FREELANCERS MAKE THEATRE WORK MEETING: FRIDAY 14 January 2022
Chair: Josie Underwood
Minutes: Alistair Cope
Present: Josie Underwood, Jake Orr, Paul Carey Jones, Kelsie Acton, Nikki Edmonds, Vicki Mortimer, Mimi Doulton, Athen Stevens, Emma Jayne Park, Bill Bankes-Jones, Freddie Crossley, Alistair Cope, Paule Constable
Our anti-racism statement was read out and values 8 and 3 were shared at the start of the meeting. We also all shared our ways of ‘chilling out’ when time allows. Box sets seemed to be the go to place.
Updates and reports
Updates & reports:
- Big Freelancer Survey (JU)
First draft is nearly finished and will be sent out imminently. PCJ – for road testing, we need a couple of people who have left the industry.
Open House- this was discussed but we would like more suggestions as to what this could be and how it would work – Paule C, is this for networks or individuals? JU – to be discussed. EJP – could the open house be pre submitted questions? We should also open it up to individuals as that is freelancer friendly.
All professions sharing – who else could we be sharing this with?
PCJ – Melissa from Essex Uni has informed us we can’t call is a census (as it is not)
Paule C – timings? So road test – to partner orgs and targeted individuals; then a briefing session; then an open house with pre delivered questions – than the launch? Is that right?
Josie U – I have a list of who we currently want to send this to
EJP – Northern Ireland Equity are meeting on the 24th and this is to be discussed there. Could we also each find one freelancer who is not involved in FLTW to road test.
Mimi- In support of Paule’s point – we have done a survey before. We have made learnings from that. It’s not like we are doing this for the first time. Good to be cautious and listen to people, but let’s not forget what we have already achieved.
PC – thinking of the 24th (the Northern Ireland meeting, should this be our date to launch the testing? JU – I agree – Thumbs up all round.
- Wellbeing launch (AC/JU)
Dawn Chorus and Tea Breaks continue. Yoga begins on Tuesday and Freelancer Problem Solving begins Wednesday Evening and tickets have been claimed.
Paule – Could feedback from Andrew’s Freelance Problem sessions be anonymously shared with FMTW to make sure we are listening to what freelance concerns are?
- Big 12 funders (PC/JO/AC)
Paule C – There was a meeting this week about following up on our Big 12 funders email. We are writing a response to those who have offered us support thanking them and asking for a point of contact with the org. It also links to our values for them to see. All very light touch. A second letter has been drafted to those who we have not heard from. We have pushed hard about the DCMS survey and the importance of FMTW within the industry.
EJ – In the Anti Racism meeting it was discussed about sharing values and really only engaging with orgs etc that share our values. Specific mention of those venues that became ‘temporary courts’ in the last 2 years and how that doesn’t align with our values.
- Skills-based workshop producer (AC/JU)
We need a producer to help run our skills based workshops. We would love to put this out externally but timings wise means we need someone in place ASAP. Is anyone available?
JO- the money has to be spent by the end of March. That’s why there is a tight turnaround. We have outlined what the money will be spent on so we have to deliver that.
Can we individually approach some people due to the tight turn around.
There is acknowledgement of the fact that ‘hiring from within’ goes against our values and we are aware that this is not how we want to work.
PC- Can we shift the balance of the funding? JO – I will contact ACE and see what we can do with the funding.
AC – We need to be aware that there will be a ‘hiring process’ if we go external. PC- let us find a light touch ‘project hiring’. JO – In support of Paule’s point – we have done a survey before. We have made learnings from that. It’s not like we are doing this for the first time. Good to be cautious and listen to people, but let’s not forget what we have already achieved.
- SOLT / UK Theatre meeting (JU/PC)
10 principles – we would like a follow up meeting and there is a poll out seeing when folk are available. Poll here.
- Agenda points
- Monthly open meetings (PC)
Could we invite other freelance networks to meet once a month. Sharing lobbying ifo, the big ask etc. Create a more dynamic and information sharing space for Freelancer and groups.
Mimi- is that not AAPTLE? PC – AAPTLE represents organisations that have freelancer AND salaried staff. NIkki – It’s the reason I like to be in both rooms.
VM – It feels urgent that there should be this space.
- Symposium update
JO – We went along to the first ‘partners meeting. It was a good meeting. We spoke through whet the ‘aim’ of the symposium would be and what some of the questions would be. Spoke about partner payment and expectations. We felt the conversation would be further down the road and quite surprised it is still so early on. A small concern around time and timings but exciting to be involved. Acknowledged that there are certain things we might not be able to change/do because of time constraints. FC – It became clear that it is England based only and that seemed to have not been noticed. There is a conversation around further funding (perhaps from the other Arts Councils) to expand the symposium. At the end of the meeting it felt like there was a lot to do but nothing for us to do specifically which felt odd.
JO – Yes, there needs to be clear action points at the end of the meeting but we need to recognise that they form of the whole symposium and meetings hasn’t been set yet.
PC – Do you feel that People Male It Work will be listening to all the partners? FC – it was discussed afterwards and we will make sure the voices are heard. There was also discussion about there being an ‘evaluator’ of the whole process. Would this be something we could do? – PC – Those are two different roles and we shouldn’t be both. Critical friends and evaluators should be separate. (Lots of thumbs up and agreement with Paule and backed up by Vicki). It is a potential conflict of interest. JO- They’re keen for the evaluation to be an internal evaluation within the partnership and for it to reflect the process we’re going on. VM- Then could it be a group evaluation with everyone contributes to?
- Jack Gamble – Public Campaign for the Arts
Jack popped in to talk about PCA.
JG – It feels like Omicron brought a lot of the campaign groups back together which was much needed. The thinking was also improved and aligned.
The emergency hasn’t gone away but much of the collaboration has.
We are doing a daily check in inspired by a similar scheme in New York. They tried it on Monday but there was a difference of opinion as to how often the calls should be so this has now been paused. Could we come up with a better idea together?
Jack would like to help FMTW reach the wider public to highlight the plight of freelancers. What can we partner on?
PC – There is an ‘argument for the sector’ but at the same time public confidence is low. We made the plea that they are connected but still separate issues. The work the PCA and FMTW is mutually beneficial. Together we are stronger though we both work in different areas. All our rooms have become smaller so if groups become a little more porous, that is a good thing.
NE – Making a space for different arts freelancers is a really helpful.
PC – Shall we try and set something up?
JG – Yes. Im happy to help.
VM – To clarify, would this be a Friday session that is opened up to more groups etc?
MD- is it worth having some quite clear outcomes for the meeting before we invite people? Might encourage people to come.
JG – What sort of meeting is it? Information sharing? Or more about organising and coordinating?
VM – Can it be a bit of both?
JG – Could we start with a one off meeting so we don’t try and create something when we don’t really know what it is?
PC – Shall we organise an internal meeting to discuss this further. What is the invitation and who is coming from. It should be a shared space, not an FMTW PCA space. It is open just is hosted by us etc.
VM – Agreed. We need to make sure the invitation is clear even if we don’t know what the meeting will evolve into.
- Find a producer/coordinator for Workshops -Josie to put out a more explicit internal ask flagging it is paid and there is support
- Fill in poll about 10 principles (everyone)
- Push back testing of Big Freelancer Survey and send out testing on the 24th when the Northern Ireland Equity group meet.
- Set up a meeting with Jack Gamble about further chats around how we can work together and organise a shared space.