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Cashback for media interns

11 Feb

It might be old news to some, but we have only just come across this campaign of the National Union of Journalists – London Freelance Branch which enables media interns to claim back the National Minimum Wage (NMW) in line with the ruling of Reading Employment Tribunal in November 2009 on the case of Nicola Vetta.

The NMW is still only limited to interns who are 21 or over, and unfortunately does not apply to students on work experience placement (which we feel is the first place where the culture of free labour is established and internalised) but it’s still a good place to start from!

Tell It Like It Really Is: notes from the floor

10 Feb

Notes from the floor is collecting an anthology of visual and textual materials around the experience of the docent and museum guides than many overqualified cultural workers find themselves in… here is their call:

Few can deny the seductive glamour of the art world: it’s a transnational bash complete with open bar, sparkling conversation, well dressed characters and lots of air-kissing. At least, that’s what we all secretly signed up for when we declared Art History our major in University. Had we known that a life in the arts was synonymous with hours of standing in solitude, uncomfortable uniforms and an over familiarity with the location of public toilets, maybe we wouldn’t have been so keen on the subject. ———- With few paying entry level jobs available in the industry, frustrated aspiring artists, curators and critics are finding common ground in the in the visitor services department. Our mission is to publish an anthology of essays, poems, anecdotes, photographs and the like that explore the joys and trials of working on the art world’s literal and metaphorical floor. We know that docents live a hybrid existence, enjoying the privilege of spending hours in the company of great art, and cursing the job’s sometimes physical and mental monotony; and we hope to receive a range of submissions that reflect all facets of the docent experience. Ideally, submissions will ask questions about the venerated museum/gallery space and link personal experience to larger theoretical explorations.

More info here.

Stella McCartney PR man threatens unpaid interns with legal action for complaining

8 Feb

the nakendess here represents how much you earn working for stella mc cartney.

Private Eye  1281, 4-17 feb 2011
Stella McCartney can’t afford to pay interns who work for her for months at a time – but she can afford to pay a PR man to threaten legal action against those who complain.

Continue reading

Artsjobs suspends free labour ads!

3 Aug

Screenshot from

Artsjobs’ decision to temporarily suspend advertisements for unpaid work, voluntary placements and other such ‘opportunities’ is certainly indicative of a more positive action against exploitative cultural work, however it is also  important to consider that some voluntary placements, expenses-paid internships, etc can actually be valuable and worthwhile provided the worker is aware of their rights and is happy with the conditions of their work. The greatest problem is that we live and work in a country where the cultural labour force is insufficiently informed about their own rights and laws. For this reason it is vital that social networks, forums and listings sites strive to provide their users with information of what different kinds of work may entail and of other resources that are available to them. For example there are a considerable number of useful tools and resources, not just for the cultural sector, which remain unused and under-promoted. (Such as the TUC’s campaign website, see also The Arts Group’s Emerging Worker Report, lobbying for the implementation of a recognised and legislated practice for emerging workers

No to zero-cost labour: part II

23 Apr

Do you remember BECTU and London Dream’s tribunal ruling which said that unpaid internships are illegal?

BECTU (The Media and Entertainment Union) received much criticism by independent workers in the film industry about this legal action, some of which came from Shooting People, the independent filmmakers network. After months of low intensity warfare through their websites and blogs, the two organisations finally decided to have a public debate and an upfront discussion on internships, freelabour and the limits of applying the National Minimum Wage legislation to independent cultural projects.

Some Carrot Workers attended the discussion and were happy to find many points of contact and shared struggles between filmmaking and the arts:  the issue of unpaid independent labour, the legal grey area of freelancing and internships in independent projects, the jarring relationship between ‘creative’ work and the right to wages, the question of individual authorship and how to create legal and organisational structures where collective decisions are taken about a ‘product’ that is the result of collective labour.

The event was titled:

“Shooting yourself in the foot? A Debate about Low Budget Collaborations and the National Minimum Wage”

Working for free is the only way for new entrants to get a foot in the door of the film and television industry but are you shooting yourself in the foot?

Jess Search from Shooting People and Martin Spence, assistant general secretary of BECTU, will be among the key speakers to address these issues. They will be joined by Benetta Adamson (TV-Wrap) and Chris Jones (co-author The Guerilla Film-makers Handbook). The debate will be chaired by Stephen Overell, associate director, the Work Foundation.

The full debate is now available on YouTube:

Apart from the inspiring idea of thinking through a ‘creative’ cooperative model for cultural work (Bectu’s working on it, apparently),  in the course of the evening someone said that cinema is a hybrid, a combination of art and commerce – well, we strongly disagree!

This distinction once again relegates art to the romantic idea of free expression and unquantifiable passion that emotionally and conceptually justifies much exploitation in the cultural sector.  Art too is labour: when will we finally see an intern winning a court case against exploitative work conditions in the arts?

Squatting to afford creative industry internships

24 Jan
From The Times, January 16, 2010 Art’s great squatting revolution


“Obviously the fact that I don’t have to pay any rent is brilliant. In any creative industry you have to work for nothing, and rather than getting a job in a bar I could afford unpaid, full-time internships.”

Read the full article

No comments….!

Wall of Shame: It surely looks like a war…!

21 Nov

Applications close: Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Employer type: Government
Opportunity type: Volunteer
Category: Visual Arts
Location: United Kingdom

Voluntary role
Basic travel and lunch expenses will be reimbursed.
Date: 15 October – 10 January
It is envisaged that performers will work 1 to 3 days per week for a minimum period of 1 month.

For his first solo show in the UK, the artist has meticulously constructed an
installation modelled on a disused World War Two era bunker, replete with derelict
industrial equipment- corroded pipes and boilers, rusted generators, electric gauges and other
obsolete machines- as well as old cans, food stuffs and survival supplies. On entering this dimly
lit space through a set of heavy rusted doors, the viewer is forced to negotiate a precarious bridge
leading to a set of stairs that descends into a concrete bunker, all hinting at the menacing nature of
the space. A neglected railway track runs the entire length of the gallery, with a hand operated
draisine occasionally ferrying personnel from one end of the space to the other alongside a warren
of dark and damp rooms which house defunct communication systems and work stations strewn
with old instruments.
We are looking for a number of performers to pay an integral role in this theatrical installation as
uniformed personnel. This is not an interactive role, but requires mostly non speaking
improvisation with the props in the space to further hint at the narrative in this film set like

Males, playing age 25-55, to play the part of European World War II bunker workers. This non
speaking part requires wearing uniform, using hand-operated rail cart, inspecting rooms and light

An interest in modern and contemporary art history.

We are looking for actors to perform in the Gallery for a minimum of one day per week on a 1 to
3 month basis for the duration of the exhibition, including some weekends and evenings. The
daily hours will be from 11am to 8pm.
Full briefing will be given by the curators of the exhibition and the artist.
This role is voluntary, but basic travel and lunch expenses will be reimbursed.
Interviews to be held on Monday, 12/10/2009 and Tuesday, 13/10/2009.
Closing date for applications: 07/10/2009 6pm. No late entries shall be accepted. Please note that
only successful applicants will be contacted.


4 Aug

from: Indymedia London

Following the path of the recent protest actions made by the staff of “Musei Civici di Venezia” (Venice´s Museum System) and “Ca´Foscari” (University of Venice), also the 53rd International Art Exhibition is closing today due to the strike of the crew assigned to many different tasks (non armed wards, museum attendants, customer service).

Those concerned are 110 “human resources”, seasonal and atypical workers (160 during the vernissage and preview days). An army of workers, forced to run after the same job each year, addressing different mutual companies (cooperatives) or employment agencies. Continue reading

Plotting Creative Futures

30 May

Future Casting at the Creative Jobs Survival Fair

Future Charting

Along x y axis in which
x= Stability to Flexibility
y= Poverty to Luxury
20 cultural workers have charted their perception of the present (light blue), three years in the past (purple) and plotted their aspirations and desires for the near future (bright yellow).

Ain’t No Way to Make A Living!

5 May


A Cultural Workers Survival Fair
9 May, 2009
Open to anyone.
Free of charge
Christie’s Education 153 Great Tichfield Street (Oxford Circus nearest tube)

It is a well known but little discussed fact that the so-called ‘creative industries’ are supported by a cadre of free and precariously employed labourers. As the sector becomes increasingly engrained in for-profit endeavors, workers continue to be strung along by old myths and false promises. Including but also expanding on the notion of worker’s rights, The Carrot Worker’s Collective offers a performative investigation into the inter-connections between free labour, precarity in the cultural sector and new policies developing around the creative industries. Staged as a ‘Cultural Workers Survival Fair’, research will be presented and developed through a series of interactive booths, including opportunity to make your own, ‘Tell It Like it Is’ anonymous video testimonials, have your fortune read in relation to the future of creative industries policies in the UK, listen to hourly motivational speeches, and construct your own ‘Ideal Type’ for creative employment.