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Blog 7: Advising on the Freelance Fund and looking to the future with a UK-wide Freelancers Meeting

Welcome!


Who are we?

We are a collection of freelancers from the UK Freelance Task Force responding to issues affecting freelancers in Wales. Our practical and creative responses will be through time-limited projects. Welcome to our weekly blog!

If any freelancer needs financial support right now please visit:

https://theatresupport.info/

https://theatreartists.fund/



What we’ve done this week:


Met with Creative Wales to advise on the upcoming Welsh Government's Freelance Fund which they are designing.


Creative Wales responded to our letter and we are pleased to have met with them to feedback on the freelance fund which they are currently designing (part of the £53m announced by Welsh Government for the creative sector), with a follow-up meeting planned for early September.


We will represent the concerns of freelancers reflected in our letter, including the percentage of funding given to freelancers, the importance of a simple application mechanism, no 50% self-employed income cap, and no requirement for public facing project development. We will highlight the importance of making this scheme accessible and draw attention to groups of people who have fallen through gaps of SEISS/furlough and ACW schemes i.e. those who have been in receipt of maternity allowance, those on short term/0hrs PAYE contracts, new graduates and backstage workers who have not applied for ACW support.


We are keen that outreach and visibility of the fund is discussed, because Arts Council Wales’ emergency funds had very low uptake amongst the Wales Freelance Survey respondents (only 13% applied for the Urgent Response Fund).



Hosting a UK meeting for freelancers, companies & venues: Monday 24th August 2020, 14.00-16.00


Sarah Argent, Hannah McPake and other members of the Freelance Taskforce are organising a UK meeting of freelancers, companies and venues to explore:

  • What do freelancers need in order to make their best work?

  • What might companies or venues do to support them?

We are inviting any freelancer working in the performing arts or any organisation or venue to join us.


Who is invited?

We would love to see as many freelancers as possible from across the UK - performers, stage-managers, designers (of sets, lighting, costumes, sound), puppeteers, writers, directors, movement directors, producers, facilitators, etc. We would also love to see as many scales and types of venues and companies as possible represented.


2 BSL interpreters and live captioning will be booked for this meeting.


Further information and how to sign up for this event will be posted early next week on the TaskforceCymru website and social media channels and on www.freelancetaskforce.co.uk, @FreelanceTForce



Basic Income for Creatives in Wales


Sophie Howe - future generations commissioners has come out in support of piloting Basic Income on creatives in Wales.


Individuals within the taskforce are working in support of this idea via discussion with ACW, Equity, APW organisations and individuals.



Our Voice: Collecting the Experience of Welsh and Wales-based Black Artists


After noticing the continued lack of space for Black artists to share their lived experiences within the Wales-based sector Krystal S. Lowe has decided to use her role on the Freelance Taskforce to collect and share the lived experiences of Welsh and Wales-based Black artists.


This collection will be compiled to ensure the voices of those who are most left out are finally heard by the sector.


In the wake of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, and based on the sector's response, Krystal would like to use this collective letter to ensure that as the sector goes forward to become more diverse that it is also a healthy environment for Black artists - for those coming into the sector as well as respecting the fervent work and valued contribution Black artists have already made to the sector. 


This letter, once completed, will go into the UK-wide Zine that will be published and distributed at the end of the Taskforce time as well as distributed to all Wales-based freelancers and organisations working in the arts sector. 


If you are a Black artist and would like your experiences to be a part of this letter then please contact Krystal at Krystalslowe.contact@gmail.com with your stories in whatever way you feel most comfortable - by email, handwritten letter, voice note, or contact Krystal if you prefer to call, Zoom or text.



Wales Freelance Survey - data forthcoming!


We are working on compiling all the data from the English and Welsh surveys. We had over 400 respondents - thank you for responding! We aim to publish our report in the coming weeks.


Contributed to a best practice document for venues and freelancers


We have contributed to the work led by another branch of the Freelance Taskforce (North East) to create a document highlighting best practice for venues and freelancers to follow during and after the Covid crisis.


Meeting with Simon Curtis, Equity Wales


We met with Simon Curtis, Equity Wales ahead of his meeting with other unions and Welsh Government so that he is able to represent the workforce and take our views and concerns to the table.

We discussed the forthcoming £53m for arts and culture in Wales which will be distributed via Welsh Gov and ACW; in particular the Freelance fund (as above). We discussed the cultural contract which is being drawn up as a condition of the newly announced funds - proposals included diversity, fair pay and conditions, welsh language targets, signing up to PIPA (parents in performing arts). We discussed the importance of collectively bargained contracts and insurance as part of ensuring that vulnerable people are not excluded. We also discussed how large organisations could support freelancers and small orgs by sharing resources and providing protections in order to quickly ‘unleash the creative workforce’ and the urgent importance of guidelines and a roadmap for opening outdoor performance.

We also discussed proposals for a basic income for creative freelancers in Wales in particular its implications for collectively bargained contracts and how it might intersect with ACW funding and sector pay structures.

Simon Curtis will continue to inform us of developments.




Useful Links / Info:


‘Forever Emerging?’: Report into directing for the stage in Wales (by Simon Harris and Bridget Keehan)

https://stagedirectorsuk.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Forever-Emerging-Report-SDUK.pdf


Collective Creative Initiative: a non-profit project from Pearson Casting - 30 hours of free arts industry sessions every week

www.collectivecreativeinitiative.co.uk


NDCWales have published guides to ‘using zoom for performance’ streaming and music rights here: https://ndcwales.co.uk/digital-hub/create-together


One Dance UK have a series of ‘Returning to dance’ webinars

https://www.onedanceuk.org/programme/return-to-dance/


Diverse Cymru: All Our Stories: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQxWdmTELSY&feature=youtu.be


The Privilege Cafe continues every Thursday. Email them for a link : https://www.patreon.com/PrivilegeCafe


More about us:


The Taskforce was formed by a mixture of organisations identifying freelancers and an application process.

Here are links to the letter from Fuel and statistics on the Taskforce:

https://fueltheatre.com/an-open-letter-to-theatre-and-performance-makers/

https://fueltheatre.com/freelance-task-force-representation/

Organisations in Wales which have sponsored a member of the Freelance Taskforce are:

Fio, Hijinx Theatre, National Dance Company Wales, National Theatre Wales, Rubicon Dance, Taking Flight, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, Theatr Iolo, Wales Millennium Centre.


Sponsored members of the Freelance Task Force in Wales are:

Connor Allen, Shakeera Ahmun, Sarah Argent, Steffan Donnelly, Garrin Clarke, Jafar Iqbal, Zosia Jo, Angharad Lee, Deborah Light, Krystal Lowe, Mathilde Lopez, Anthony Matsena, Hannah McPake and Glesni Price-Jones.

Contact us


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TaskForceCymru

Twitter : https://twitter.com/TaskForceCymru

Email: walesfreelancetaskforce@gmail.com

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