Thinker-In-Residence: Selina Thompson

In 2019 Selina Thompson will be our Thinker-in-Residence researching ‘Managing the Radical’ that is, how all of us are making enough money to survive in a system that many of us have set our practices up in opposition to. In particular, Selina is interested in sharing survival techniques industry wide, in seeking transparency and in what we can learn from other sectors. If an industry cannot pay its workers enough to survive, regardless of their circumstances, it can never truly be accessible. Is Live Art doing this? If it isn’t, how might we change it? 

This work will involve a series of live interactive explorations of other people’s models and living situations as well as a series of podcasts that pair artist-dreamers with people from other sectors to dream big.  Finally (hopefully) there will be a restorative justice circle, that looks at when working relationships go wrong in the arts in a community as small as ours, and what true justice might look like in work settings. The residency will be documented and Selina’s hope is that what is left serves as a resource to open up difficult conversations that challenge how terrible we all are at speaking about cash, and our rights as workers.

Selina says “I love my work, (most days) but I never want there to be any confusion: this is the work, the labour, that I have chosen to do to make enough money to survive under capitalism. So I have had to be ‘savvy’, whatever this means. It creates a tension between my ethics, my material needs, and my dreams that I just cannot reconcile, and I’m excited to explore this, because I know I’m not the only one. I also think that while we talk about money a lot (mostly saying we don’t have enough), rarely do we speak about it in ways that make it possible for us to unionise, or to share bad practice in ways that make us feel empowered. I am here to think about the artist, and those that facilitate the creating and contextualising of art as a workers, and how we can build new ways of doing things that match the new ways of working that we aspire to in our creative output’.

Selina's time at LADA forms part of Restock, Rethink, Reflect 5: on Managing the Radical (2019-21).

Previous thinkers-in-residence have been Claire McDonald and Hester Chillingworth.

Banner image credit:

Selina Thompson, ‘Chewing the Fat’ (credit: Richard Davenport)

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