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Counter Internship Guide: it’s happening!

November 11, 2009

Remember the Counter Internship Guide project that I had briefly mentioned in the past?

Those in charge of it (to my knowledge, the Carrot Workers Collective) are organising an open meeting for all those interested in the project. It will take place this Sunday November 15th at 2pm-5pm. The location is set as Lock-keeper Cottage, Queen Mary University, Mile End Road.

These are the areas of interest that will be discussed during the meeting:

1. Alternative Spaces (and Economies):
Strategies around space occupation: What is the Arts Council’s store
front scheme? What is happening with squats evictions and opening
cycles right now? Are there alternatives for sustainable shared spaces
and alternative economies (eg pub, cafe with gallery, co-housing

2. Drafting Guidelines for Interns and Those Who Work with Them:
BECTU, Skillset and the National Council for Work Experience all have
‘guidelines’ and ‘Awards’ for ‘fair internships’ (involving agreeing
mentoring, training needs etc in advance). These are all non-specific
non-binding, non-enforceable guidelines that normalise exploitation
and show a lack of will to enforce basic employment law. In this
session we want to work a more detailed document and to find ways that
interns and those who work with

3. Research and Data Collection:
Why is data always collected by the same people and the same way?
What’s wrong with the recent Nesta report? Toward an independent group
of data collectors. What is the information we need? How much is free
labour worth? What is the real percentage of interns to paid workers?
Number Crunching and comparatives.
Examples: Serpica Naro Milan, Mar Milan, Nesta, Waging Labour Canada –
Facebook. What questions to ask?

4. Rating Work Places: Walls of Fame, Wall of Shame:
Mapping the spaces and institutions we work in (galleries,
universities, museums, freelance sites). What to do with the
information when we have it? Web rating tools (aka. ‘Rate My
Professor’) A campaign? Performative interventions? Weekly
disappointment indexes?

Many people had mentioned their interest in this initiative when I first talked about it. I am posting the meeting information hoping that many of you can join me and all the others on Sunday!

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 12, 2009 11:27

    if you go along to this meet it’s worth mentioning that all public sector bodies are operating volunteer schemes that conform to the Compact guidelines for good practice – these and a link to one of the authorities using this are contained in a free access a-n Practical guide Why volunteer in the visual arts on

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