I’ve been here highlighting these issues for around six years now.
With arts organisations going on about social prescribing, but still my wages to do that are spurious.
And of course, I can’t plan any more workshops to clear my overdraft now.
I’m watching with a small sense of schadenfreude as other small businesses and freelancers are plunge into the same situation as me. They are petrified and angry, as they are faced with the universal credit system, and DWP employees telling them to volunteer – highly skilled people with years of running businesses.
So the pressure is on – for the arts council to provide relief.
I don’t want to apply for grants with no guarantee of being accepted – I NEED some kind of income.
I NEED to be paid – at my rates, not universal credit, not even this pittance of working tax credit I’m receiving.
I am owed over £300,000 (at my last calculation) of unpaid wages since austerity started.
I have not stopped being an artist just because I have been economically exiled.
The skills I have have not gone anywhere – now, more than ever, I am told that our skills are needed in these testing times. Mine are pretty useful.
I am joining others to pressurise the government and the treasury into helping freelancers, and it’s obvious that Universal Basic Income is a move in the right direction.
But it would be better to simply pay artists a wage, and pay carers a wage.
At the last Carer’s Group, which has obviously now stopped, I was given an orange wristband to identify me as a carer when using NHS services. These are mainly for carers whose cared for are admitted into inpatient and acute wards for MH.
However, Im just wearing mine in general to make people aware.
Advice for people to do art activities for enjoyment is obviously not always useful for artists struggling with money, and balancing caring with work. I am not your free online training course. Which is why I’m not going to share any useful tips for working from home whilst watching my overdraft plummet into oblivion.
It does my wellbeing no good at all.
I am thinking of focussing on my online shops – I am hoping people self isolating will be more inclined to buy art and products for wellbeing from artists’ online shops, especially now that galleries are closing, and most shops are closing.
But of course, the amount of sales and commissions never reflects all the self promotion I do!
I will be thinking of self isolation art projects where possible, (NO, I WILL NOT APPLY FOR YOUR UNPAID PROJECT!) and looking into various ways to monetise virtual workshops.
Does anyone have any loo roll?!