2hrs 0min

A Forum with Tyneside Cinema, Arts Council England, North East Culture Partnership, Creative Freelancers North East, Assembly + The Work Foundation.

Join us for a free event exploring the issue of insecure work in the arts. Involving freelance artists, creatives and culture sector workers alongside arts organisations, strategic bodies and funders, we welcome a panel to present their thoughts on the nature of arts and culture freelancing, and the risks and benefits of the ‘gig work’ model as the dominant mode of employment in the cultural sector.


Unpacking the challenges being faced by those working in insecure and temporary jobs, this panel will discussion will be followed by breakout discussions that will encourage participants to talk honestly and “tell it like it is”. In the process we hope to find common ways to help sustain creative careers in the future, with this event intended as a starting point for an ongoing approach to the challenges being faced in the sector, with recommendations to take forward into future working relationships.

The panel for this event is comprised of:

  • Jane Tarr, Arts Council England
  • Sharon Paterson North East Culture Partnership
  • Leila Daronville, Creative Freelancers North East/Northern Roots
  • Holli Keeble, Tyneside Cinema
  • Harry Weeks, Newcastle University/Assembly: A Forum for Artists in Precarious Labour
  • Melanie Wilkes, The Work Foundation
  • Chair: Ben Dickenson, City of Dreams

Each speaker will present their thoughts on the challenges being faced by artists and other workers in the cultural sector, particularly around ‘gig work’ and insecure employment. This will be followed by a facilitated discussion where freelancers, leaders of arts organisations and funding bodies can share perspectives and stories, and identify some areas on which they can potentially collaborate with a view to making freelance careers more sustainable in the future.


Speaker bios


Melanie Wilkes is a Policy Advisor at the Work Foundation. She has extensive experience in research and policy development, and has researched mental health and wellbeing among workers in screen industries for the Film and Television Charity, as well as supporting the implementation of the Skills Forecasting Service for the Screen Industries at the Work Foundation

Sharon Paterson is Associate Director for Culture and Engagement at mima and Teesside University, and plays a significant role in supporting the creative and cultural economy in the Tees Valley and wider North East. She has been Chair of Board of Trustees for Theatre Hullabaloo, Vice Chair of Dance City and is member of the North East Cultural Partnership (NECP) Board, acting as Chair for the Talent and Progression Working Group

Leila D’Aronville is an independent Culture and Education Consultant and Project Manager who has worked in the cultural sector in the North East for over 17 years. She’s worked for Sage Gateshead, in the management team of the National Singing Campaign, Sing Up, as a senior manager in the Bridge North East programme, and has managed the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Communications and Sector Engagement Strategy for inspire-music. Leila ahas a passion for connecting people and set up the Tyne and Wear Cultural Freelancers network to support colleagues to share and connect and gain strength in numbers

Jane Tarr is Director of Organisational Resilience, Environmental Sustainability and Newcastle Arts Council England

Holli Keeble is the CEO of the Tyneside Cinema

Ben Dickenson is the Executive Producer of City of Dreams

Harry Weeks is Lecturer in Art History at Newcastle University, specialising in the politics of contemporary art production. He is lead researcher on ‘Platforming Culture’, a long-term project examining the impact of the gig economy on art and cultural production.


Part of our Zero Hour Season; a curated series of screenings, discussions and public forums, as part of a debate on the reality and future of work in Newcastle and the UK.

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