A few tickets left for Yes, We Are Worthy

There are only a few tickets left for next Tuesday’s panel discussion in Toronto, Yes, we are worthy: making it in the freelance world.

Award-winning journalist and humourist Andrew Clark has been added to the panel, which also includes bestselling author Ann Douglas and media labour researcher Nicole Cohen. The panelists will discuss the challenges of freelancing and look at ways freelancers can work together to improve difficult working conditions such as isolation and low pay.

Nicole Cohen, who is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga, will be sharing the findings from her doctoral research on Canadian freelance journalists’ work experiences and attitudes about collective organization and representation.

Cohen says that although the freelancers she surveyed love the work they do, their overall financial security is in decline.

“Generally, Canadian freelancers experience low pay, long hours of work, increasingly restrictive contracts, and often feel undervalued for their work,” she told Story Board recently via email.

Cohen says there is reason to be hopeful, however. The difficult conditions have inspired cultural workers to get better organized recently.

“I think this is one of the main reasons we see more cultural workers getting organized: as the freelance labour pool increases, competition for work intensifies, wages are pushed down, and people are feeling the pressure financially and socially,” she said.

“All this while media and culture are expanding like never before. So, increasingly, freelancers are speaking out about low (or no) pay and about bad contracts. Ann Douglas has been especially vocal about the value of her work and how it is contracted, so it will be exciting to hear her speak on the 24th.”

Ann Douglas’s Story Board post explaining why she was giving up her parenting column in the Toronto Star went viral early this year, attracting unprecedented response from freelancers who related to her frustrations with increasingly stringent contracts and unacceptable working conditions.

Cohen says she will also be speaking about what freelance journalists and other cultural workers are doing to collectively address the increasingly difficult challenges in the industry.

“It’s inspiring to know that individual workers who experience the same challenges are coming together to make some change,” she said.

The event is scheduled for Tuesday, 24 September 2013 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM at Hart House on the U of T campus. You can register here. Don’t wait too long, seats are filling up fast.



Posted on September 18, 2013 at 6:00 am by editor · · Tagged with: , , , ,

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