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1nnit Tue 04-Feb-14 19:53:11

I was in a sandpit the other day with a bunch of women. One was a singer, one a musician, one was a DJ, another a film producer and the last a designer. All had significant careers and were professionals in these roles. You would have heard of their stuff. All had moved to where we live due to having kids and needing space/a better life balance etc- it is a town where property is cheap but resources are poor. All have tried to find interesting work/set stuff up and have not succeeded. What is this about? Is it a feminist issue? Is this what is happening to other female creatives who leave London or other cities? Such huge skills and resources lying idol when the will/need to work (but without commuting) is there. It seems like such a frustrating waste to me. I don't really have a question but would appreciate any reflections.

TwittyMcTwitterson Tue 04-Feb-14 21:44:32

I'm not sure I follow. By town, do you mean backwards village where all women are SAHMs and all men are farmers? wink

DandelionGilver Tue 04-Feb-14 21:47:13

It could just be that the service/expertise they offer/wish to offer are not required in the area you live.

1nnit Tue 04-Feb-14 22:20:30

I was just mulling over that it seems to be a thing. That there seems to be quite a few women that I know that have not thrived in the creative industries after having children due to the demands of juggling that type of work with motherhood. film sets, long hours, moving out of cities, touring etc.

And that these people could be a huge (local) resource but seem to be invisible (or irrelevant) to development agencies, local cultural strategists, educational establishments etc. I was wondering why that was?

I know that a lot of these people have tried to set up projects around here but have not succeeded and was trying to identify what the barriers were.

I was particularly wondering which of these barriers (if any) might be to do with their gender and which were to do with other factors such as local deprivation, lack of functional cultural networks, poor local cultural development, etc. etc.

TwittyMcTwitterson Tue 04-Feb-14 22:30:57

Have similar projects been well received in big cities?

I don't work in anything remotely similar to creativity or the arts but for me it was being a mother than caused men not to take me or my professional thoughts seriously.

noddingoff Tue 04-Feb-14 22:32:59

EveesMummy, farmer's wives often can't afford to be SAHMs now. A lot of them have part time jobs to make ends meet.

1nnit Tue 04-Feb-14 22:44:47

Hi EveesMummy. Yes, a lot of us that work in creative sectors do a range of portfolio work when in London or other city centres: some teaching, some making/creating/performing. Professional development work, talks, conferences, putting on events, raising money for stuff- collaborating etc.

Here- it seems really hard. you approach people/organisations who might be interested in a partnership or doing something with you and they wont even see you.

Dandelion- in my experience a lot of creative work opportunities don't work in the same way as other sectors- as in there might not be a demand as such- you just start making stuff or approaching potential collaborators and stuff happens.

But here there seems to be just these huge barriers and I cant figure out what they are thats all.

1nnit Tue 04-Feb-14 23:07:29

it may be the gender of these women is a red herring and that actually the town is just poorly resourced for new developments or cultural sector work.

But the fact that i have met so many successful/talented/experienced women in the same position makes me wonder if something or possibly multiple things are acting together to lead all these mothers to be sitting in a sandpit with me rather than at work (and yes we do all want to work)

i.e. exclusions from the sector due to kids making touring/ working on location difficult plus the need to access affordable housing (ie not london) plus irrelevance/invisibility of middle aged women to local development strategists= sandpit?

and are these barriers located in gender disadvantage/ feminist issues or something else?

TwittyMcTwitterson Wed 05-Feb-14 05:45:24

Sorry noddingoff, didn't mean to offend. I grew up in a rural setting and for simplicity am envisaging a typical macho stereotype. My mum was not well received for time for being a single working professional AND a mother.

It could be the whole setting. For example, people out of the city have less of a creative influence because it is not surrounding them and there isn't much to bring their interest in the first place, add to that lack of funding to inspire further interest, add to that gender difficulties and difficulties of juggling motherhood and you may have a non starter.

Where I'm from we have a pretty successful DJ. However, he is male, commitment free and moved to a big city for several yrs before all this happened. All the younger generation supports him but apart from the odd play at the village hall, there isn't much arts wise hmm

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 05-Feb-14 08:26:57

Without knowing a bit more about who they've approached with what, it's hard to say. But certainly some of the creatives you mention need an audience and a venue, and there are more of those in cities.

Could the singer do a charity concert in a church hall, for example? Or sing at weddings?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 05-Feb-14 08:28:25

Oh - and what are the fathers of the babies in the sandpits doing? If they could leave work early when the singer has a concert so she can travel to a city - that would help.

1nnit Wed 05-Feb-14 08:54:22

Im not sure that I am explaining what I want to say properly. Yes these things can and do happen- the fathers are not refusing to help and yes the individual women could sing at weddings etc. it feels more like insidious factors are at play that are much harder to pin down.

Sort of unless you stay in the city and remain child free (or are male) if you are a creative, you can expect your career to be over by the time you are 45. Because the conditions are so poor outside of these circumstances that it becomes unsustainable.

That just seems like such a frustrating waste and an institutional problem rather than one that is located within individual families working set ups.

1nnit Wed 05-Feb-14 09:05:25

and don't you think if there are all of resources here in a town where there is extremely high unemployment and poverty that it would make sense for the development agencies that are given money to stimulate regeneration in the area to utilise the skills/resources/networks/experience of this demographic? but they seem to be totally invisible and irrelevant. I do not meet any frustrated male creatives here with the same problems although that doesn't mean there aren't any of course.

benid Wed 05-Feb-14 11:03:34

I think this an economic issue. My local council for instance has cut funding for all kinds of "non-essential" spending - litter picking, council libraries, refuse collection - because of the cuts imposed by central government. There's just no money for these things, which are MUCH higher up the list of priorities than creative activities ever would be.

The regional development agency has been abolished.

It may be that "cultural spending" is still taking place in London but I don't see it in the urban centre where I live, never mind in the rural locations. The economy is still in shit street in a lot of the country and IMO it is this effect that you're feeling.

The feminist issue of womens' access to work post-children is a very real one, but I don't think it's specific to creative people.

1nnit Wed 05-Feb-14 11:16:03

no absolutely it is not confined to creative industries, I agree with that. but a lot of the women I am meeting are finding work of one kind or another- they are bringing in an income, its just they are not using their professional skills. Although I suppose that is true of other friends who have chosen to go part time after kids and have had to change jobs or take crapper positions in order to work reduced hours.

Maybe that's my answer then. It is about the recession and the stripping away for any agencies that might be able to put in place frameworks to catch these resources and feed them into the local economy. Plus the cross-sector female specific problem of finding decent work post kids.

that seems like a fairly insurmountable problem then.

whatdoesittake48 Wed 05-Feb-14 11:44:17

There needs to be a better framework to encourage women to re-enter the workplace after they have children - creative types or not.

I am a writer (fairly creative too). I work freelance from home and have done for 5 years. it is flexible, but not social. I also do creative workshops for my crochet, but must fit them around the demands of family so the number is limited. My income is limited by my choice of work - I could earn twice as much if I went into the workplace.

Women are infinitely creative and flexible and we need to stop waiting for agencies, government or whoever to put the structure in place. it is time to develop it for ourselves and work within the personal limits we have. Does it really require money? or can it be done by women who want to make it happen?

Of course the support of partners is essential to this and that is not always forthcoming or practical.

1nnit Wed 05-Feb-14 11:55:43

Hi Whatdoesittake. I agree that we need to stop waiting for people to put things into place BUT when agencies and organisations are set up either as charities, local authorities or development agencies etc. and their remit is to look at what is happening in their area and support it and they are not interested- i think that is a problem.

1nnit Wed 05-Feb-14 12:07:31

I also think its worth saying that cultural activities don't take money away from litter picking/libraries etc. the money to set up cultural enterprises or projects can come from audiences paying for tickets or a range of funders set up to support the arts. I dont know anyone who has got funding support from a local council to make work for at least ten years.

The problem here does not seem to be funding- which is easy enough to access but the will of the local agencies to support the projects or activites.

freyasnow Wed 05-Feb-14 12:12:23

I have worked recently with a group of creative people and I don't see a difference based on gender. I live in an area similar to the one described. The main issues are:

1. There have been massive cuts. The funding opportunities are absolutely terrible now in creative industries. It is a very difficult time to get back into work.

2 If you live in an impoverished area with high numbers of people who are excluded, most of the creative work is going to be in teaching skills to those people. That requires people who are not just creative but have good knowledge and experience of local people, their cultural backgrounds and needs.

3. Most of those kind of jobs require you to chase funding and set up your own work, be it registered as a charity or otherwise. A lot of that funding is centrally held (often by organisations in London!) and is not about the attitudes of local organisations.

1nnit Wed 05-Feb-14 12:43:23

Hi Freya

i fundraise on a substantial level and set up and run projects as you describe above. I don't agree the money is all centrally held in London at all. In fact that is one of the things I cant get my head around. It is very easy to make the case for funding here but for some reason there is a huge attitude barrier that is stopping that happening.

I agree that the things you list above are not about gender.

but think the reasons for the underemployment of these women are complicated and may have some gender issues impacting in quite an insidious way.

I might be wrong of course. just noodlin' on the problem.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 05-Feb-14 13:20:51

But what projects could use their skills in a "family friendly hours" fashion - maybe demonstrations in schools?

I'm not against what you are saying, I'm just wondering what "regeneration" would result.

freyasnow Wed 05-Feb-14 13:50:35

Yes, I said a lot of funding was centrally organised, not all of it.

I think what I'm trying to work out is a. if creative work outside of cities is subject to particular barriers to mothers that other work is not, and if so, what is that.

I don't see that the reasons discussed here have an immediately obvious gendered angle, which isn't to say there isn't one.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

1nnit Wed 05-Feb-14 17:57:54

that looks really interesting! Im not in the south west but yes stuff like that can really stimulate stuff to happen. wish there was an agency like that here. or anything at all actually.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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