UVW is very pleased to have ben invited to talk in the event at Queen Mary's University called "Material Matters: Permanently Temporary".
The prospect of landing a stable job is the bleakest it’s been in generations. For those of us that even can find work, the opportunities on offer increasingly tend to be part time and fixed term. Many are forced to piece together multiple jobs just to survive. While some praise the emerging “gig-” and “sharing” economies as an alternative to a lifetime of 9-5 careerism, it’s no coincidence that those most likely to be “permanently temporary” are also among the most marginalised in society: migrants, people of colour, queers, youth, and women. The financial consequence of this shifting world of work for individuals is profound, but so too is the psychic and social toll.
How has the future of work become so grim, and what can we do about it? This second 'Material Matters' forum is a chance to share and reflect on our experiences of working today. But we will also consider the struggles that are emerging in response to the changing landscape of work, such as the Fight for $15 campaign of fast food workers in the United States. We’ll welcome speakers involved in two such movements here in London: the United Voices of the world–who have supported the Barbican cleaners campaign–and Queen Mary Against Casualisation, part of the national coalition Fighting Against Casualisation in Education (FACE). Arianna Bove will frame our conversation by offering opening thoughts on the growing insecurity and uncertainty of work today.
Material Matters is a series of social forums organised by students and staff at Queen Mary University of London. Each forum is an opportunity to converse and commune around a particular political issue that is felt in specific ways at the university, but which affects life far beyond the campus. Future forums being planned will focus on topics including housing, mental health, surveillance, and feminism(s). The conversations will be informed but not academic, impassioned as well as practical. The forums are open to anyone interested in sharing knowledge and experiences, and pitching or participating in future projects.