The word freelance comes from traveling missionaries in mediaeval times- warriors with a “free lance” (large sword) who were not tied to the service of a particular king, but would go from castle to castle fighting for who they thought was in the right or whoever paid them the most. With Cultural Freelancers United, we re-introduce the idea of the freelancer as a modern warrior, working project to project, fighting the good fight for whoever we believe in (or sometimes, whoever can pay our wine and bread). But we have many specific challenges to tackle, such as:
- finding the balance between personal and professional
- maintaining integrity in our work, while making enough means to survive
- finding ways to join forces and support each other
- sustaining ourselves and our work regardless of ups and downs of private or public public financing
- staying true to our roles as shapers and shakers of culture
The idea behind Cultural Freelancers United is that together, we can fight stronger, longer, and better, and get further than we would alone.
Cultural Freelancers United is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the working conditions and social and political standing of Freelance cultural professionals. Cultural Freelancers United aims to accomplish its goals in several ways:
- By providing a platform to encourage and ease international collaborations on a freelance basis, both with and without currency based payment.
- By creating a network community of freelancers, allowing for mutual exchange of professional and emotional support.
- By supplying information and advice relevant to the freelance working conditions and lifestyle.
- By serving as an international representation of the cultural freelancer, and assisting in the organization of lobbying and other political and public action on behalf of the cultural freelancer.
In addition to the online platform, Cultural Freelancers United has a physical presence at festivals, conferences, and events. The physical presence is not only to provide helpful information/teachings for the personal and professional growth of freelancers, or to strengthen its own numbers, but as well to give a sense of community and unification to freelancers, “You are not alone”. Cultural Freelancers United also organizes guest workshops and lectures by redeemed professionals in the field, and its own conferences and meetings for members.
The concept for Cultural Freelancers United was developed as a result of the working group “The Freelancers Party” at the IETM (International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts) Meeting in Krakow, October 6-9 2011, presented by Brina Stinehelfer and Francesca Romana Ciardi. During the working group, freelance participants expressed a desire and need for an organization specifically for freelancers in the field of cultural management- what you are now seeing is an offer to meet this need, based on the feedback received during that meeting.
Cultural Freelancers United website was brought to life through the generous support of SMart (professional association of the creative sector). SMart supports freelance creative professionals with the managing of contracts, payments, paperwork and more, and is in the process of becoming a Europe-wide initiative.
Freelance web programmer Eric Hanuise provided the programming for the site. Freelance graphic designer Felipe Tofani created the branding and logo for Cultural Freelancers United.
Freelance artist and producer Brina Stinehelfer is responsible for the concept and initiation of the network, and the initial content and structure of the website.
Cultural Freelancers United is a collaborative project created and maintained by and for freelancers. CFU has a rotating board of members who oversee its activities, and a rotating team of freelancers who carry out its aims and missions.
The current Cultural Freelancers United team is:
Brina Stinehelfer (Berlin, Germany)
Aoife Courtney (Dublin, Ireland)
Cultural Freelancers United is an open source, continually evolving project, which aims only to serve its members needs. Feedback and suggestions for the website, organization, structure or anything else are welcome at any time.
To find out more about Cultural Freelancers United’s history, current activities, to make a suggestion for the betterment of CFU or to join the team, contact our current board of members: firstname.lastname@example.org.