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(Length: 4 mins)
We’ve eaten all the beans, flushed the last sheet of toilet roll and moved into our pillow-fort bunkers, but it still doesn’t quite seem to be the end yet.
Making something arty “happen” right now is almost laughable, but we’re going to roll up our sleeves, pop on our masks, and take a big deep breath of our own recycled oxygen and work out how the fuck to take a next step.
2020 was...different, and 2021 looks to be much the same. Live performance will be altered for the foreseeable future. Smaller audiences, socially-distanced ways of working, increased international tariffs, and fewer opportunities and fees available from venues. Freelancers of all forms have had to adapt quickly, without resource, knowledge or skill in order to make money or not get left behind in the shuffle. Live work producers are trying their hand at new ways of working and finding that the answer to most things seems to contain the word digital. Have-a-go culture leaves artists and producers exposed and on the back foot, and could potentially do more harm than good.
In 2020 we had a go at a zine, a film, a novel, online talks, an exhibition and a web-based artwork. We had to make it up as we went along, it was stressful, things were missed, and we don’t want to do that any longer. So thank fuck ACE has given us some money to think about better ways of working in the coming year.
Yeh, but HOW did you actually do that?
We guessed, pulled in favours, made mistakes and spent a lot of unpaid time trying to learn a bit. We can’t, and don’t want to retrain as film, podcast and digital producers, because there are already people doing these jobs brilliantly. But to be able to continue working with artists, and supporting increasingly interdisciplinary ways of working, we need to know enough to support bringing together the right teams and importantly, the right amount of money, to create positive processes and well resourced work.
For the next few months we’re going to be speaking to organisations and freelancers who have made adaptations to their business as usual in order to keep making work happen in 2020/2021. We want to find out what they’ve changed, what ideas we can learn from, what ideas we can borrow or steal and which of their mistakes we can try to not replicate. We’re all having to react and work differently and we feel we need to combine this individual learning as much as possible so that the wider ecology of artists and arts workers can benefit from it, use it, and better it.
Our collection of case studies will go into a publication. It will be a by-no-means-exhaustive set of crib sheets for the ways that people have swerved, shifted and kept shit happening during the pandemic. We hope it will give a reader a collection of provocations for ways of working during the next inevitable political, financial or health shitstorm.
Other things we’re going to do:
- A paid mentorship for 2 Early Career Producers working in Live Art and Performance
- A three-day workshop for Live Work Producers who have had to undo and redo most of their work over the past year
- Host bi-monthly Live Art and Performance Producer drop-in sessions
- Funding advice sessions including: ‘DYCP if your P ain’t very C’, and ‘Prjct Grnts shrtcts 4 prdcrs’.