Emotional resilience is the key skill for 2022

Community and peer support can be essential to a resilient team
19 Jan 2022

While many arts and culture organisations are concerned about their financial viability, emotional resilience will also be essential to seeing out the pandemic, argues Robin Cantrill-Fenwick.

A third of arts businesses plan to adopt hybrid working

21 Jun 2022

Businesses in the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors are among the most likely to adopt permanent hybrid work models, the latest Office for National Statistics figures reveal.

They show the number of organisations for whom working from home is, or is planned to be, part of their permanent business model has risen from 16% in autumn 2020 to 23% in April 2022.

Organisations in these sectors showed much higher preferences for hybrid work models than others, with 33% working to implement a long-term culture of offsetting days spent in the office with days working from home.

Data suggests most businesses are motivated to make the shift to hybrid work because of improved staff wellbeing, reduced overheads and increased productivity. 

“Despite the removal of all Covid-related restrictions, these latest statistics show there are still a large number of businesses eager to continue a culture of hybrid working,” said Tina Chander, Head of the Employment Law team at Wright Hassall.

She added that many employees are reluctant to return to offices full-time but that employers “still have an obligation to ensure the health and safety of their workforce is protected, even if employees are working from home full-time”.

Broadcasters back anti-bullying authority

20 Jun 2022

Britain’s five major broadcasters have offered support for the next stage of development for an Independent Standards Authority (ISA) to help tackle bullying and harassment within the creative industries.

Proposals for the ISA were developed by Time’s Up UK, in consultation with the creative industries, led by Chief Executive of Creative UK Caroline Norbury.

The proposal has the backing of broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky, who say they are committed to creating working environments built on “respect and diversity”.

The new body will offer confidential advice, mediation and investigations into complaints from anyone who reports suffering abuse, harassment or bullying.

“It is well known that concerns are often not raised until after film and TV productions have ceased, where broadcasters and production companies no longer have remit to address them,” said Dame Heather Rabbatts, Chair of Time’s Up UK.

“In this grey space many suffer in silence. Nor is there any process, especially where there are multiple allegations. The ISA will conduct expert led investigations where both sides can be heard by an independent panel of skilled investigators working to the highest standards of legal confidentiality.”

The creative industries will fund the next stage of the ISA’s development, which will include design of the remit, structure and funding arrangements. 

The ISA is already supported by BAFTA, BECTU, the BFI, the PMA and the Casting Director’s Guild.

Gender pay gap increases at major music labels

15 Jun 2022

The gender pay gap has increased at three major music labels, according to data from Music Week.

Based on data from April 2021, Universal Music UK has a median gender pay gap of 27.3% (25.3% in 2020) and an average pay gap of 31% (29.2% in 2020).

Last year, women occupied 27% of the highest paid jobs and 56% of the lowest paid jobs, while bonus pay went to 81% of women and 87% of men.

“While we are on the path to narrowing the pay gap, the positive effects of the actions we’re taking can take time to be reflected positively in the gender pay gap measure,” the label said.

Sony Music UK had a median pay gap of 15% in 2021, up from 8.7%, and a mean pay gap of 27.9%, up from 25.4%.

Women occupied 38.1% of the highest paid roles and 66.1% of the lowest paid roles. The proportion receiving bonuses was close to parity – 81% of women and 83.5% of men – but the median bonus pay gap and mean bonus pay gap both increased.

Sony says it has instigated policies on menopause, pregnancy loss and domestic abuse, now offers Equal Parental Leave, and has continued to appoint women to senior roles, “although we still have more senior men than women”.

Warner Music UK reported its 2021 figures alongside its 2020 numbers, showing an increase in the gender pay gap, from 14.5% to 17.8%, and an increase in the mean pay gap, from 30% to 36.7%.

Women occupy 34% of the highest paid jobs and 57% of the lowest paid jobs. In 2021, 80% of women received a bonus, compared to 91% of men.

Warner Music has set a target to increase female representation in the combined senior and executive positions to 50% by the end of 2025.

Empowering your people

Dancers in a circle
08 Jun 2022

If you support someone to feel good about themselves, they’re going to give you their best and, most importantly, do the best for themselves, says Vicki Igbokwe.

Phoenix Dance Theatre reverses layoff decision

26 May 2022

Phoenix Dance Theatre will no longer lay off four employees in June as previously planned.

Under plans revealed by performers' union Equity, the Leeds theatre intended to pay those laid off £300 of guaranteed pay every three months, during which time they would be expected to be available if required.

The decision to reverse the layoffs follows a demonstration outside the Northern Ballet building, home to the theatre, led by Equity on Monday (23 May). An online petition against the move received more than 2,000 signatures.

The theatre will move ahead with separate plans to end the contracts of five dancers, one freelancer and four on fixed-term contracts, but confirmed all other employees will be retained.

A statement from the theatre said layoffs were proposed but decided against while a strategic review is underway, adding it remains committed to safeguarding jobs wherever possible.

It called Equity’s decision to make the process public “disappointing” and said the theatre “strongly refutes their account of our actions”. 

Dominic Bascombe, Equity’s Regional Office for North East, Yorkshire and Humberside, said he was delighted for the two dancers and two creatives affected.

“They have been overwhelmed by the support of the public, trade unionists and fair-minded people everywhere.”

Leeds theatre lay-offs ‘appalling’, says Equity

19 May 2022

Phoenix Dance Theatre Leeds’ decision to lay off its creative team has been branded “appalling” by Equity’s North East official Dominic Bascombe.

The theatre is planning a ‘creative pause’ from June until January instead of proceeding with previously planned work, meaning dancers will no longer go into rehearsals for at least three planned performances.

Six dancers on fixed-term contracts have been told their contracts will end tomorrow (20 May) and two dancers on permanent staff contracts will be laid off from July 1.

Phoenix intends to pay the pair £300 guaranteed pay every three months while they are laid off, during which time they are expected to be available to the theatre if required.

Equity is accompanying dancers to consultation meetings, arguing there is no genuine shortage of work while the company remains in benefit of funding from Arts Council England (ACE) and other funders. Since 2018, the theatre has received in excess of £2m as an ACE National Portfolio Organisation.

“Phoenix management needs to explain what has happened to the public money they received that would normally go towards paying the dancers and creative team,” Bascombe said.

“And they need to explain why they are not treating the dancers and creative team - who have helped build the reputation that Phoenix has enjoyed over the past 40 years - with the respect they deserve.”

Generation post-pandemic 

17 May 2022

The first post-pandemic generation is about to enter the creative industries. Anoushka Dossa has been examining their expectations and aspirations.

Music festivals pledge to tackle sexual violence

16 May 2022

More than 100 UK music festivals have made a pledge to tackle sexual violence by creating a safe environment for audiences, performers, and staff.

Parklife, Latitude and Boardmasters are among the festivals to sign an updated charter, initially launched by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) in 2017.

In total, 103 festivals have signed up to the Safer Spaces at Festivals campaign, which states that all allegations of sexual harassment, assault and violence will be taken seriously, acted upon promptly and investigated. 

This is supplemented by a commitment to clear, robust reporting and disclosure procedures, including how to report incidents onsite and post event. 

Charities such as Rape Crisis England and Wales, Good Night Out and Safe Gigs for Women will provide festivals with input and guidance in shaping their policies, procedures and training.

AIF Membership & Operations Coordinator Phoebe Rodwell said: “The original Safer Spaces campaign has had a positive impact across festivals for music fans and festival staff alike. 

"Festivals are microcosms of society and sexual violence is a problem that persists in our society. Our understanding and approaches to tackling the issue are evolving all the time. 

"That’s why it’s important that we renew the Safer Spaces campaign in 2022 with up-to-date messaging, resources and practices, to prevent sexual violence and promote a survivor-led approach, helping festival organisers to fulfil their duty of care at events.”


Museums Association creates front of house charter

12 May 2022

The Museums Association (MA) has launched a charter to improve working conditions for front of house museum staff.

Created in conjunction with campaign group Front of House Museums, the charter breaks down guidance into wellbeing, contract and conditions, recognition, inclusion and professional development.

It will be followed by a summary research report, due to be published over the coming months.

Workforce Development Officer Tamsin Russell says the charter “acknowledges the critical role front of house staff serve in delivering a positive museum experience”.

The MA hopes users will reflect upon the existing systems, behaviours, cultures, and practices that see front of house staff treated differently.

Equity claims 'landmark' holiday-pay ruling

05 May 2022

Performers' union Equity has hailed a "landmark victory" after an employment tribunal ruled that 16 of its members had a legal right to receive holiday pay.

In an action brought through the union after the 2018 pantomime season, the tribunal ruled that the members had a legal right to receive holiday pay from QDos, now known as Crossroads Pantomimes, after it was sold to the entertainment production group Crossroads Live last year.

Crossroads Pantomimes now has to agree to provide claimants with holiday pay for the affected productions or face a remedies hearing which will enforce a settlement. 

Equity General Secretary Paul Fleming, said: “The consequences of the bravery of the Equity members in this case will send ripples through the industry. 

"Crossroads through their predecessor QDos have for many years avoided industry standards and used their powerful position to deprive our members of the pay and terms and conditions which they are due, including through tactics which the judge referred to as having a ‘potentially chilling effect’. 

"A company as big and powerful as Crossroads should be using Equity collective agreements like the overwhelming majority of major commercial producers."

Creative apprenticeships drop to lowest level in a decade

05 May 2022

Sharp fall in creative apprenticeships prompts call for a "radical rethink" of career routes into the sector.

The future of work

a man works from home
04 May 2022

With 86% of internships in the creative sector unpaid, it’s hard for disadvantaged young people to get a foothold. Russell Martin considers what working in the future could look like.

A model of leadership for uncertain times

two women discuss their work
19 Apr 2022

Research about co-leadership in the arts mostly focuses on sharing the executive function between artistic and operational roles. Pippa Warin thinks it’s time to consider sharing the role of chair of the board.

Sector must 'do less' to protect freelancers

19 Apr 2022

The danger of burnout is growing as arts and culture become increasingly central to regeneration agendas.

Union deals secure better rights for theatre pros

King's Head Theatre in Islington, London
06 Apr 2022

Performers and stage managers can expect a better work-life balance, whilst playwrights get more control over digital reproduction.

Ireland launches Basic Income for the Arts

06 Apr 2022

Up to 2,000 artists will be supported for three years, reflecting a sea change in how arts workers are valued.

Shock as ALRA closes without warning

06 Apr 2022

Trustees missed the warning signs in 2020, reporting a "very low risk" of closure just six months ago.

What does ‘living with Covid’ mean for your workplace?

two people discuss a business meeting
23 Mar 2022

As new regulations come into force for employers, James Tamm and Nick Wilson run though what organisations need to understand about working in the new ‘normal’. 

Research project seeks arts workers' 'most pressing concerns'

22 Mar 2022

A new research project aims to "build consensus around the most pressing priorities for promoting quality work" in the creative sector.

The Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre has launched a six-week-long call for evidence, seeking experiences of working in the sector that can form the basis of a sector-wide good work strategy.

The researchers are especially interested to hear from membership organisations that represent large groups, though individual contributions are welcome.

The centre's Director, Hasan Bakhshi, said both labour reforms and sectoral strategies may be needed to address the precarity of arts and cultural work.

Submissions can be made by emailing goodwork@pec.ac.uk.


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