Creative Micro Commissions

Our Creative Micro Commissions have been taking place across the UK during October and November.

Being back in person and working creatively has been exhilarating, not just for our participants we are working with, but also the research team working on Freelancers in the Dark. It was important to the team that we engaged creatively with freelancers in addition to our other methods (including interviews, focus groups and surveys), and we’re thrilled to have been working on micro commissions around the UK as a result.

The micro commissions have been taking place in 6 locations across the UK (London, Plymouth, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Newcastle), and involve a 3-hour virtual workshop and two days in person. At the end of the second day the participants have shared scratch performances of what they have been working on over the two days.

I’ve always danced with people, I’ve been part of something, my feet just two in a space full of other feet, people who are like me. When I look down now, I can only see my own. And it’s hard to see how I fit into the world, now, and whether anyone even wants me there. Is that too much?

Does the stage miss us, with everyone gone?

Across the locations we have worked with a range of creators including writers, directors, theatre makers and actors, from those relatively new to the industry to those with decades of experiences within it. There have been a mix of specialists from physical theatre, visual arts and comedy, all bringing their own perspectives, skills and approaches to the commissions. In groups of 4 the participants have been asked to respond to one of six themes:

  • Advocacy
  • Transformation
  • Giving Voice
  • Identity
  • Empowerment
  • Collaboration

These prompts are all significant themes that have emerged throughout our research. They are deliberately broad, allowing the freelancers we are working with to respond with autonomy and imagination. As a result the focus and design of each group has differed, as the freelancers we have worked with have brought together their own artistic styles and processes. Additionally, there has been lots of space for exploration of the personal experiences of the pandemic and reflections on the industry more broadly, together with collective experiences and frustrations from the past 18 months.

Nobody stops to appreciate that having down time might just be the exact medicine needed to assure someone that they’re performing their job to the fullest.

Creative approaches to these themes have included the creation of musical numbers including Sea Shanties, physical theatre, monologues, sketches and more. In particular, participants have commented that the opportunity to create art from the experiences of, and reflections on, the last 18 months has been an invigorating and cathartic process.

Our last groups are taking place in the next few weeks, with the last one in Newcastle in early November.

We can’t wait to share more about these, watch out for further blog posts coming soon!

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