Tools For Art Workers

If you are a person working in the arts and are confronted with sexism, (sexual) harassment or violence, what do you do? Check also our Resources page.

1. What can you do yourself?

The possibility to act on your own behalf depends entirely on the situation. If a person makes you feel uncomfortable or their behavior is inappropriate, and you feel in a position to address this to the person: do it!

Tell this person it is not ok to talk or behave in the way they do. Explain why this behavior is problematic. Give the person room to reply. Propose it as a chance for change. Communicate clearly what you like that change to be. Maybe, for example, you simply need an apology and see the person being willing to change? Maybe you cannot work with this person anymore? Maybe you need to include a third person in your conversation?

In this process it is advised you talk to a colleague you trust. This person can give advice and can support you.

2. What if you cannot address the problem by yourself?

While some problems can be solved with a one-on-one conversation, some instances of sexual harassment are too severe or complex for that alone. In those situations you will need to be assisted and supported by an organization. If the situation concerns physical violence contact a doctor. Knowing that most artists work as freelancers and are only temporarily connected to institutions, you might need to evaluate different options that depend on the context you are working in.

If your work is in any way connected to an organization or an institution, it is advised you talk to a person in charge (i.e. project leader, employer, venue director). They might have a person who is especially assigned to deal with these issues. This can be a confidential person, an advisor specializing in prevention of psychosocial transgression, (vertrouwenspersoon) or an external service. The coordinates of these persons and services have to be present according to proper work regulations. Temporary co-workers should have received this information and be able to rely on the assistance it provides as well. In these conversations, the person you go to should first listen to your experiences. Then, you will likely discuss together the different options for action.

If you are a member of a union you can contact them directly and ask for their advice. Especially if the above conversations make you feel dissatisfied or uncomfortable. Unions can function as external mediators and provide juridical advice or support. For example Kunstenbond, FNV or Auteursbond.

If none of the above described options are helpful or apply to your situation (e.g. you are a freelancer, the experience has happened a couple of years ago, you don’t trust your employer…) you can contact Mores. An independent reporting point with two confidential advisors that specifically deals with transgressive behavior in the field of culture and arts. They will listen to your situation, give your advice or support negotiations. Contact: https://mores.online/stuur-bericht/ 

3. Do you want to share your experience (anonymously) with an art community?

There are several closed online groups that function as platforms for discussing and supporting action regarding the problems of harassment in the performing arts industry. Depending on where you live, ENGAGEMENT ARTS NL can put you in contact with an online community near you. Also, if you would like to start your own closed group, ENGAGEMENT ARTS NL can provide you with information and support. For more information, please write to [email protected]

A small group of confidential  advisors have been specifically focusing on freelance art workers (artists), please let us know if you want to get in contact with one of them.

4. Do you want to talk to someone outside the professional context?

If the situation concerns physical violence: contact a doctor.

5. Contact an organization that is specialized in helping victims of sexual violence 

Check the Resources page.