Assembly: A Forum for Artists in Precarious Labour

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Assembly: A Forum for Artists in Precarious Labour
The NewBridge Project : Gateshead

Thursday 26 September – Thursday 5 December (see individual dates below)
All events run 10.30am- 12.30pm

Free, all welcome


Feel free to attend as many of the events as you can, but it would be fantastic to have a core group attending and contributing to the whole series if possible.

Assembly: A Forum for Artists in Precarious Labour is a series of six open forums inviting artists to freely and frankly discuss their own working lives. In an art field characterised by low pay and precarious labour, more and more artists are turning to the platform economy (Airbnb, Deliveroo etc.) and other forms of gigwork as a means of supporting their practices. These open forums serve as a form of collective enquiry, considering what this means for artists, and for the entrenched inequalities of the art field. Each forum will be led by artist Toby Lloyd in collaboration with invited facilitators, but will prioritise the lived experience of all participants.

The first workshop will bring together artists from different communities to discuss working conditions and how artists support themselves in a stigma free environment. The following workshops will focus discussion on the role of unions and solidarity in improving workplace conditions, the prevalence of in kind labour in the cultural sector and its impact on young artists, and address the findings of the ‘Panic!’ report and address issues of diversity, accessibility and lack of equitable pay in the arts. The final two workshops will conclude the series by hosting conversations about alternative funding structures and finding practical solutions to the problems highlighted throughout the forums.


Thursday 26 September

Assembly 1: Input

The project will begin with an open discussion with artists from different communities to discuss working conditions, how artists support themselves and how we can best support each other. This initial discussion will take place in a stigma free space that will focus on the lived experiences of contributors.

This workshop will be led by Nicola Singh

Thursday 10 October
Assembly 2: Unite

The unions and workers that make up and bind our workforces together will play host to this discussion. We will bring together a range of interested parties together namely Loraine Monk from The Artist Union England and Susan Jones to discuss the role of unions in the workplace, the similarities between gig-economy workers and creative workers, and strategies that can be used to empower workers.

This workshop will be led by Loraine Monk (The Artist Union England) and Susan Jones

Friday 25 October
Assembly 3: In Kind

This workshop will look at the prevalence of free labour endemic in the arts and how to fight it. Facilitated by Janie Nicoll and Ailie Rutherford of In Kind, a research project exploring the prevalence of in kind labour in the creative sector, the workshop will examine their research and explore strategies in fighting these trends.

This workshop will be led by Ailie Rutherford and Janie Nicole

Thursday 14 November
Assembly 4: Power

The workshop will examine the findings of the Panic! report and discuss policy changes within the arts sector that can address the issues of diversity, accessibility and lack of equitable pay.

This workshop will be led by Priya Mistry

Friday 22 November
Assembly 5: Alternative Funding

This workshop will focus on the role of funding in the creative sector. Facilitated by Ellie Harrison this workshop will explore alternative forms of funding and brainstorm new models of raising and distributing funds to support the arts.

This workshop will be led by Ellie Harrison

Thursday 5 December
Assembly 6: Output

Facilitated by Sophie Hope this workshop will focus on the results of the previous events and explore practical solutions. The aim of the workshop will be to develop an output created by participants that outlines the Assembly series for the wider public.

This workshop will be led by Sophie Hope

The series is programmed by Lucas Ferguson Sharp and Harry Weeks and is a continuation of Workforce from earlier in 2019.
Accessibility: NewBridge Gateshead has full street-level accessibility. This event will take place in the gallery space on the ground floor of NewBridge Gateshead. Please contact us prior to visiting if you require additional information regarding access and facilities.

Image: Jennie Temple

The Newbridge Project