those facilitators are paid, then can we also set aside money for the people who produce this project?

(UK Theatre, how to use the 10 principles!!)


Action points:

  • If you are interested in working on the skills based workshops, let Josie know!


Town Halls

JO: Discussed recruitment drive and numbers in the FMTW room currently. A way to directly connect with the community and potentially find new volunteers?

PC: Useful thing to have in the back of our heads when talking about the symposium as it could be a good stepping stone.

EJ: Future thoughts, a way to make something like town hall meaningful could be to make it consistent offer (every 3 months). Could be an onboarding thing, you could volunteer to help organise the next town hall, enabling freelancers to get involved without a long term commitment.

JO: One between Jan-March to kickstart the year?



NE: Specific issue that has come up around an employee and an issue that costume people have had for a while that runs parallel to understudy roles, and recognising that costume people are often required to fill in for wig roles, which is an entirely different skill set!

Multi-skilling clause got taken out of the variation agreement, which is now being put through the back door.

We need to recognise everyone’s skills, and the difference between skills! Unskilled lighting people being asked to run heavy automation, creating a very unsafe working environment.

A statement has gone out, and we would like it to be shared, lending our FMTW voice to the solidarity around this.

PM: This heavily effects touring doesn’t it?

NE: Yes, it’s huge and it is incredibly unsafe. There is such a skills drain!

PC: This is absolutely effecting freelancers, young lighting designers etc being asked to programme their shows in west end. Tech swings, a profession where people are trained in all areas, which is a great way of safe guarding these issues.

PCJ: 100% behind you on this. This is a test case that is specific but the wider principle that absolutely applies to 

Danger is that, with british theatre, it will slide into am dram in 10 years, who 

JU: We are also talking about this issue within Big Freelancer Survey.


Action Points:

  • Add our name to the statement as FMTW.



NE: Employed until you are freelancer Newsletter! When the Big Freelancer Survey goes out remind me that I have said I will do this!


  • Write a letter of agreement for funding organisations
  • Set up meetings to discuss links with Scotland and Wales
  • Talk to Help Musicians about how they contacted those who have left the industry.
  • Fold in partners before the survey is released to make sure we can spread it as widely as possible.
  • If you are interested in being involved with the ACE Freelancer symposium, let Josie know!
  • If you are interested in working on the skills based workshops, let Josie know!
  • Add our name to the statement as FMTW.