We invite you to the first meeting of Designers and Cultural Workers United

Friday 26th July
Andu Café
528 Kingsland Rd,
Dalston, London E8 4AH

Designers and Cultural Workers United is a fledgling group, starting within the union United Voices of the World.The group aims to unify disparate, atomised and increasingly precarious workers in what is termed ‘the cultural sector’.

As a working group within Evening Class, we have had conversations with some of you over the last few years about unhealthy working practices that we observe within the graphic design ‘industry’, as well as in other ‘creative industries’ in the UK, such as architecture, fashion, and so on. (1)

We object to the idea that those of us who work in these areas deserve no protections or advocacy. Ideation and production do not happen without labour. This dissociation – of creativity devoid of work – is entrenched by the continued misrepresentation that employment within the arts is a luxury. This in turn has allowed unfair wages to proliferate and work-related stress and burnout to become chronic within the sector. In 2018, nearly 90% of art internships were still offered unpaid. (2) ‘Free labour and rampant exploitation are the invisible dark matter that keeps the cultural sector going’. (3)

A broad, intersectional definition of cultural work is needed in order to resist these exploitative logics, galvanise solidarity between all art-workers and hold institutions and bosses to account. To borrow from a recent Justice for Cleaners banner dropped during their protest at the opening of Goldsmiths University’s new contemporary art space: “Who keeps the cube white?” (4)

On Friday 26th July, UVW are hosting a party to launch new groups including Sex Workers and Legal Workers. Inspired and motivated by these groups, we want to use this opportunity to make this Day 1 of our new group, and we invite anyone who identifies as a designer and/or cultural worker to join us. We will be hosting an informal dinner beforehand, to discuss ways forward (details below).

We are proposing a cooperatively organised response to what we see as worsening conditions within our workplaces. We invite you to react and retaliate, under one UVW banner, in order to destabilise unjust and unfair conditions. Let's build a new culture together!

Friday 26th July

Designers and Cultural Workers United informal Meeting / Dinner
Andu Café (Ethiopian vegan food)
528 Kingsland Rd, Dalston, London E8 4AH

UVW Fundraising party
The Jago
440 Kingsland Rd, Dalston, London E8 4AA

If you can’t make the dinner but can make the party we will be wearing stickers to identify as the cultural workers group, so please come and chat with us if you’re keen to find out more.

If you can’t make either but are interested in joining, or finding out more, than please contact inquiry@evening-class.org

1 Good practices in design pitches and tenders
What could a Union do for Graphic Design?
Against Undisclosed Salaries
Dependent on Experience

2 Nearly 90% of Internships in the Arts Are Unpaid, New Study Finds

3 Hito Steyerl. Politics of Art: Contemporary Art and the Transition to Post-Democracy

4 ‘Who keeps the cube white?’: protesters disrupt opening of London’s newest gallery Goldsmiths CCA

Posted by: chris