FMTW Meeting Minutes 29th April 2022

Chair: Josie Underwood

Minutes: Alistair Cope (sorry)

Present: Paule Constable, Paul Carey Jones, Jake Orr, Emma Jayne Park, Freddie Crossley, Chinonyerem Odimba


  1. Welcome & introductions (9.30-9.40)

We talked about what we’ve been up to

Values 2 and 10 were read out.

Our anti racism statement was also read out.

  1. Updates & reports: (9.40-10.00)
  • ABBT Theatre Show (AC/JU)
    • Seminar talk

We have a seminar which we have been invited to participate in. EJ has said she is available but we feel it would be great for someone from a technical background to be on the panel. Helen Mugridge is available to do more work with us. This might be a good fit?

Paule suggested reaching out to Backstage Niche. It was voted on and agreed. 

  • Stall

An initial meeting was held about this and some suggestions have been floated as to how we can utilise the space. We talked about bringing back the initial campaign and doing a sort of ‘pop up #freelancersmaketheatrework’ 

How can we make the space welcoming? Not selling.

Can we make FMTW badged but with ‘I’m a Freelancer’ on it? Branded sharpies? PCJ- I have a great ear plug holder on a key ring. I love it.

PC – Can we offer the space to others too? Backstage Niche?

AC – Three things for the next meeting. What are we doing there and what is our ‘patter’ on the stand? The design and build of the stand. Merchandising (sharpie, badges etc)

  • Trevor McFarland (PC)

Trevor is working on piece of policy. How can freelancers be folding into conversations about decision making? The policy is still in the early stage and is to be discussed privately until more formailsed. A separate email or slack message will be sent around FMTW with the proposal.

A lot to discuss about the above. Perhaps this is the beginning of ‘the big conversation’ about FMTW.

Discussion to continue next Friday which will focus on this.

  • Chief Execs (PC)

There is a Friday meeting where lots of Chief Execs meet. Some of them have asked how they can help ‘FMTW less feel like they are trying to save the world in their lunchtimes?’

Again, this is part of the bigger conversation about what next for FMTW.

Jake Orr – Joined up thinking, innit.

AC- This feels like the same conversation above. We talk a lot about ‘what next for FMTW’ but the question really is ‘what next for Freelancers’ and where does FMTW sit and fit within that. 

Jake Orr – How can we move beyond freelancers doing this in our lunch times?

FC – It feels like Chief Execs and buildings make up a small amount of the industry. Its the wrong way round. All the creativity is leaving and we’re left with brick and mortar.

PCJ – It feels to me like the ‘smart’ chief execs realise they need the voice of the workforce. Perhaps it isn’t how they support us but how we support them?

CO – I feel in a strange place being a freelance practitioner and also a CEO. There is conversation around freelancers but I wonder how much that conversation really relates to the freelance reality. One of the big conversations at the moment is the costs of things. Everything is going up. Everyone has their own figures and business models but no one is saying ‘this is the line for Freelancers, anything below this line is unacceptable.’ For some of the more forward thinking CEOs this would be useful guidance and not a demand. 

PC – Its as though freelancers have become a currency. The language between CX, CEO, Buildings etc and freelancers is so broken.

FC – It feels like there is such a like of overarching perspective. A space that allows the joined up thinking but from further away. Bodies like SOLT and UK Theatre should do this (I think) but they don’t.

  • Big Freelancer Survey (JU/AC/PCJ)

We have an analyst looking at the results. We had about 1,500 entries which is a good data set but we need to decide what we are looking for within the data as that gives him a clear objective to start finding results. We also need to decide what we are doing with the report when completed. Discussions ongoing while the data is analysed. 

  1. Agenda points (10.00-11.15)
  • ACE Symposium (FC)

As part of the ACE Symposium FMTW are delivering a webinar focussing on activism, and how freelancers can engage in sectoral change without burning themselves out! 

We are looking to bring in four speakers who have different activist styles to answer the initial provocation

 ‘what does your activism look like and why do you believe it makes change?’

This will be followed by a conversation between the speakers about how their work overlaps, some of the benefits of this and some of the areas of tension.  Then, the floor will be opened to attendees to ask questions.

We are looking to invite speakers who undertake activism outwith the sector, and yet understand the culture sector (either through working alongside or in it) so that attendees can get a broader perspective of activism and the impact it can make.

We are looking for a list of people who could potentially speak to these and who would enter the space with a knowledge that different approaches are necessary, so wouldn’t be turning up for an argument but who would feel comfortable with different viewpoints.

  • Suggestion box – what’s next?

Discussion continuing into next week.

Break 10.25-10.35

  1. Action points (11.15-11.20)
  • Josie to reach out to Backstage Niche about the ABTT Theatre Show Seminar
  • Josie to set up a meeting for further discussion around our ABTT Theatre Stand
  • Josie to drop in the Trevor McFarland policy into slack so Al can link to it from the minutes.
  • Everyone – to think about the Trevor McFarland suggestion for further discussion around ‘what next’ for FMTW.
  • Josie to Batsignal the Invitation to Participate in Arts Council England Freelance Futures Symposium email for feedback and ask for contacts both broad and targeted (for a phone call perhaps)
  • Paule to write up a document of questions/proposals for future of FMTW (incorporating Trevor’s proposal)
  1. AOB (11.20-11.30)