Looking for Gorillas & Finding New Head/Work Spaces
As the end of my contract at YAQ, (& my 31st birthday) draw closer… a new moon rises on freelancing once more. Birthdays that cut you out of funding categories certainly bring on some necessary reflection. Recently, I attended (thanks to our RTO, Creating Links) a Creative Communities workshop where some reflective thinking was encouraged. Here, the facilitator David Engwicht inspired participants to rediscover their inner child and get their inquisitive nature back. While I took lots of learnings away from this, one particular moment really stuck with me: “the miracle of life is not that the adult gives birth to a child, but that the child creates the adult.” Our choices as young people, created the adult we are today.
This home truth was really highlighted for me when I read the recent Australia Council’s Women in Theatre report. There is so much to say about this report, and this is some of the commentary so far. Essentially, the report highlighted to me that I was not alone in my preference for the positions in the arts that came along with superannuation, a weekly wage and some form of stability. I am a statistic. I hate being a statistic. I like to be different. I love my work as the General Manager/Executive Producer at The Danger Ensemble, but the fact remains, I finished uni and said “what the hell am i supposed to do with a theatre degree?” and never really took the time out to explore my ideas at the time. Maybe this will be different for young female theatre makers of the future. With reports like this highlighting the downfalls of our industry and the nature of our employment options in the arts, what does our industry look like in the future?
I am looking at the year ahead, it’s looking good. It is one of those years where I feel like I am reaping what I have sowed, and that is a fantastic feeling. So far I have a mix of shows, paid work, admin work… and a whole lot of grants to write.
Freelancing often means you are working from home. Alone. Surrounded by housework. The good news is Artists and small enterprises in Brisbane have places to go to enjoy the benefits of co-working, and a recent survey of my friends (ok fine, they were just responding to a status update) revealed to me just how varied in practice a lot of the artists were that are accessing all of the different spaces. I am not talking specifically about where you go to rehearse, paint or create – but where do you go to get the business side of things done. It’s a different headspace… we have to shift gear.
I talk about this a bit with peers, how important it is to feel like you are going to work – even if it is for your own practice just for the mental shift. Sure, wearing pj’s when you click submit can have its charm, however there is some value to getting “out” of your home to “go” to work. Some people I know make sure that they have a shower, coffee and get dressed, before they switch their computer on to change their headspace and switch modes.
For me, I love the feeling that I am going to work – to an actual office, with the coffee and impromptu meetings in the foyer and all the social atmosphere an office provides. Vibewire recently wrote about co-working spaces, and despite no Brisbane co-working spaces being listed, I think Brisbane is one of the more resourced when it comes to co-working spaces, I know of many small to medium arts orgs who share offices and resources, and with the economic climate as it is, and thrifty spending becoming a global trend, co-working might just have to be the modus operandi for our arts organisations, reducing overheads and spending. Indeed, one of my new employers is one such organisation that recently moved into a co-working environment.
There are the government run resource centre drop-in spaces, where your taxes cover the rent such as the State Library of Queensland, The Edge and Visible Ink. The beauty of these spaces is that you really do have a variety of bonus resources to choose from within the spaces – dance studio, high end mac computers, meeting rooms, river views or archived treasures, these spaces have more than you bargain for – and… they are free.
Then there are your independent co-working spaces, with generous humans at the helm such as the Thoughtfort, where you can “buy” an office space for various prices and time frames to suit the artists’ budget (Which is much more the Vibewire Hub model). Similar in vein although with more temporary usage in mind is the Rabbit Hole Ideation Café in West End – which is where you will find our good friend Tom these days. The Rabbit Hole boasts one of the coolest meeting rooms in Brisbane. You may write on the walls. Yes… On. The. Walls. They are also running small events and such now. While the resources are somewhat slimmer on the ground in these spaces, you are plugging directly into a creative community (with bonus aesthetic and social charms such as Friday beers) and network of peers. Then there are those awesome cafés that provide us with the internets and espresso, and thus become the place where we meet. Brew in the city is the first that springs to mind… I am sure you know a few where one latte usually gets you a table and a free meeting room/place to think/place to do your emails.
Although the future might be uncertain, (and yes, I am talking to you there, who, just like me was reading the YAQ newsletter at 20 something thinking… “What the hell am I going to do with this theatre degree?”) Remember… the child in you wanted that… and they had a great idea because they were just being you. There are so many places and resources around town to use and grow your skills in, no excuses now, pick up the phone, send that email… see you at opening night!
In the meantime… last Monday I did actor training for the first time in 10 years and it was awesome.