Am I Working For Free or is this Volunteering?

A topic for all artists and those building professional art and cultural portfolios (and businesses) to consider:

Am I working for free or is this volunteering?

Far too many times have I listened to fellow arts and events workers, partners, and colleagues as they express concerning feelings after entering into seemingly awesome opportunities for experience and exposure.

Many arts and culture enthusiasts who are young or inexperienced, and who are looking for opportunities to grow a profession portfolio, often find themselves in so-called opportunities for exposure or portfolio building. To rub salt in the wound, sometimes, with hopeful intentions, they do this work in roles that support others in achieving financial or professional success.

In an environment where great paying positions in Arts and Culture are few, and where companies have zero problems paying for administration assistants, maintenance workers, or marketing companies, but expect artists, cultural coordinator’s and promoters to work, donate and consult for “exposure”, the young and emerging (and those with martyr tenancies), need to evaluate carefully.

Here is a good starter article to gain insight on the complexity of this issue:

https://free.vice.com/en_ca/article/vbab8y/is-it-ever-worth-it-to-work-for-free

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