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24th March, 2017

Impossible Partnerships: The Gig Economy, Zero Hours Working in the Arts and Academia

Event Details

24th March, 2017
17:30 - 19:00
The James Pennethorne Room, Conference Centre, New Wing, Somerset House, WC2R 1LA


Impossible Partnerships: The Gig Economy, Zero Hours Working in the Arts and Academia


FROM 5.30pm to 7pm, 24th March 2017 @ The James Pennethorne Room, Conference Centre, New Wing, Somerset House, WC2R 1LA

The Culture Capital Exchange, in collaboration with Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, invites you to a roundtable discussion on ‘The Gig Economy – Zero Hours Working in the Arts and Academia’.

The Gig Economy has been in the spotlight recently with companies such as Uber, Deliveroo, Taskrabbit, and Amazon all coming under scrutiny for their treatment of their employees. Questions of diminished workers’ rights, exploitation, and the impacts of these features of precarious employment on social cohesion and individual well-being are therefore increasingly pertinent. Meanwhile, the Gig Economy continues to affect and displace existing models of employment by undercutting their costs and/or availability, a trend that shows no sign of abating.

Following a widely recognised ‘social turn’ in the discipline of Theatre and Performance Studies, recent work has explored relationships between theatre, labour and employment from a variety of perspectives. This session will seek to expand the interdisciplinary scope of this research by exploring a range of intersections between performance and work suggested by the phenomenon of the Gig Economy:

  • How is the Gig Economy altering our understanding of work, its value, its politics, and re-shaping our experience of, for instance, time and temporality?
  • What can be learned about the Gig Economy from the work of performers (whose income and working conditions have long been precarious) and/or representations of labour in performance?
  • Are there ways of using performance to reframe what we think of as ‘Work’?
  • If we could, what changes to policy would we make?
  • Should we accept/encourage/resist The Gig Economy in academia? If so how?

We aim to involve a variety of interested individuals who are enthusiastic about this area of research and who are keen to form a cross-disciplinary network to talk about it.

This Impossible Partnership will be led by Dr Tom Cornford, Lecturer in Theatre and Performance at Royal Central and Lydia Fraser-ward, Creative Director, Fantasy High Street. This gathering will be of interest to early career researchers, theatre practitioners, artists, sociologists, anthropologists, film-makers, neuroscientists, economists, policy-makers, or anyone who feels that this topic deserves more consideration.

Want to know more about this topic? Have a look at these articles: Researchers as Resource, Risk Shift and The Gig Economy, Universities Accused of Importing ‘Sports Direct’ Model for Lecturers’ Pay.


Impossible Partnerships: a series of small-scale, informal, convivial meetings, developed and curated by TCCE to boost the collaborative potential of projects and topics, in order to support new networks between research and the creative sectors. Throughout the year, we map common trends among researchers and entrepreneurs, tackling topics from a variety of angles. As a result, an aggregate of collaborative networks will thrive, develop across institutions, and reach out beyond the academy.

Please register here.

   We look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Enrico Bertelli, Neal Cahoon TCCE



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