Jerwood Arts Becomes Freelance Task Force Signatory

27 May 2020

At the end of May, Jerwood Arts joined over 160 organisations in signing an open letter to freelance theatre and performance makers. It recognised the devastating toll of Covid-19 on their livelihoods and the role we need them to play in considering the sector's future.

You can read a copy of the letter here.

For an easy read version of the letter by Access All Areas click here.

Today, we are excited to announce that Jerwood Arts will be backing Dr Gillie Kleiman to join the Freelance Task Force.

Unlike the other signatories to the letter, Jerwood Arts does not commission or programme theatre and performance makers. We tend to make grants to support them to work with other companies or pursue self-directed projects and development opportunities.

The pool of freelancers we do have are our Artist Advisers. These are over 70 artists, curators and producers representing disciplines in all art forms. They act as our ears to the ground and support our selection and decision making processes.

To select one of our theatre and performance Artist Advisers to join the Task Force, we asked those who were interested for a brief expression of interest. We originally planned to pick one at random on the basis that we believed any one of them would bring a unique perspective to the Task Force. On feedback from some of those we approached, we instead put those expressions of interest to a peer vote. Through this the Artist Advisers selected Gillie Kleiman.

Here are her reasons for wanting to be part of the Task Force:

  • I am well-situated within and between the fields of theatre, dance, performance and live art, with strong and active networks of all sorts of practitioners and organisations, including in academia and the community arts as well as theatres and performance development organisations. I live outside of London but have also lived in the capital, and understand the different sorts of strains and opportunities experienced by artists and independent arts workers in different places at different moments in a career.
  • I have been involved in other sorts of organising in the arts alone and with others. Most recently I am part of a working group on artist leadership in dance and last year organised an accidental survey about the relationship between independents and organisations, which has resulted in some new methods of exchange as well as new working practices. I have learned to be very direct without being deliberately confrontational.
  • I have absolutely no interest in reinstating or bolstering a system that is discriminatory, unsustainable, and largely autocratic. I want to work with my peers towards a completely new way of organising performance in the UK that recognises social, political, economic and environmental crises.

Gillie will be paid by Jerwood Arts one day a week in June, July and August to independently participate in the Task Force.

We look forward to seeing how the group will take shape and anticipate that the voice it will develop over the coming months will help increase our understanding of the challenges freelancers face and what is most important to them for the future of the sector. It will provide a valuable perspective for us as we review our funding to best support artists, producers and curators in this changing landscape.

You can read more about the representation in the Task Force here on Fuel’s website.