I’ve been thinking a lot about care in the arts industry, how artists work with venues and how venues work with artists. I really do believe reciprocity is important, but I’m also asking myself if reciprocity can exist in an industry that is hierarchical? I don’t have an answer for this, but it’s something I like to keep in mind lately and thankfully have seen this structure challenged thoughtfully.
Working as both an artist and producer, this has helped strengthen my perspective on how I can treat artists and myself. I’ve listed a checklist on some things I consider to be important to consider when I work, this list has been collated mainly by my own experience as well as conversations with other artists.
Before: When I’m in conversation with new clients/jobs
- What are they asking from me and what is the fee? Do I feel like my time, skills, and work are being respectively covered?
- Does this work excite me?
- Do I feel I’m available for this job right now? Do I have enough time to train, prepare, and perform?
- If I’m travelling, am I booking my own travel and accommodation?
- Where will I eat and when? Is there catering, food available for free, or per diems?
- Am I correctly insured?
- If I don’t know this client is there an artist I can speak to about their experience or somewhere I can research about them (website, social media, etc)?
- Have they given me a contract and do I feel like all of the necessary information is there?
- How is the event being advertised? Is there PR and marketing involved?
- Do I have a clear point of contact?
- What do I know about the organisation and does it align with my work?
- Do I have any needs that I need support with and who can I speak to?
- Who is the audience?
- What is the performance space like? Do I have a secure dressing room?
As a solo artist, I have to take care of myself, it’s easy to get burnt out. I feel I have to have two selves; my performer/creative self and acting as my own manager. I want to make sure I deliver the work the best I can and have learned throughout the years I deliver the best work when I’m prepared. One important thing I always ensure is there is some form of contract/agreement, always. It makes me feel understanding of all the who, what, when, where, and hows – when it’s all on paper it’s clear of what I will be offered and what will happen in order for me to prepare.
- How do I feel about my performance?
- How do I feel about working with this client?
- Was there a debrief?
- Did the client request more of me than previously stated?
- Did anything happen that made me feel uncomfortable?
- Would I work with this client again and did that feel reciprocal?
- If so, how can I maintain this relationship?
- Did I learn anything new from this experience?
- Will I receive any photos or videos from the performance?
I find that work that is both professional and asks the needs of artists is always my favourite, I think I thrive most in spaces that are mindful and trusting of artists.
You can also listen to Symoné’s blog on Soundcloud.
Symoné is a movement artist and creative producer, working at ARC Stockton as an Artist of Change.