Werktitel, the podcast about working in the arts made by Alix de Massiac and Zoë Dankert

Werktitel paints a picture of the labour problems and issues people encounter within the art sector through 150 interviews presented over ten episodes, four of them in collaboration with MAMA. To this end, Werktitel speaks to all kinds of people, at every level and of all ages. People in front of and behind the scenes, freelancers, and employees. Tune into the following episodes and listen to the stories of MAMA’s Kim de Haas (Daily Manager), Nadine Rooij (Coordinator of PR & Development), and Nathalie Hartjes (Director).

Episode 4: I’m Simply Running Along
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The rhythm of the working week goes as follows: from 9 to 5, from Monday to Friday. That temporal separation feels natural, but why is that the case? All kinds of people working in the arts talk about pacing: the pace of the past, the pace of today, and their own pace as working people. People whose work dwells in the shadows of machines, people trying to keep up with the pace of an arts institution, and people who live according to the four seasons. Science has been whispering it in our ear for a while now: we’re speeding. Passionate work diluted with a 24/7 work ethic has become a poisonous cocktail that leads us straight down the burnout rabbit hole.

To recognise these signs and get Steve Jobs’ take on work, tune into this episode that plays with rhythm, tempo, and time. The soundscape by Nathalie Bruys is made of found samples and beats and takes you through the lives and experiences of artists, directors, writers, daily managers, project managers, curators, and one researcher who tries to kiss topicality farewell.

With Alex de Vries, Annet Zondervan, Eelco van der Lingen, Femke Haijtema, Geeske Pluijmers, Hans den Hartog Jager, Jessy Koeiman, Katía Truijen, Kim de Haas, Kris Dittel, Maaike Lauwaert, Maartje Korstanje, Marten Kuijpers, Nadine Rooij, Nat Muller, Nathalie Hartjes, Rosa Paardenkooper, Thijs Lijster, and Yvonne Grootenboer.

Episode 6: The Day Labourer
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A vast majority of those working in the arts are self-employed. The position of the self-employed is currently perhaps the most critical labour issue. It is a battle for one definition, one narrative, and several rates. Freelancer Mariska van den Berg guides us through the episode. University lecturer Thijs Lijster compares the self-employed person with the day labourer, Peter van den Bunder of the Arts Union (Kunstenbond) argues for ending the American dream, and reader Jeroen Boomgaard has had enough of living on the edge. Artist Gabriel Lester called companies pretending he was the assistant of Gabriel Lester, and Cristel van de Ven of the Self-Employed Association of the Netherlands (Vereniging Zelfstandigen Nederland) wants to consign the whole ramshackle system to the dustbin. Curator Rianne Groen was driven crazy by the uncertainty, and fundraiser Nadine Rooij notes that some things are not very chill about being self-employed.

With Cristel van de Ven, Gabriel Lester, Jeroen Boomgaard, Mariska van den Berg, Nadine Rooij, Peter van den Bunder, Rianne Groen, and Thijs Lijster.

Episode 8: Blueprint
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In episode 8, we ask: What is responsibility? Where does it lie, how do you interpret it, and to whom do you entrust it? Executives, directors, and deputy directors share their thoughts on these questions and talk about how they fulfil their role and sometimes share it with others. We discuss the strategic deployment of functions and personalities. At the same time, we wonder where our responsibilities as workers lie. Do you have to put your foot down sometimes and negotiate collectively? Or do you avoid taking a stand because you will be assigned a different position and role? And what about hiring people who sometimes literally look like you?

With Angelique Spaninks, Ann Demeester, Annet Zondervan, Caró van der Pluijm, Clayde Menso, Gieske Bienert, Imara Limon, Liesbeth Visee, Lily van Ginneken, Nathalie Hartjes, Paul van Gennip, Saskia Burggraaf, Vincent van Velsen, and Yaïr Callender.

Episode 9: The Rotterdam Space
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We venture into Rotterdam to get Rotterdammers impressions of living and working in this city. One person describes a former working city turned into a leisure paradise; another sees a generous city where you can be yourself. We talk to the municipality about the extra funds for fair pay that they, the first municipality in the country to do so, have released and how they shape their cultural policy. We discuss what it means to contribute to a city and society, and now that there seem to be fewer and fewer alternatives, we look back at how the squatting movement shaped Rotterdam.

With Alice Vlaanderen, Charlien Adriaenssens, Cultural Workers Unite, Erik Wong, Isabelle Sully, Katía Truijen, Kim de Haas, line kramer, Marianne Versteegh, Paul van Gennip, Willemijn Stokvis, and Youri Appelo.

Werktitel was recorded, written, produced, and edited in 2021 by Alix de Massiac and Zoë Dankert. Sound art and mixing based on found sounds and samples by Nathalie Bruys. Graphic design: Elisabeth Klement.

Send your questions and comments to contact@werktitel.org. You can follow Werktitel on Instagram. For more information about this and previous episodes, visit the website of Werktitel, where you can also find English transcripts of each episode.

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