Notes from Meeting with 38 freelancers* & 5 Festivals** on Wednesday 26 August 2020 

Context – This event came out of a conversation with freelancers who felt isolated and frustrated at not knowing what organisations were thinking or having to consider (and how that would impact them in their careers). One freelancer described the situation as being on a “long haul flight without knowing where you are going or how long you’ll be up in the sky”.  

* Freelancers were Applied Artists, BSL interpreters, Choreographers, Company Managers, Composers, Dance Artists, Directors, Facilitators, Lighting Designers, Live Artists, Musicians, Performers, Photographers, Playwrights, PRs, Producers, Production Managers, PRs, Set & Costume Designers, Sound Designers, Stage Managers, Storytellers, Technicians, & Theatre makers.  

** Festivals/Organisations represented were Edinburgh Festival FringeEdinburgh Science FestivalEdinburgh International Children’s FestivalEdinburgh International Festival, & Scottish International Storytelling Festival

Facilitated by Caitlin Skinner
Welcome music by Daniel Padden (Website / SoundCloud)  

This event was produced in association with Edinburgh Performing Arts Development (EPAD), as part of their work to facilitate connections, encourage exchange and share expertise across Edinburgh’s performing arts community; and Festivals Edinburgh, the umbrella organisation for Edinburgh’s 11 largest festivals. They have partnered with us for this event as part of their work on sector networking and development.

These notes have been anonymised – removing all names – unless the organisation has given permission. We wanted to create a space where everyone could speak honestly about their situation in order to develop our shared understanding of what is happening to our sector. 

Questions issued in advance to the venue representatives (submitted by attendees).    

  • How has COVID-19 affected your festival’s programming and operational plans? What strategic changes have you made?  
  • What are your plans to collaborate with and contribute to the freelance workforce in Scotland (artists, producers, technicians, designers, etc)? 
  • The economic crisis has exposed massive inequalities within the theatre industry. What are your plans for involving artists in a more regular, central, and sustainable way than you did before the pandemic? 
  • If you were told that no live performances could happen until the end of 2021, what might next year’s festival look like? 
  • In light of recent BLM global movement, what are you doing now and planning to be anti-racist and combat anti-blackness?
  • Given the mix of skills in the room, how might we help you?  



  • We cancelled our festival We threw ourselves into trying to put some content up online – we wanted to try and do something for our audiences and for our staff who’d worked year-round to create a festival that did not happen. 
  • Most of our venues are reliant on their ticket income. They’re not subsidised. Many are struggling with decisions to either take on massive debt or dissolve their organisations. 
  • At what point do you decide to go ‘no go’. We can’t keep going and cancel at the beginning of the festival. We have to make those decisions much earlier on when you’re thinking about buildings and these sorts of things. 
  • We could decide to go ahead but then external factors influence or enforce a change in the rules and there’s no one underwriting those losses. We’ve been lobbying government to put in an underwriting of support.  
  • We were literally about to walk up to the podium and launch the festival and it got put to one side. 
  • We cancelled our festival about 24hrs before the Scottish Government announced that schools were about to close. 

Carrying on

  • Behind the scenes, things have been tough for us and I know that they have been for the sector as a whole and for everyone on this call.   It’s been a tough few months. 
  • To survive this year, we’ve had to borrow money as we’re not a funded organisation. 
  • It took us two months to figure out just what was going on and how, financially and logistically, we were going to keep going. Particularly going line by line and seeing how we could honour or partly honour our commitments we’d made so we would pay venues and freelancers and suppliers and make further commitments to artists into the future. 
  • Right now, we’re just coming up for air in terms of the truly strategic conversations. This is very timely because, honestly, I think they’re happening now because we have been in crisis mode. Some early thoughts would be that: 
    • I think the road out of this crisis is probably about two years, that not to say it’s going to be like this for two years but its’ going to be a two-year journey; 
    • It’s clearly accelerating conversations about social equity but also environmental sustainability in a big way; 
    • At the moment, our priority is going to be to help the industry get back into production; 
    • How do we create as much employment as possible? 
    • There’s a big conversation going on about making sure that there’s a positive mood for live performance. 

Planning 2021 Festivals 

  • The key consideration for us as a spring festival we’re pretty worried about a winter resurgence and facing a similar situation next year as we faced last year. One of the things we’re considering is the potential of moving our festival. We don’t want to clash with any other existing large scale cultural or city event.
  • We’re planning for the worst and hoping for the best. That’s the best we can do in a period of such uncertainty. 
  • We think its sensible to plan for difference. We’re definitely planning to deliver a festival, but it may not look the same as previous festivals so we’re looking at the challenges as an opportunity for us to work a bit differently. 
  • We want to do more that will get our programme outdoors, so we’re interested in walks and tours and trails, ambulatory experiences, exhibitions and installations. The possibility of outdoor screens or stages, particularly in more clement weather.
  • In terms of things planned for 2020 that did not happen, may take place next year. 
  • We’re hoping we’ll be a live festival, scenario planning a hybrid festival (live and digital mix). 


  • More online, but with a longer lead time and with the knowledge that we’re producers of live experiences -not online content. So, we’re exploring ideas for kit and merchandise for make-along-at-home activities and events that would see audiences have something at home that they could make along with a live presentation. 
  • We see digital as a way for us to reach new audiences and potentially more diverse audiences, particularly if we can get our content in and around the city a bit more – bringing our programme to people rather than expecting people to come to our programme. We see it as an audience development opportunity, as well as a challenge. 
  • We’ve set about to continue our festival with a mixture of digitally based commissions that have increased the number of freelancers involved in the festival. 
  • There is an expectation in the digital space that the work is free. 
  • We ran a short digital programme to mark the presence of what would have been our festival, and it was a way that we enabled industry partners and colleagues to share experiences. 


  • We are promoting a programme of local work which has attracted some sponsorship and allowed us to create a number of small-scale, safely distanced, local outdoor events. 
  • We’ve funded 100 local sessions with diverse, or priority local groups – sessions are a mix of live and digital events. 
  • We’re looking long term at our place-based work that’s been supported by Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council, and despite the fact that we’re not able to deliver on some of these projects at the moment, we’re supporting our freelancers and local groups to continue developing these projects – which should happen in 2021 and 2022. 
  • One of our objectives is about linking our creatives with local communities and projects and we see that increasing. 
  • I think there’s a discussion about how international programming, as an international festival connects in with local programming and local artists. 

Predictions for 2021 

  • We know that there’s no magic date or line in the sand but if the virus is to show similar characteristics to other COVID viruses then April would be in the path of a potential resurgence. 
  • I think there’s going to be an increase of funding opportunities for a community connected, and local place-based work over the next two to three years. 
  • Producers and Venues in our network have had to borrow tens of millions of pounds on the assumption that things will return in 2021. 
  • I think we’re going to have a journey back which is going to be this process involving:
    • Temporary localised lockdowns;
    • Different demographics returning at different times; 
    • More localised engagement. 
  • I think there’s also going to be pressure on festivals to support the wider economy, that isn’t there now, but it’s going to be back and people are going to start saying we need to start driving all of those things back in again. 
  • There’s been a discussion about where the dates fall. 
  • It might be more local. 
  • I think there’s going to be pressure to be less innovative, that there’s a need that venues are going to say we need to just get things that are going to kickstart this quickly. 
  • 50% of our audience is schools and venues in a very uncertain position. So we’re trying to deliver as much as possible within a school scenario, so that we can be assured that this will be a safe place. 
  • 75% of our content next year will be Scottish, so it’s a very national focused festival, even though our scope is international. 
  • I would think that 2021 and 2022 won’t look like 2019 and I would hope that they don’t. I hope there’s an opportunity to reset. 

Staffing & Freelance workforce 

  • We’ve had to enter into a redundancy process. We’ve made a quarter of the organisation redundant. The rest of the organisation is on reduced hours for the next two years in an attempt to put a balanced budget to the board. 
  • Things may change but for now we’re interested in the financial sustainability and security of the organisation long term.  
  • We’ve had to make some tough calls. 
  • We’re sad to say goodbye to those are leaving.
  • For those staying on (on reduced hours) we’re very grateful for their flexibility. 
  • The majority of staff are still on furlough. 
  • We believe that 2,500 freelance jobs have been lost this summer through the cancellation of our festival. 
  • Our main priority at the moment is the survival of the supply chain. There’s no festival without work, no content for audiences to see and so that’s the really key thing. 
  • The picture is pretty bleak because it was always quite fragile, it was always very dependent upon earning money from ticket sales. We are hopeful that some venues will survive but we’re yet to understand what it really looks like.
  • We had this job of mothballing our events business. 
  • We furloughed two thirds of our staff. 
  • We’re going to have a big look at what our staffing looks like over the next couple of months as our funding for 2021 becomes clear. 

Honouring contracts 

  • All artist and contributor contracts were honoured in full for the 2020 festival. 
  • We do see opportunities for working with freelancers on any of these ideas we have on a range of disciplines. So, all these exhibitions – photography, physical installations, live experience around the city would all require us to work with our freelance colleagues in the wider sector. 
  • We were financially able to offer all of our Scottish artists and companies 100% payment of their contracts (for festival programme, artists in residence, & schools touring programme). Plus, freelance contractors – box office, & technicians. We were really concerned how the impact of the pandemic would affect our immediate environment and the people we work with. 

Collaborating with Freelancers 

  • We’re always open and amenable to the idea of partnership with freelancers and other organisations. 
  • Our festival was originally set up in order to develop and support a community of practitioners, and that remains central to the purposes of the festival. 
  • Our absolute first concern and priority in face of this COVID crisis has been – How can we sustain and, if possible, strengthen our network of freelancers and small-scale organisations through this period? 
  • In June, we spent three weeks putting together some projects for August and we went about delivering those in July. The main driver of those was looking to see how we could help the industry get back toward live performance. – Getting venues open and permissions for artists to work together… that was ever shifting sands. Some of those permissions were given 24 hours before. There were things we wanted to do that we couldn’t do, and there’s things I’m very glad we didn’t do because we’re always trying to work out where exactly it would be. 
  • In terms of plans to collaborate with freelance workers, I think that has to be about how we can build projects. It has to be about building employment. And that has to have a real dividend for the public. 
  • What we really want to do is create as much employment for freelance workers as we possibly can, and we might talk about how we can do that in a little while and get some of your thoughts. 
  • We created a call out for an Ideas Fund to support artist-led projects that would be rolled out within the next few months. 9 projects were commissioned during that time. 
  • We’ve just had two major call outs – for a festival commission and broadened the concept of our wider programme of smaller projects that we imagine will be spread across the City. We received over 80 applications. 
  • We’re trying to preserve as many of the projects that we had in our year-round programme. In terms of our touring programme in schools, our creative development work and our artists in residence. For example – we know our artists can’t tour work into schools right now, so we’re paying them to use that time as an experimental lab so that they can actually work together and find out how we might make work in this environment. Some might end up as performance, some might just be time to experiment. So, we’re taking we’re taking that money and looking at it in a different way and making sure it still goes to those freelance artists. 
  • We’ve always had freelance artists on our decision-making panels and we’ve always paid them to do that but what this has really highlighted is that we weren’t really paying them enough. We were taking into account the time they were in the panel, but not really at the prep time so we really looked at that. 
  • Lots of our projects have open call outs and what I’m really aware of now is that the number of applications has increased. If we look across at the amount of time freelance individual artists are spending on those applications, it is a lot of time. As an organisation, we need to address that. Even though our applications we ask for very succinct, quick applications – people want to do their best and some of the applications were really long, beautiful and complex, so we need to address that because we can’t support all of that demand. I really responded to how our brief said, “rejection at this time is really hard.”  
  • We couldn’t deliver this festival or anything we do without the freelance community in all its disciplines, and I think there’s more ways we can work together. I saw that Dancebase is recruiting an Artist Advisory Group. 

Black Lives Matter – organisational responses 

  • We’re not intending to have any knee jerk response to the Black Lives Matter movement because the work we were doing, which is about building a sustainable platform in which we can contribute to that. 
  • As an organisation we try and practice what we preach. Our events speakers, talent, artists at events are as diverse as we can make it, and really trying to platform new voices.  
  • We had to park an entire year of curatorial work in conversations and some of those are quite complex and one of the big things we’ve got to do is get them back together again. Our programme included African American Dance, African American and popular music, other projects which need putting back together again around music and the route of the slave trade which involved bringing a complex range of artists together with new work around Afrofuturism and another project looking at decolonising Edinburgh itself. So we’ve got to build those in again.
  • What the crisis showed up for us is that I think we’re looking at a lot of those issues at an international level, but we need to open up those discussions from a local perspective as well. 
  • We’re working on a new form of public reporting back on our programme and the specifics of the make ups of it.   
  • We had a specific recruitment last year to diversify our board in terms of ethnicity but we’re going to take that a step further this year and work with City of Edinburgh Council on their board development programme, so early next year we expect to welcome another person of colour to our board. 
  • We’ve been thinking about ethnic diversity across all our programmes so whether that’s artists & freelancers and we’re working to deliver them, or when there’s opportunities for new projects. 

Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion  

  • We’ve put a lot of effort in recent years into tackling issues of equality. I have had a commitment from our CEO and board that we will look at our board composition, and that we will look to work on a more substantial Equality and Diversity strategy for the organisation.  
  • We’ve been having a lot of conversations around access, barriers to participation, representation, race, equity, the homogenisation of the cultural sector, fairness, money, wages. We want to make sure that these conversations aren’t remarginalized. 

Q: Because Edinburgh is a festival city, year-round support services such as rehearsal spaces, equipment hire etc is priced at significantly higher rates than in other cities. This creates challenges for freelance theatre artists particularly in the run up to August. Would the respective organisations consider setting up a joint fund to support local artists bringing work to the festival and creating work year- round, to make working in the city a more viable and affordable option?  

  • A: I think we’re asking the wrong question. I think we, as a collective of festivals, arts community, we need to take this challenge to the city itself, and they need to take action on space. 

    The city is going to have surplus buildings. The city is the one who can control who can use the space and who can hand that back over to the people in the communities and I think we can collectively come up with a plan to help us manage that and to not just bog communities down in the debt of running buildings. 

    The conversation shouldn’t be ‘What have the festivals got that they can share?’ It’s more about how the festivals as part of a conversation that pushes the city to hand spaces for the arts community back to the community. Let’s all lobby them together. 
  • A: I agree that we should ask the different question. I think there is space out there that we could utilise and we’re more powerful as a collective voice. 

Q & A

Q: I know people were saying that there’s an issue with venues and the fact that the city has a number of unused spaces. Do festivals work with Edinburgh Museums and Galleries to use their spaces? They have about a dozen museums, a lot of them have gallery spaces which are fairly large to do open, socially distant performances, they also have all their outdoor venues. At the Museum of Edinburgh there is an outdoor court that is open and free to use. There’s an old church that is rarely used. So there are a number of spaces that aren’t really used throughout the year that I’m wondering if they could be venues for socially distant events in the city. 

  • A: I think the challenge in it is that they’re often not set up for creative events or performances. They have some fantastic spaces. 
  • A: The Fringe Society has contacts for each of the spaces, so they can put you in touch with them.
  • A: We work with a lot of venue organisations to deliver our festival including some of these and it works but we do have to compete with a lot of commercial concerns of a lot of these organisations. For one of our exhibitions, we had to be able to move it within an hour and reinstall it on the days that there were corporate events in the evening. It does constrain what we do. There are a lot of commercial arms where if there’s wedding or a function it pips our ability to use that space for free. 
  • A: We have repurposed our space and I think that there are going to be a lot of spaces that will be available over the next year. Secondly, if anyone is going to use any of these spaces, we’ve gone through a huge amount of protocols, and if we can be of help – because one of the new expenses that exists is you need someone who has been trained in all this. So, if there’s anything that we can do – if people have an idea to do something, get in touch. We’ll be thinking how we can use our hall and hopefully some people can connect with that. 
  • A: Just one other point to add – that some of the other spaces across the city aren’t always accessible and our policy is to be 100% wheelchair accessible. 

Q: To EIF – Can you respond to the current petition calling for the EIF increase representation at their festival? The question also refers to the representation of women, disability and LGBTQI+ creatives, not just BIPOC. 

  • A: I think this specifically relates to the activity we’ve done in August, which I would say does not represent our ambitions in this area. Basically, we didn’t get to where we should have in this area and the representation of that body of work. When the international programme was essentially taken away from us, we had to look at the relationships we had nationally. We weren’t having the same conversations nationally in terms of representation that we had been having internationally. So we’re now going through a process of really looking at that and perhaps one of the good things about this time is that it’s given us time to think about this. In terms of the reporting back, we’ve done quite a bit of work on how we were going to report back on questions of gender, but there’s a whole range of other issues. So, we’re working through that, we’ll have something by the end of the year, and we’ll be reporting on that in a public forum. 

Q: Being the host of the party can sometimes feel tough. The Edinburgh Festivals offer a huge range of opportunity for freelance artists, but it’s a feast and famine existence. Alongside opening spaces are there other ways in which freelancers and festivals can think radically together. 

Q: Radical thinking of engaging freelancers. How about invite freelance artists to guest programme a space / season / festival slot? As paid opportunities, this might create career sustainability for the guest programmers and better inclusion for other creatives that find themselves locked out of those spaces for whatever reason. 

Q: When we are talking about recovery – are we speaking about recovering historical structures, ie, refilling roles that have been made redundant or will organisations be seeking to create roles in response to conversations likes these, as well as the calls for greater diversity and integration of artists into how festivals/organisations function? I’ve noticed organisations, who have the best of intentions, about how they see recovery happening and have stated ambitions. I’ve noticed a hesitance or inability to articulate beyond the words, “local” and “freelancers”, so really, my question is – Who are you talking about, and who is involved in this recovery and who are you looking at? Tying in with the previous speaker, opportunity isn’t always employment and it’s employment that we need

  • One of the things that is very critical is to try and expand and develop co-curation work between festivals and other organisations. One of the ways to address some of the issues of diversity and representation is to work with partners who are representative of a different cultural and social interest in developing or co-curating creative work.  
  • A: We also have to realise that there’s this enormous bailout sum floating in the ether with no name on it. I’ve been pretty involved in some of these discussions and I have no idea where its’ going at the moment. 

    I do think it is employment that is needed over the next 18-24months, and we need to articulate ways in which that can happen. I think there is a big opportunity for ideas in different types of spaces with different types of curation. I’ve never thought in terms of programming from the perspective of things that will employ a lot of people. We’re into FDR and the New Deal territory. 

    I think we need projects that will deliberately employ large numbers of people over and will create something of value in terms of health, wellbeing and community spirit. I wish I had the roadmap for that. I think that’s up for grabs at the moment. It’s not being sorted out in smoked filled rooms or anything. At the moment, we’d be very receptive to hearing thoughts along those lines. Let’s not necessarily think about August or Edinburgh, let’s think Scotland and begin to formulate those thoughts, because, if anything, there’s a kind of vacuum of structure and ideas at the moment. 

Q: Are any festivals planning on working together? Or from a freelancer’s perspective, could we submit a Creative Scotland Open Fund application for a performance walk that would be suitable for the International Festival and the Science Festival? I ask because it may be a way of helping split the risk for both festivals and for us. If one doesn’t happen, then the other maybe will. 

  • A: There’s a lot of support and interest for that approach. One of things that has prevented it in the past is planning times and cycles and because each festival works differently. I think there are some practical constraints but it’s certainly not impossible. There is a programming group at Festivals Edinburgh that most Festival colleagues sit on – we’ve started using that as a forum to share more information about advanced planning and themes for future years, as a way to move towards something that is a more concrete co-creation and collaboration between festivals. 
  • A: We’re really open to the idea of sharing with other festivals, and it doesn’t have to be Edinburgh based. We’ve co-comissioned work with another festival in Glasgow. We’ve worked with another Edinburgh Festival, not as directly, but initially commissioned a new work at their festival and then with the same festival we put in additional funds to present it our festival and then it went to another Edinburgh Festival. I think we’re all open to these various opportunities. Please suggest things to us. 

Q: With the increase in digital content for festivals and outdoor work, the equipment technology can be expensive and require specific skills. Is there anything that the festivals can do to access this technology? 

  • A: We’ve been providing online training sessions for our festival creative networks about both the technical side of the online thing, which is not so difficult and obscure as one might think, although there’s specific challenges around sound quality in music. 

Q: The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown into sharp relief so many issues around equality in the wider world and in the Arts, particularly around Deaf, BSL using audiences’ access to performance. Those of us (Deaf and Hearing) who have helped festivals build capacity for many years have watched as our years of work has been erased during this Festival. What can we do to right that for coming festivals and how do we keep audience access on the agenda? More and more deaf people I’ve spoken to this year have been just so depressed to see the capacity building that we have done over the last 20 years disappear – erased overnight. How do we #BuildBackBetterForAll? 

There’s a massive gap between festivals/charities and the artists on the ground, and we fall through that crack. I don’t know who to turn to to ask to solve it. There are some festivals represented here that have a policy that a certain number of performances will be interpreted, accessible or will be by Deaf artists – which is brilliant. But there are other festivals out there who haven’t got to that place – for example the Comedy Festival. Every comedian is responsible for deciding if they want to be interpreted or not. And last year out of the hundreds and hundreds of comedians who worked at the festival last year – 7 had BSL interpreted shows. 7 comedians were accessible to deaf people last year. I know comedy is not that important to many people, but I think it disrupts society. It disrupts our thinking and deaf people have the right to go in and have their thinking disrupted by comedians. 

There were 15 of us interpreters gathered last week to have a conversation about digital and none of us know how to do it, and that’s partly because we never got a chance to experiment with the form this year. 

  • A: We’ve completely changed how we get information from companies and venues about accessible performances. We’ve seen the numbers go up dramatically in the last few years. 
  • A: In terms of digital performances, the BLS interpreted element has fallen away. This is an issue. 
  • A: Edinburgh Festival Fringe- Access statistics (2019) – 69 BSL shows, 89 captioned, 13 Audio described, 84 relaxed, 1,645 no sight needed, 175 no hearing needed on the fringe. 
  • A: When we held our digital events earlier in the year we made a decision to do live captioning which we’ve never done before. We had a lot of feedback, particularly from professionals who English was their second, third or fourth language. We found the benefits of live captioning was incredible for us. 
  • Q responding: Captions are amazing for many people. In my book it’s not either or, it’s both. That comes with a cost implication and we’re very aware of that.  


  • What are your thoughts on Festival fatigue? For Edinburgh citizens, how can we engage with audiences that declare their hatred for the festivals?   
  • I’m just wondering how much of a conversation festivals and venues have been having with Freelancers from technical and production? #WeAreEvents 
  • How can freelancers time be given true value and recognition in a professional monetary way? For example, today there will be many paid representatives at the meeting and many unpaid freelancers taking place. We (freelancers) spend a significant and sometimes exhausting amount of time taking part in meetings, staying present and contributing to development and well-being of community. Essentially, we are often self-funding. We are also busy coming up with creative ideas and writing applications with no guarantees. what are the practical steps orgs, festivals and artists can take to develop a more collectively responsive dialogue that goes from the grassroots up -how can those in publicly funded roles support the unregularly funded to develop creative, collective sustainability? Can small groups of freelancers be paid to develop this with orgs – less us and them, more ‘all together…
  • I’m interested in the collectivity, the us and them and understanding that we are all part of the same ecology. If certain parts of us aren’t healthy… how do we co-exist and be abundant. Many of us feel like we are not able to access the resources that are available. Can we have more of an equal playing field? How do we nurture our local community? We’re in a new era and I think that’s exciting that we can dismantle some of the old structures and we’re all trying to do this on all levels of accessibility, diversity, visibility, basic human rights, and creative rights. How do we all reach out? How do we all find out what we’re all doing and support each other? That support brings energy and it brings a type of sustainability that we can all share. 
  • Do any festivals here envisage how local artists can help nurture cultural hunger to restart our cultural sector/their programmes? Has this conversation been tabled? 
  • Can I ask if there will be more ’employment’/ opportunities for performances for smaller companies if the bigger events can’t happen? 

REFERENCES from chat & mentioned in conversation during the meeting: 

  • #WeMakeEvents 
  • #WeShallNotBeRemoved
  • #BuildBackBetterForAll 

Don’t forget to put capitals in your hashtags #JustLikeThis so screen readers for visually impaired folks can read them.  


  • In relation to outdoor events/theatre, in the last few days in Dublin/Ireland all of the Dublin fringe OUTDOOR shows have been cancelled and its now the law that you can have 50 people attending a event INDOORS and 15 people OUTDOORS. Of course, this is only 1 example and another country but good to keep in mind.  
  • If and when organisations/ festivals/ freelancers are in competition to access money, then how could they/we create and invest together to maximise a diversity of resources from money, to people, to spaces, to skills. (adrienne maree brown)
  • There is a payment that comes from the government arts body in Denmark that pays around £1000 for any producer or artist who submits an application for a grant.  I think that there is a case to look at this with CS and there should be a way for this to not be unpaid time in our industry. 
  • Sweden also has an artist wage which enables artists to function sustainably in between jobs.  
  • When people say freelancers, they rarely mean Deaf and Disabled artists or people like me as an Interpreter who works in performance. 
  • I wonder if there is some way of collating information live online transparently among festivals and freelancers, ie this is what we are thinking, when, and when we need to decide it, this is what we need, that partnerships can grow without having to ask separately, if we are truly able to be share so openly it’d be great.

Longer term, paid opportunities: 

  • I think paid, Associate artist-ships could be a way of embedding artists and arts workers over a longer period. Knowing you will get paid for 6- 12 months + changes everything.
  • We’re researching different types of opportunities like this at the moment and hope to share that and start conversations about how we can work collaboratively to make more longer term paid work contracts.


  • Leadership vacuum.
  • Yes, and we can fill it! 
  • More decentralised leadership supports delegation, facilitation, trust, moving beyond competition to collective and collaborative ideation. 
  • It feels a real chance for a mass programme of artist associate positions is there…if we can find the economic model that enables it. 

We haven’t shared any email addresses that were shared in the Chat function but if any attendees would like to be introduced, please do get in touch with Mhari and Ailie by emailing

Our final meeting for the moment will be our Freelancers & Companies meeting on 10 September at 11.30am.