FREELANCERS MAKE THEATRE WORK
WEEKLY MEETING MINUTES
09:30-11:30, FRIDAY 18 December
Present: Kelsie Acton, Ben Arkell, Rachel Bagshaw, Bill Bankes-Jones, Sally Beck Wippman, Paule Constable, Freddie Crossley, Sunita Hinduja, Hazel Holder, Matt Humphrey, Anna Fleischle, Ola Ince, Emma Jayne Park, Susan Kempster, Peter McKintosh, Prema Mehta, Vicki Mortimer, Tom Piper, Beth Steel, Ella Taylor, Adele Thomas, Leo Wan, Andrew Whyment
Guest speaker: Alice McGrath from Federation of Scottish Theatre
FST is a membership organisation for Scottish theatre and dance. Alice also runs Red Bridge Arts and works as a facilitator.
Working with members and other organisations to identify key issues across the industry, which highlighted care of the workforce and EDI as being the greatest concerns, alongside audience and community, economics and infrastructure, environment and international work. They have been working to unpack each of these over the last few months and running events with arts bodies, and in conversation with the Scottish government, investigating each of these topics.
Post the events they are now looking at the changes organisations can make to address these issues, from language to policy and practice. There is an awareness that if these things are not acted on now then we might lose the moment. In the immediate term they have decided to focus their efforts of people and their welfare. To this end, four working groups have been set up for the next year: environment; EDI; fair work; audience.
It was acknowledged that the Scottish Government are more aligned with these principles, such as the wellbeing economy, than other parts of the UK.
- Episode one has been released! Well done to everyone who contributed
- We will pick up the episodes in the works after the break
- Share the podcast link on your platforms!
- The planned week of workshops in January has had to be postponed again because of Tier 3
- There is a desire to organise more Spa Days but we will hold off until we have more info about Tier 3
- We will explore the possibility of more online sessions in the new year
- No news
- Currently awaiting a couple more pieces of content – to be chased today
Big Freelancer Report
- No news
- The newsletter has gone out on various platforms, we will monitor responses
- First newsletter in January possibly to focus on the report we are working on
- This week’s meeting focussed on sustainability and a survey about ideas for the theatre industry
- The findings will be released in January as the beginning of a conversation about sustainability
We are continuing to draft an article covering some of the ideas from the Future Labs for publication in the new year – to be picked up over the next week in order to meet the draft deadline of 08 January 2021.
All other plans for the Future Labs will be picked up in the new year.
2021 – Strategy Meeting date
A meeting has been proposed to discuss imposing some loose structures around activity next year, whilst retaining the flexible spirit of the group. Thursday January 07 has been pencilled for people to hold, possibly over lunchtime. Likely to be quite a long session so that, as well as working structure, we will look at refining operational elements, such as Slack and the shared drive, and inviting new organising volunteers. It was suggested that we accompany the meeting with some morning drop in sessions at 9am in the same week.
Equity redundancies in Scotland and NI
A question was raised about whether or not FMTW should engage with the controversy around the current redundancies in Equity and support the protesting union members by signing the petition to stop enforced redundancies and reverse the centralisation of Northern Ireland staffing to London. It was generally felt that we could support and draft a correspondence centring on freelancers and the lack of transparency in these conversations.
We Make Events Cymru
An invitation has been offered to join We Make Events Cymru’s meeting in January to discuss the sector’s key objectives going forward in 2021.
It has been suggested that we explore engaging professional PR assistance – to be picked up in the Strategy Meeting in January.
The survey results have been emailed round and will be shared in Slack (a full report and one page summary). Nearly a hundred organisations submitted responses about their relationships with freelancers. The main headline figure is that about 40% of annual turnover was spent on freelancers before the pandemic, and that 80% of the workforce on a typical production are freelancers. We are discussing how to release and share the findings in January, perhaps engaging the suggested PR assistance.
Chairing/Minuting Friday meetings
We have shared a guide to chairing and minuting our meetings and are still assembling a rota of volunteers, especially for minuting. If we don’t have enough people to do this from the internal group then this might be one of the things for which we look for new volunteers.
- Westminster Media forum – no response yet to the letter. Exploring direct follow ups with individuals.
- We will pick up developing conversations with various arts bodies in January
- Turn your slack notifications off over Christmas!
- Conversations are continuing with Creative Society about using Kickstart for freelancers
- Composing a letter to UK Theatre and SOLT about the lack of diversity in their board
Friday 08 Jan 2021, 09:30 – 11:30 (Chair: Peter McKintosh)