Many artists and arts workers face unequal power dynamics within their working relationships, meaning it is often difficult to know where and how to begin when raising complaints, or attempting to address conflict. As an individual seeking to enact change, it can feel futile attempting to do so in the face of institutional rigidity. And as opportunities are regularly based on the dynamics of interpersonal relationships, there is a well-founded fear of being branded difficult or confrontational—there is always a large pool of others who will stay quiet for the sake of seeming grateful for the opportunity.
The aim of Difficult Conversations is twofold—to enunciate and make visible challenging situations that arise within artists’ professional lives, and through conversation, provide pathways for mediating, negotiating, and testing complaint mechanisms. This part of our website hopes to provide guidance for artists, institutions, and individuals—it seeks to say, “you are not alone”, “this has happened before, and things are slowly changing, but it will likely happen again”, “we can deal with this together”, and “we are with you”.
In seeking to be allies that provide support, we need to test ways of approaching these conversations—the outcomes might be direct transcripts; edited excerpts; a list of recommendations and resources for individuals or organisations facing similar situations; or a specific form arrived at through dialogue with the artist.
If you’re interested in sharing topics for potential Difficult Conversations, you can do so by contacting email@example.com