The Cultural Freelancers are holding their first meeting of 2014 on Monday morning. These fortnightly meetings began as a result of a session on freelancing at IETM last year. I started attending meetings last September. “Attending meetings” makes it sound like a support group, an arts-equivilant to AA or AlAnon, and in a way that’s exactly what it is! It’s a place to talk about your experiences and hear from people who are experiencing something similar. Sometimes a support group is necessary to help you feel less crazy about working in the arts.
During the problems experienced by Limerick’s City of Culture at the beginning of the year, artists were described as distrusted and undependable, while recent attacks on the Abbey can make it harder to defend a career in the arts. It can feel crazy to be following this career-path. It can be hard to see the value in what you do when the jobs you are doing are low-paid or no-paid, and when people see it as a hobby or a phase that you’ll grow out of. It really helps to talk to people doing the same thing.
The meetings are structured and everyone has to talk about something so there’s an equality in what we give and receive in each meetings. They are also warm and supportive. The group is not competitive or ego-driven and there is a social element and an opportunity to network as well. It’s run entirely by volunteers and is a fantastic resource for anyone working freelance in the cultural sector. It’s an opportunity to talk to like-minded people and feel some validation about your career choice. Your ambitions seem less impossible when you’re sitting next to someone who has done something similar and is willing to tell you all about it. It’s also a great way to start the week because the ideas and support that come out of each meeting mean that you feel energised and ready for the week ahead.
I really can’t recommend it enough! It’s open to freelancers working in theatre, dance, film, visual arts, literature, architecture, circus or traditional arts and there’s generally a good mix of art-forms and experience in each meeting.
To sign-up or find out more you can join the Facebook group or email firstname.lastname@example.org