Present: Bill Bankes-Jones, Ben Arkell, Prema Mehta, Susan Kempster, Anne McNulty, Jake Orr, Kelsie Acton, Paule Constable, Vicki Mortimer, Leigh Toney, Jess Murrain, Peter McKintosh, Andy Whyment, John McCann, Emma Jayne Park, Sunita Hinduja
Apologies: Alastair Cope, Ella Taylor, Freddie Crossley, Steffan Donnelly, Shankho Chaudhuri, Tom Piper, Beth Steel, Nikki Edmonds, Arran Pallan, China Odimba
Late arrivals: Titas Halder
Early leavers: Andy Whyment, Jess Murrain, Paule Constable, Sunita Hinduja
Updates and reports
Congrats to the NT Workshops, and thank you so much to Beth and Al for the massive amounts of organisation that went into them!!!
Mark Shayle meeting
Earlier this week Vicki posted a poll on slack to ask how FMTW felt about setting up a meeting with Mark Shayle regarding Reset Better and there were no negative responses. As there is a Reset meeting this afternoon with numerous organisations it was decided that Vicki and Bill will go to the town hall meeting on the 26th April and feedback to the wider group. Ben has also offered to step into these meetings but cannot attend the meeting this afternoon.
- Vicki and Bill will attend town hall meeting on 26th April and will feedback to the group
A couple of emails in the inbox have been posted on slack as they have not yet been responded to. This raised a conversation about creating (multiple) mechanisms for how these emails are responded to as it is a problem for them to be left hanging! It was raised that our capacity is an issue when it comes to responding to emails, as we do not have a clear idea of what offers to say yes or no to.
It was noted that salaried researchers can be unappreciative of the capacity of freelancers to provide responses. However, we are more resourced than usual freelancers so this could be a FMTW visibility problem – what people think we do effects the questions we are asked. so this could be solved by the greater ‘What’s Next for FMTW’ question.
A few suggestions were made:
- Josie to respond to all emails that come in with a thank you message and pass on to volunteers
- Every Friday ask volunteers for a “hands up” to respond to any outstanding emails
- FMTW to run a quarterly Town Hall so that freelancers can engage – perhaps a meeting to discuss this?
- A standard response should be written for academic research requests (for this we might need to outline a set of criteria for the study to meet in order for us to share with our followers).
- Meeting to discuss a quarterly town hall ?
- Standard response to academic requests to be developed ?
- Meeting to discuss issues raised in Brian McCardie email ?
- Someone to respond to recent research study email ?
Return to work
After the meeting on Tuesday it seems that this could be a substantial piece of work, a project we could get stuck into. Wellbeing was a pressing theme throughout.
The following ideas were proposed:
- Social media campaign 1 – talking about our fears as freelancers on the return to work
- Social Media campaign 2 – freelancers empower freelancers
- A blog series; frustrations with slow change, show the anger
- Letters to ADs
- Peer support chats
It was discussed that each stage could be carried out by a different group dependent on capacity/preference.
In order for the first stage to work the following was proposed:
- Draft call out to be sent out by next Friday (23rd April)
- Gather to distil messages / craft campaign 1st week of May (Include conversation about the specifics of the Instagram and Twitter campaigns)
- Launch campaign middle of May to coincide with venues reopening.
- Peer support chats – with optional feedback modes (eg via google form, voicenote etc) – pair with members of FMTW. Must make sure there is a thought out process for facilitators so that this isn’t an emotional exhausting process for them.
It was noted that the structure proposed in this meeting works well. (Baby Fraiser agrees)
- Call out draft for SM campaign 1to be signed off by next Friday –
- Meeting 1st week of May to distil messages / craft SM campaign 1 –
- Meeting to arrange peer support sessions –
- Video of meeting to be shared –
Josie to write other half of newsletter with Beth on NT workshops
It was discussed that this is a good time to begin a conversation about what is next for FMTW, as a few projects are reaching a natural conclusion – eg wellbeing, podcast. Capacity and expectation of volunteers was mentioned in terms of the problems these things have been presenting.
Jake mentioned that in order to support future fundraising for FMTW a clear direction would be beneficial.
A refocus of our short term and long term aims was suggested, alongside a revisiting of those activities that came to a close due to lockdown (ie Spa days, Sunitas picnics) or a natural conclusion (ie Weekly boxing; if we could provide a fee for the running of this would it be more sustainable, do we want to continue such wellbeing programmes).
It was mentioned that long term strategy is needed as opposed to the responsive behaviour that we currently operate under, but this was highlighted as an issue of capacity as well as lack of direction. We have been successful in our response to the pandemic, but what is our place moving forward?
Bill put forward the example of We Shall Not Be Removed, who aim “to put ourselves out of existence by June 2021” which provides a strong, focussed strategy. It was agreed that this would be an ideal, but that we are not quite there yet. Peter commented that we have been treading water and sustaining optimism but the future should be FMTW identifying the important things and spreading that message (he was then interrupted by a cuckoo clock). It was proposed that we ask what the ‘7 things’ we want the industry to recognise about freelancers, and how we could use the Big Freelancer Report to identify those. It was contested that ‘7 things’ are useless without a strategy going forward,
It was noted that we must maintain an awareness that not all freelancers will be returning to work, and how can we support those in this position. It was also noted that organisations will likely return to their previous normal in order to get back on their feet before our message will be heard.
It was commented that the louder voices in the room are often heard, so if we can hear from everyone it would help democratically. Leigh offered alongside Josie to support the collation of this information and will draft a call out to volunteers for a response (in whatever format) to the question of what’s next for FMTW. Questions about capacity and availability should be included in this call out. Deadline of the 30th April to have responses received and collated.
- The Podcast is doing really well, but reviews will help push us up so would be much appreciated. Also, if everyone could use their networks to push out the Ghost Stories callout that would be useful as currently there is a lack of diversity in the stories we have received.
- We’ve been asked to sign up to ISM, Bill will pop a message into Slack and Bat Signal for review
- The chairing group are looking for one more person – Volunteers needed! Not urgent but one more would be fab, not too complicated but involves a little bit of work. Peter will pop a callout on Slack.
- Prema reached out to Liverpool March for the Arts, who are keen to chat with FMTW, and should be remembered as an example of another group working in a similar way to FMTW.
- Josie has now taken over the email@example.com inbox and can be reached there for any enquiries!
- EJ – Edinburgh fringe have opened their registration even though no guidelines have been released. EJ will arrange a meeting about this next week for anyone interested in joining.
- Final THANK YOU to Beth and Al for all their hard work on NT Workshops!!!
Action Points Recap
- Attend Reset Better TH meeting on 26th and feedback
- Develop standard response to academic requests
- Draft callout for stage one of ‘Return to Work’ SM campaign
- Meeting 1st week of May to distil messages / craft SM campaign 1
- Meeting to arrange peer support sessions
- Video of ‘Return to Work’ meeting to be shared
- Newsletter to be shared by Beth and Josie
- Draft callout for volunteers to respond to ‘What Next for FMTW’ question
- Video of this weeks meeting to be shared
- Share call out for PODCAST and leave reviews if you enjoyed
- Call out for a volunteer for the chairing group
- Meeting to respond to Edinburgh Fringe Society