The cultural sector is rife with individualisation and competitiveness to the detriment of its workforce. The status of creative work is increasingly casualised, in the interest of distributing profits to those at the top.
We want to change this.
Many of us are precarious, overworked and underpaid. We are made to compete against each other for unfair wages, illegal unpaid internships, precarious freelance and temporary work. We suffer under bad management and terrible conditions.
The misconception that creative ideation and production somehow happen without actual labour has allowed unfair wages to proliferate and overwork, stress and burnout to become chronic within the sector.
We demand a cultural shift.
UVW-DCW aims to tackle the individualisation of work-related issues. We educate ourselves about our rights at work, secure legal representation, and organise and campaign to transform our industry in the interests of its workers, with solidarity, community, and equality at the centre of cultural production.
DCW acts as a member support network: we support one another to find solutions to the problems we face and look for solutions collectively.
There is no sense of good practice in our sector, in terms of fees, contracts, workplace environment, freelancing and so on. We worked on a Studio Campaign to support studio tenants across London throughout the COVID19 period and we are currently undertaking research into exploitation and legal rights in freelance work, aiming to determine what just working practices look like for our members.
We hold weekly organising meetings and monthly member meetings on Zoom. Member meetings have a different focus each month and are open to both current and prospective members. The meetings include planning and discussing campaigns, exploring ways of organising, education on workers rights, and opportunities to discuss issues with fellow workers. All meetings are captioned.
Between meetings, DCW members organise and communicate via a Discord server. If you are a DCW member and you don’t have access to the server, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our activity is organised via working groups which include:
Ongoing union activity: Worker Solidarity; Campaigns; Membership; Communications; Finance
Special projects: Worker Exploitation; Radical Contracts; Mental Health; Women and Non-binary Workers
To find out more about getting involved, come along to one of our monthly member meetings, which take place on the first Wednesday of each month and include an induction for new and prospective members.
If you have an idea for a campaign or a theme for a members meeting and you would like to start organising – join the branch and get in touch!
Anyone who considers themselves a cultural worker is welcome to join UVW-DCW. Many of our members work in multiple jobs, they do not have a single employer or clear job title, and their employment status can be difficult to classify. Others are employees of large organisations, while some are sole traders carrying out their own cultural businesses. Whatever part of the cultural sector you work in, join our fight to build a more equitable culture from below!
DCW members have the opportunity to connect with others in similar work via our artform Chapels:
Any member is welcome to set up a new Chapel to organise within your area of cultural work. If your artform/sector is not listed above, get in touch!
We aim to create solidarity across the cultural industry and break down the hierarchies built into the sector. We must revolutionize cultural work for everyone and make sure that we take everyone’s needs into account when we build our future.
This is only possible when as many voices from the sector as possible are involved, so we welcome people who work in any position at any cultural institution to feed their ideas into our campaigns.
Members are taking action against exploitative practices, including:
DCW operates a worker solidarity system to deal with work issues and grievances. It is a practice of workers coming together to help solve problems and make positive changes in their own and other’s working conditions, led by a Worker Solidarity Working Group (WSWG).
To request support from the WSWG, fill in this form and one of our members will be in touch to discuss your issue.