Radage ▽ Hardaker
Please find below a statement regarding our departure from UKYA Nottingham City Takeover 2019:
After extensive reflection we have taken the decision to cancel our upcoming performance of “expectant they / quivering them / swollen theirs” at UK Young Artist Nottingham City Takeover 2019 originally scheduled to take place at Nottingham Contemporary on the 8th of February; the festival did not apply for a license for nudity, which Nottingham Contemporary required. They offered to find a new venue with less than a week until the festival begins: a task which we feel is unsatisfactory and predictably wasn’t possible within the timeframe.
Due to this and a series of other errors and miscommunications on the side of the festival we do not feel that they are able to support our work or us as artists. We feel that a decision has be made to prioritise quantity over developing an ecology of care around practice. We will be making a public statement within the coming days via our social media streams and website. UKYA is sponsored by 3 Universities and Nottingham City Council, who will benefit at the expense of 250 invited young artists free labour. Throughout our involvement in the festival we have been vocal about our disagreement with this model of working, which only stands to benefit those with generational wealth and resources. We know now that we should not have agreed to present work with such reservations. Although we would like to praise what is undoubtably the hard work of many people to make this for festival happen, It is highly problematic to expect artists to work for free, so others can have a job organising festivals, after all, without the artist’s labour there would be no festival.
We request that the festival removes a link to tickets for our event and makes a public announcement regarding why this work is no longer going ahead - This statement should be prominently viewable at our page on the UKYA website and the festival should make there own public statement regarding why this work is not going ahead on UKYA social media streams and privately to people who have booked tickets. This will help relieve further unpaid emotional labour from us.
Our work requires us to be well and looked after, so we can be rigorous and hard with each other. Over the past 5 months we have struggled to find the necessary time, funding and support to deliver this work. We do appreciate the help from the festival in our bid for Arts Council Funding, however, it was less than we expect from an organisation who claims to support the development of our work. In reality the festival's expectation for all the artists presenting was free labour. Ultimately we have decided that our own wellbeing and love for one another is more important than an appearance in a place where we do not feel valued and supported. At this moment we are running on empty and it is severely affecting our wellbeing.
If UKYA wishes to engage us in further conversation or to create a positive dialogue surrounding the over-stretching of resources, the exploitation of “emerging” artists, hidden unwaged labour and the institutional erasure of dialogues surrounding Queerness that do not fall into neat little packages of middle class high-hetero entertainment our day rate for consultation is £240.14 each in line with artist union England’s rates of pay guidelines.
It is both professionally and personally unfortunate that we will not get to meet all the other artists at UKYA and share time in their work. It would have been a joy to do so under other circumstances. We genuinely hope that you all have a good time meeting each other and that our email does not sour your experience of this event. If any of you would like to keep in contact please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org we would love to hear from you, connect in the future and hopefully see your work in other settings. In March we will be making a new work with Live Art Bistro (Leeds), one of our favourite venues, as part of Performing Britain (http://www.liveartleeds.com/events/save-the-date-performing-britain) until then we are going to take time to rejuvenate.
we would urge all artists and companies from the festival to voice any similar experiences they have had, which we are more than happy to amplify within our limited capacity. We feel this is a systemic problem and believe in being radically honest about problems experienced. We hope that this correspondence can be taken as a critique, rather than a personal attack. Our experiences with the festival staff have been fine, our experience with this model of working has not been.
Alicia and Ro
we have since become aware that some artists at the festival have received some form of payment from ukya whilst others haven’t. In the interest of transparency we'd like to make you aware that we received £80 towards transport and materials (which we are keeping). We were also offered £750 match funding for our unsuccessful arts council bid, so although we didn't receive that money it is somewhat of an admission from UKYA that our (and your) labour is worth a monetary amount.