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Creative Freelance: Shaping London’s Recovery Cohort 2021 

Partner Organisation: Turtle Key Arts

Disability Report: Co-Lead Researcher with Lauren Silver

  • Multiple disabled freelancers highlighted issue of extra work due to informing pathways for access needs when working with arts companies.  

  • Both companies and individual freelancers are interested in the creation of a universal access-rider to support artist engagement.

  • 'Interestingly issues were highlighted at higher-levels of arts companies, with workers stating that it was difficult for them to engage with their own disability/mental health needs. That boards sometimes did not understand why there was a requirement to look at access 'budgeting.  That staff at higher levels often felt unable to talk about health, including their own.  That health initiatives were often reactionary when problems arose. 

  • Proposed that multiple initiatives are needed to provide and collate knowledge on disability/health with disability advocates drawing on data that is already available within their chosen speciality.

  • That this would provide more adequate knowledge availability. 

  • Proposed that time is taken during board meetings to centre company issues surrounding health. Ie. to acknowledge procedures currently in place to open access and discuss issues of access practice. 

Training Hub Report: Lead Researcher

(With further research provided by Shaniqua Benjamin and Hannah Tookey who looked into different elements.)


  • Looked into the implementation of a nationwide or London-centric online training hub.

  • Costs:

    • Issues with long-term funding - Ideastap and Get Into Theatre in both cited as examples of company change due to this.

    • Cost expected for online database £30,000 and at least two full-time employees with further costs for design, marketing, and research/development.

    • Overall cost therefore difficult to analyse. 

  • The hub centered focus on building infrastructure for freelancers; small-to-mid-sized arts companies; and those entering the industry.

  • Freelancers cited interest in small and mid-sized company growth due to reliance on these companies for self-development and personal growth.

  • The hub looked at creating a database for companies to upload opportunities like free rehearsal space, mentoring opportunities - to move away from social media and independent social networks.  In addition to creating an inter-company network where they may be able to team-up to provide initiatives.

  • Freelancers cited an interest in access to support within the industry, including advice about how to enter the industry, access to training, and a hub for resources such as advice on access, or support for problems at work.

  • Other solutions were also cited, but preference was placed by both freelancer and company on raising funding for a hub.

Pay Report: Contributor. Contributor/Editor

(With a focus on Higher Earner Data and Social Pay)

  • Social Pay: Initial idea that holiday pay is a priority for many with disability or care needs.  Ie. that holiday pay is often not used for holiday but for health, for voluntary or essential work.  This was then taken by freelancers and companies to highlight the issue of pay for freelancers which doesn't account for areas like paying for freelancer training, freelancer mentoring support etc. which are essential to the industry. 

  • High Data Earner: ​

    • We can analyse arts company high-earner pay through data provided by the Charity Commission. (Database documented)
    • ​That patterns for pay-banding in comparative companies becomes clear when looking at this analysis.

    • That using banding to analyse companies receiving large amounts of funding would likely give us a wider understanding of industry issues, in addition to highlighting bad practices.

 Class Report: Contributor

  • Appropriation of Class in the Performing Arts.

    • That those from working class/low-socio economic classes are harmed by appropriation of them by artists from middle and upper classes.

    • That this often leads to work being given to artists from middle and upper classes who draw from the ideas and constructs of art by working or lower ​classes.

  • Class as a protected characteristic: 

    • That class is not recognised as a protected characteristic.  ​

    • That introducing class as a protected characteristic into government or into arts company engagement (like the social model of disability), should go some way in supporting class appropriation.


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