What lies beyond the ruins of the creative industries ideology?
Can we imagine the end of precarity?
What is the future of work in the cultural sector?
During the Our Creative Reset Conference, experts and (beginning) cultural workers explore how to take agency over their own education, collective organization, and income. The Institute of Network Cultures invites theorists, (artistic) researchers, journalists, artists, activists, designers, and others interested in rethinking professional practice and labor relationships during the crisis, to propose a contribution for:
Our Creative Reset: A Conference on Work in the Dutch Cultural Sector through and after the Pandemic
The one-day conference takes place at Framer Framed in Amsterdam on Friday 1 July 2022, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. In the same week, we organize policy debate (in Dutch) and three related workshops for Netherlands-based students and recent graduates.
‘The Great Reset’ was launched in June 2020 as a proposal of the World Economic Forum (WEF), to rebuild the world economy after the Covid pandemic in a more durable way. The idea was hijacked in no-time by conspiracy theorists on 4Chan and Reddit, who believe that world leaders use the pandemic to increase their control over the world economy. Depending on whom you ask, these world leaders may include the deep state, Bill Gates, and a global network of lizard people.
It cannot be denied that the Covid crisis is a time of great change. Previously existing issues of social and income inequality, the increased demands of flexibility, and incessant precarization have become more visible and urgent. In the context of digitization, we need new structures of solidarity and safety, fair distribution of chances and resources, and new ways to monetize work. This is especially true for the cultural sector, the champion of temp contracts. The many freelancers and small organizations in the cultural field received the hardest blows during the crisis, whilst bigger institutions were often generously supported by national and local governments.
There might be hidden potential in the dubious role of the arts as flex avant-garde. Since workers in this sector were the first to adapt to an increasingly normalized labor market model, they might also lead the way to alternative modes of organization, collective methods, and self-organization. This is not a question of achieving macro-economic optimization using design challenges or social impact metrics. The failure of the WEF’s launch of the Great Reset clearly shows the failure of top-down ventures that instrumentalize the day-to-day struggles of precarious people. The question for cultural workers then is: how can we make the Covid reset into our creative reset?
Themes and structure
The program consists of three sessions around the core topics ‘art education and life-long learning’, ‘collective organization’, and ‘income experiments’. During each of these sessions, up to three contributors give a 15-minute presentation and go into conversation with each other. Specific topics to present include, but are not limited to:
- Art education and life-long learning
- Art education for an unruly reality inside and outside the academy
- The normalization of hybrid practices
- The excitement and exhaustion of constantly reinventing the professional self
- Practicing self-care and a healthy work-life balance
- Collective organization
- (Further) precarization of freelance cultural workers in the state of crisis
- What happens with the leftovers of Creative Industries policy and neoliberal ideology?
- Collective action against flex and temp work across sectors
- Social safety and the development of a culture of consent
- Income experiments
- The promises and phantoms of crypto art, subscriptions, platform gigs, and other digital revenue models for creatives
- Questions of redistribution, including UBI, bread funds, crowdfunding, collective bargaining, (public) funding models, and sharing non-financial resources
Conference presentations will consist of a 15-minute lecture and participation in a panel discussion. Speakers will be selected based on the urgency and comprehensiveness of their proposal, and its relation to one of the three main topics. We encourage proposals based on previous research as well as practical experience. Experience with presenting in academic contexts is not required.
Experimental formats and creative interventions are welcomed, including videos for a related film program, spoken word, or installations.
Proposals should not exceed 500 words. Proposals including visual material are welcomed but should not exceed a total of three pages.
The deadline for proposals is: Sunday 24 April, 12 p.m. CET
Send proposals to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information and questions: email@example.com
A selection of 10 relevant, complementary proposals will be made by the Institute of Network Cultures and organizing partners. Selected participants will be contacted before Friday 13 May.
Speakers/contributors receive a fee of 300 euros. INC can assist in finding additional funding and will provide letters for travel grants and VISA invitations.
Following the conference, we will compile the publication INC Reader #17: Our Creative Reset. Contributors of good proposals that don’t fit the program of the conference, may be invited to contribute to this reader instead.
The conference is part of the INC research project Our Creative Reset. Read more background information, events pages, and articles here: https://networkcultures.org/ourcreativereset/
This conference is supported by the Centre of Expertise for Creative Innovation. Partners include Framer Framed, ARIAS, Gerrit Rietveld Academy.
 In The Netherlands, 60% of people in the cultural sector work as freelancers. This percentage is higher than in any other sector.