Joanna Figiel public lecture

Joanna Figiel public lecture 27.01.2016 at 6 pm

The Hall of Estonian Academy of Science (Kohtu 6, Tallinn)

This short lecture will attempt to overview, and engage with, the vast array of issues faced - currently and historically - by those trying to make a living, pursue a meaningful career or simply survive in the sphere of artistic, cultural and creative work. 

What does it mean to work as an artist? What does it mean to work as a female artist?
What is the class composition of artistic and cultural work? What are the lived realities of production for creative workers and different forms of subjectivation occurring in forms of creative labour? How does artistic labour function as a form of authentic self-expression?

To ask and engage with the above, as well as other related questions, I will firstly look at the general history of art workers movements, ideologies and politics, and further turn to a number of recent projects exploring and engaging with these issues.

Joanna Figiel will bring together existing accounts addressing the politics of cultural and creative work and the findings of the “Metropolitan Factory” research project, developed in collaboration with S.Shukaitis, discuss the work of Citizens Forum for Contemporary Arts in Warsaw, Poland and the subsequent publication of the “Black Book of Work in the Arts” of which she was co-editor. (“Czarna Ksiega Polskich Artystow”) The aim of the lecture is to summarize a portion of findings from the recently completed, 2-year long, “Art Factory” research project of the Free/Slow University of Warsaw examining the distribution of capital(s) in Polish art-world, with the specific focus on issues of female workers and artists and also look back at the ongoing practices and shared tools developed by the Carrotworkers Collective and the Precarious Workers Brigade in London, UK. 

How we can take responsibility – but whose responsibility is it? - to step out for art workers’ rights and working conditions in the current political climate of neoliberalism and generalized precarity?

Joanna Figiel is a doctoral candidate at the Centre for Culture Policy Management, City University, London. Her research focuses on the changing compositions of labour, precarity, and policy in the creative and cultural sectors. She completed her MA at the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths. Joanna is a member of the editorial collective of the journal ephemera: theory and politics in organization, organizes with groups including the Citizen’s Forum for Contemporary Art in Poland and PWB in the UK, and collaborates with Free/Slow University of Warsaw and the ArtLeaks collective. She recently completed work on a special issue of a journal dedicated to workers’ inquiry and a collective research project exploring the practicalities of making a living as a creative worker in the city.