During the year of lockdown 2020, many freelance artist found themselves with time to reflect, the #freelancetaskforce and #weshallnotberemoved campaign began, in recognition of the crucial role that freelance artists play in the industry and the raised awareness of discrepancies within the freelance world.
The Spark Arts for Children responded by supporting freelance artists in creating a space for them to be heard, via the Vital Spark programme for underrepresented artists. The series of conversations ‘A Seat at the Table’ took place engaging twenty-five artists over seven sessions.
The Code of Care is a versatile tool kit to outline best practice when working with freelance artists, and to help artists clearly express their needs so that they feel able to do their best work.
About this resource
On listening to the artist voice, facilitated by Mashi Theatre’s Trina Haldar, there emerged a need for a clear and agreed understanding between freelancers and those that employed them. Of course, people are diverse and there is no one size fits all, only in that the Code of Care, is exactly that, a shared understanding that there is a need to care for each other in order for us all to be our best selves. When Paddington Bear arrives fresh from Peru, the Code of Care was simply ‘Please look after this bear’. In that same way, the Code of Care is very much ‘Please look after this artist’ with some simple suggestions to guide both venue and artist on the how.
The Code of Care is a live document that acts as a 'pick-n-mix', written from the perspective of a freelance artist, however, we appreciate that venues may also find this useful to adapt their approach to working better with freelancers.
This document is in full control of the artists. We understand that some things will be more relevant that others and that terminology is ever changing and not all artists are comfortable with. We invite you to make The Code of Care useful to you.
If you would like to pass The Code of Care on to others, please make sure you credit it as follows: The Code of Care was created by The Spark Arts for Children in partnership with Mashi Theatre and a number of independent freelance artists.