Full FAQs

What are the Future Labs?

The Future Labs are a series of solutions-focussed panel sessions to discuss ways to support freelancers through the current crisis, engage them in the reopening of theatres, and include them in shaping the future of our industry. Each panel will be made up of freelancers and industry leaders, including artistic directors and chief executives, as well as invited experts to find solutions to these short, medium and long-term issues.

Through these open conversations we hope to develop practicable models for immediate and sustainable resolutions for freelancers and venues. These conversations are an opportunity to share good practice, openly converse and formulate ideas for practical solutions. In the spirit of collaboration, they will be conducted positively and with a focus on proposing solutions, not simply discussing the issues.

What are the topics being discussed?

The discussions will be divided into three categories: immediate support, returning to work and sector change. To launch the series we will be beginning with three topics identified in the Big Freelancer Survey:

  • Immediate Support: What are solutions for immediate, possible and inclusive activity?
  • Returning to Work: How can we engage and invest in freelancers while traditional routes are affected?
  • Sector Change: How do we ensure that the progress on diversity and inclusion continues and doesn’t slide back?

Throughout the series we hope to hear ideas, topics and questions from the freelance community that will shape the focus of the remaining panels. If you would like to suggest a topic to be discussed, we would love for you to get in touch with us via hello@freelancersmaketheatrework.com.

How will the conversations take place?

Each Lab will be held remotely on Zoom and last 2 hours, with breaks. The session will begin with individual panellists presenting their own ideas and responses to the question, followed by an opportunity to openly discuss the topic in search of solutions. Some panels will also feature examples of currently existing good practice from guest speakers and the chair will feed in contributions from the wider freelance community. 

Once the first three panels have taken place, participants from across the discussions will be invited back to present their collective solutions in a follow up session, which will be made available for viewing by FMTW. The time in between these sessions will hopefully allow for further contemplation, off-shoot discussions and engagement from across the freelance workforce.

Throughout the series we hope to hear ideas, topics and questions from the freelance community that will shape the focus of the remaining panels. If you would like to suggest a topic to be discussed, we would love for you to get in touch with us via hello@freelancersmaketheatrework.com.

When will the Labs be happening?

The next Future Labs Panel sessions will take place on the following dates:

Monday 23 November, 11:00-13:00: What provisions and structural changes can organisations put in place to maintain the mental health and physical wellbeing of freelancers?

Wednesday 25 November, 11:00-13:00: Freelancers from communities underrepresented in the arts are most at risk of having to leave the industry.  What do organisations need to do to ensure this does not happen?

Friday 27 November, 11:00-13:00: How can we give freelancers more of a voice within the power structures of organisations?

There will be a follow up session for participants from all three of these panels on Thursday 3 December, 11:00-13:00.

The first three panels took place in first week of October on the following dates:

Monday 05 October at 11am: What are solutions for immediate, possible and inclusive activity?

Wednesday  07 October at 11am: How can we engage and invest in freelancers while traditional routes are affected?

Friday 09 October at 11am: How do we ensure that the progress on diversity and inclusion continues and doesn’t return to previous states?

 

The follow up session will take place in the following week (w/c Monday 12 October – exact date to be determined by availability) once all of the panel discussions have taken place and the conversations have been opened up to the wider community. Panelists who are unable to attend will be able to submit contributions in advance.

Will I be able to watch?

In order to allow for open and honest conversation to take place, the discussions themselves will not be recorded. However the follow up session will be presented for viewing by FMTW.

Who will be involved?

Each panel will be formed of up to 12 participants, split equally between representatives from arts organisations and the freelance community. 

We have already begun approaching and assembling representatives from arts organisations, and in order to make sure that the full range of freelance voices are heard throughout these discussions, we are inviting individuals who would like to take part in a panel to get in touch here

Each Lab will be chaired by an individual from FMTW whose role will be to introduce the topic and the panelists, kickstart the conversation and manage the remote discussion.

How will participants be chosen?

Participants will be selected by FMTW around the topic in question and ensuring that there is a breadth of experience and perspective. Some individuals in the discussion will have been invited directly alongside those who have applied.

As a group FMTW is committed to representing the entire theatre industry and across these conversations we want to ensure that the topics and participants are inclusive of gender, ethnicity, class, nationality and the LGBTQI+ and Deaf + disabled communities, as well as workers across the United Kingdom and theatre roles. It is essential that those who have not usually been heard in these conversations are included and we therefore invite responses from all individuals.

Will participants be paid?

Each participant will be paid £200 to take part in a Future Lab, including the follow up session..

What is expected of participants?

We do not expect participants to come with the answers to these questions, however we want to encourage active engagement in the pursuit of solutions. Panellists will be asked to prepare their own thoughts and ideas to discuss in the first part of the panel, after which the topic will be opened up to discussion by the whole group. After the panel, participants will be asked to return for the follow up session or submit their conclusions to the chair.

How will you ensure individuals with access requirements are able to participate?

We will be ensuring the conversations are accessible both to panellists and the wider community. Any video content will be captioned and access provisions will be provided to those who require them to take part in the panels, including opening applications to video submissions. Attendance at any follow up sessions will be flexible and there will be other ways to contribute to allow for those who are unable to commit to two events. A plain language version of the Future Labs brief can be found here. If you have any further questions please email hello@freelancersmaketheatrework.com.

How can I contribute or respond to the Future Labs without being on a panel?

If you are unable to join a panel or would like to respond in other ways, you can send all questions, ideas, comments, feedback or suggestions to our email address: hello@freelancersmaketheatrework.com

Throughout the series we will invite contributions from across the freelance community and after each panel there will be opportunities to engage in the conversation online via our website and social media platforms. This open dialogue will be fed directly back to the panels as part of the solution-finding process.

We hope that the structure and topics we have proposed will allow for maximum reach and impact but everything FMTW does is in the spirit of a collection of individuals seeking the answers, not presenting them, and we are always open to engagement from the entire community.

What are the aims?

The immediate aim of the Labs is to find ways to support freelancers through the current crisis, engage them in the reopening of theatres, and include them in shaping the future of our industry. Each discussion will be conducted in the pursuit of these solutions, not just as a talking shop.

Ultimately we intend to present these solutions in a way that organisations can put into practice for the benefit of the industry.

How have the Labs been funded?

The Labs have been generously funded and supported by Arts Council England.