Whitechapel Public Art Laundromat: Tonight 7pm

5 Jul


Whitechapel Art-o-Mat
Preferred public-image launderer of the ruling class
…. at work!

Cultural workers whose generally meagre incomes and precarious survivals have been worsened by this government’s cuts are on their knees tonight, helping politicians and bureaucrats to launder their image!

In spite of a long history of support for anti-fascist and other social justice groups, the Whitechapel Art Gallery has been enlisted in a laundering scam to clean up the images of such unpopular figures as Nick Clegg, Samantha Cameron, Peter Mandelson and Ed Vaisey, each complicit in or responsible for cuts of 40% to the Arts, not to mention Education, the NHS, Benefit and Public Housing. They have been invited to select and display works of art from the Government Art Collection, representing such themes as peace, beauty and migration, while waging ugly wars on several nations, on the poor, on migrants and on those working in culture.

Adopting tactics from their friends at BP and other corrupt corporations, the Coalition are clearly using art and its so-called ‘public’ institutions to make their dirty things seem pleasant.

And we are letting them!

It is clear that cultural leaders who rallied around the flacid statement ‘cut us don’t kill us’ were not working to serve the interests of the majority of the people working in the arts but sudding up for years of scrubbing the government’s soiled pants to save their own. By supporting this government they are encouraging the elitism that so many have worked against in efforts to democratise culture.

This summer, let’s put a stop to the laundering.

… engage in creative direct action, interventions, letter-writing and demonstrations to put a stop to this and show that a collection purchased in the name of the many should not be presented at the hands of the few.

Suspend all cultural programming/work on June 30th!

29 Jun

On charities and unpaid interns in volunteers’ clothing

28 Jun

You have to be rich to work for a charity now,” an intern told me recently. “I’m passionate about helping others but after six months of unpaid work it’s a luxury I can’t afford any more. So I’m giving up to do something else.”

This intern is one of a growing number of graduates reporting that the third sector is following politics, fashion and media in requiring its young workers to perform months of unpaid work – “internships” – before they will be considered for their first paid role. Those who can’t fund this period (six to 12 months is the norm) say they are being “priced out” of pursuing a career in this sector. […]

Read more in today’s Guardian Comment is Free promoting the Intern Aware campaign.

Another story showing how internships reproduce systems of privilege and filter out poorer individuals from certain sectors, no matter how educated or passionate they are. And back to our point that hiding unpaid internships under the guise of  “voluntary work” doesn’t really change the substance of an unfair system…as the article says:

Nobody can live for free – so it is unfair to expect them to work for free. Even if it is for a good cause.

the new tory work programme

21 Jun

Some interesting comments re the Work Programme on the Indus Delta site:

so here I am… 3 years unemployed
applied 4 to 6 or more jobs “every single week”, and havent had “a single reply” as of yet.
i’m the first in my area to be sent on this activity.  Continue reading

Designing Economic Cultures – seminar series

14 Jun

 · Do you fear that you will need to work for free after graduation? · What do you think you may get out of working for free? · How can we imagine an internship otherwise?

Discussion/presentation of ideas and images from our counter-guide to free labour in the cultural sector

RHB 143 (Richard Hoggart Building)
ground floor Goldsmiths College

Wednesday, 15 June 2011 5pm

All welcome!

With Hato Press, a London-based platform offering affordable printing to designers, artists, illustrators, writers, scientists, etc., thus giving them the possibility to publish their own work. Continue reading

Who does the most unpaid work around the world?

11 Jun

creditsesame.com has realised this useful infographic based on a report recently published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), we show you unpaid work by activity, as well as gender, for 29 countries.


The calculations suggest that between one-third and half of all valuable economic activity in the countries under consideration is not accounted for in the traditional measures of well-being, such as GDP per capita. In all countries, women do more of such work than men, although to some degree balanced – by an amount varying across countries – by the fact that they do less market work. While unpaid work – and especially the gender division of unpaid work – is to some extent related to a country’s development level, country cross-sectional data suggest that demographic factors and public policies tend to exercise a much larger impact.” 

From: Miranda, V. (2011), “Cooking, Caring and Volunteering: Unpaid Work Around the World”, OECD Social,
Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 116, OECD Publishing. Download pdf at: www.oecd.org/dataoecd/41/37/47258230.pdf

Imagine a day without interns ~ Wednesday 8 June, 12-2pm

3 Jun

The Carrot Workers call all interns, ex-interns, teachers and cultural workers to join in

*next Wednesday 8 June 12-2pm*

outside the House of Commons

The NUS, ULU, Unite, Intern Aware, Internocracy, Interns Anonymous, The Intergenerational Foundation, and Ross Perlin, author of Intern Nation, are calling on politicians from all parties to urgently address the issue of exploitative internships not only within parliament but in all sectors — arts and culture included!

More from the Facebook event page :

“Wednesday 8 June will see the launch of the speaker’s parliamentary placement scheme – a cross-party initiative to create a number of paid internship positions in Parliament for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
We welcome the new scheme to open up parliament, but we must recognise that urgent action is needed by Government to tackle the ever growing problem of unpaid and underpaid internships, where hundreds of thousands of young people work are exploited in roles that often breaking the law and should be paid.

More on ULU campaigner blog including the full text of Ross Perlin’s INTERN BILL OF RIGHTS:

We proclaim this INTERN BILL OF RIGHTS as a common standard by which to evaluate and improve internships for the benefit of interns, employers, and society as a whole:

Article 1: All interns deserve fair compensation for their work, usually in the form of wages and sometimes in the form of dedicated training.

Article 2: Interns are entitled to the same legal protections as all other workers, and should not be subject to discrimination, harassment, or arbitrary dismissal. Continue reading

Will Artjobs reintroduce free labour ads :-( ?

29 Apr

[This article was originally posted on 29.4.2011. We have received a few emails and comments that demanded a recognition of the efforts of the Arts Council to enforce legal requirements surrounding unpaid positions. We have now amended the post below and clarified our point. Thanks to all who took the time to write to us.]

Last summer we were thrilled to report that the Arts Council put a stop to advertisements of unpaid positions through their webpage Artjobs. After a few months, however, a disclaimer appeared which refers to the current ambiguous legislation around internships and volunteering (see at the end of this post). We have been told that there has been no increase in unpaid ads since then, which is great news, yet we feel that the position taken by Artjobs is still not strong enough, and could be seen as a step towards the return of unpaid internships under the guise of voluntary positions, especially given the recent promotion of voluntarism by the coalition government.

As we have written elsewhere, the question of free labour cannot be resolved by appealing to Minimum Wage Regulations alone, especially in a sector that relies upon personal relationships and informal agreements. There is a sense that the AC is shying away from confronting the contradiction between the decrease in funding opportunities and the demand to keep up the facade of a thriving cultural sector that is often supported through low levels of pay and overwork. Continue reading

HM Revenue&Customs not doing enough to stop illegal unpaid internships

8 Apr

We recommend that the government takes steps to raise awareness of the rules applying to payment of the national minimum wage for those undertaking internships, all other forms of work experience and volunteering opportunities. In addition we recommend that these rules are effectively enforced by HMRC”

says the Low Pay Commission 2011 Report

See also yesterday’s article on the Guardian.

We could still do with a few more postgraduate helpers that assist during our symposium in London on 30 April, serving coffee or so. We cannot, regrettably, properly pay you,

7 Apr
The TaPRA Working Group Directing/Dramaturgy alongside the ETRN/University of Kent and Goethe Institute London will be hosting the below symposium in London on 30th April. We could still do with a few more postgraduate helpers that assist during our symposium in London on 30 April, serving coffee or so. We cannot, regrettably, properly pay you, however Continue reading