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Small Town to Big Screen - Equity East Midlands star-ting with a dream.

Jan24 EMB speaker Brendan Bradley

It's time to get the branch wheels back in motion. Anyone who was an Online Branch regular may recall that Jan, Feb and Mar were call to action time in regard to formulating and submitting motions for the annual conference.

The Equity Conference is the place where the most representative slice of the union come together to debate and pass new motion which guide and direct the unions activity. It’s the voice of the members. *cough* !! I love Equity but it is far from perfect. Don't ever think that because I post with fanfares and trumpets I don't feel the icy bite of living beyond the fiery warmth of Guild House! The Equity Staff work tirelessly on our behalf.

The winds of change have passed and 2024 in the landscape we inherit. The new framework dictate that motions now need to reach head office by the start of March with regions meeting to determine which branch motion progresses to conference by the end of March.

For the East Midlands Branch who meet on the 2nd Wednesday of the month we have just Jan 10th and Feb 14th to formulate and score consensus on a motion from the branch. The Midlands Regional meeting is Mar 22nd.

So to those not in a branch you are of course welcome here in the Online and Beyond group. However, Branches need a minimum of 10 people in attendance to make decisions. Make it your new year resolution to attend one meeting this year. Find your branch. Join its Facebook Group. Make it your business to get to know the committee. Also think about what you’d like to change and how you think that might formulated into a motion for the annual conference.

In the meantime… The East Midlands Branch is open to everyone. This group is also affiliated to the North & South London Branches as a place for travellers no longer served by the branch boundaries.

New Branches are finding their social media homes which is not as easy as it once was. The Highland & Island Branch is a perfect example. Hello to Myette. The Birmingham & West Midlands Branch too with Tracy Briggs taking the Campaigns Office role. Manchester’s Chris Clarkson visit the East Mids Zoom as well as actively contributing in the Loomio Equity Members Network to share his insight to West Midlands’ Tracey Briggs and Georgie Taylor. What’s happening at your branch?

But I started this post to share with you the next East Mids Branch speaker, Brendan Bradley.

Brendan is an accomplished actor and storyteller who has performed in over 100 TV shows, movies, video games, and immersive experiences. He's shared the screen with Hollywood stars, while also creating his own original content.

Currently based in LA, Brendan has been on the frontlines of the recent SAG-AFTRA strike serving as a strike captain making daily videos explaining the common sense demands that actors and writers are fighting for.

Brendan is a pioneer in live virtual reality performance, having acted on 3 continents in real-time VR. He's supported 50 XR prototypes at the Innovation Lab he founded at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts

Join me and welcome Brendan as he shares insights from his wide-ranging acting career on stage, screen, and the metaverse. He'll be pulling back the curtain on the actor's life and helping us stair into the matrix in 2024.

The meeting is on Zoom. It starts at 7.30 UK time. Speakers tend to go first and branch business is second. There will be a breakout rooms session for digital ‘bar and banter’. For the truly adventurous you can visit the XR Web and VR space which will host its Edinburgh Fringe meet up in the Summer. I love this space commission my Cybersalon its a faithful recreation of the very first Cyber Cafe Siberia which was located at 39 Whitfield Street in London. It is currently a hub to access 3 Galleries created for the RSA’s Augmented Society Network and curated by them.

The Galleries are accessible 24/7 but guided public tours are being host during January.

2024 is going to be a crazy year to be alive.

Some of you may know I have a word to the year. In previous years I’ve had Legacy, Boundaries, Mindfulness, Posture and last year was Balance. This year is Converse. So… talk to me! I want to be a better listener as well as a more engaging conversationalist.

I did not expect this to turn into a blog post but hey... here we are!

If you want to take part in the East Midland Branch activity, you don't have to be an Equity Member living in the East midlands. Just bare in mind those that do are eligible to vote when consensus is required. All Equity Members are welcome as well as the Equity Curious. We are a branch with total current active membership of around 60 and a members list of in benefit Equity Members of 1100. Meeting tend to get between 15 and 25 member attending. That means its easy to get hear if you have something to say!

So some links

  1. The Branch's temporary website with past meetings and new updates Doh! now I realise that needs updating!!
  2. The Meeting Registrations via Eventbrite or Register directly for Zoom. We are a Room and Zoom set up.
  3. Our East Midlands Branch webpage on the Equity site for contacting the regional officials is live but the branch does not yet have access to update it hence the temporary solution included as link 1.
  4. Check out Brendan's Instagram
  5. Find your Equity Branch
  6. Check out the RSA:ASN XR/VR Gallery Tours 11th and 25th Jan
  7. Go visit the Cyberia XR Cafe in Spatial.io. Here is a quick first time entry guide to take a peek without having to sign up

We have a Facebook Page and private group as well as a account on X. We are EquityEastMids.

Thanks for reading.


The Rise of Thinking Machines: What Performers Need to Know


At the October meeting of Equity's East Midlands Branch the speaker, the first “Branch Talks with…Industrial Officials” guest was Liam Budd.

The use of Artificial Intelligence across the audio and entertainment industry is on the rise. At the recent Equity East Midlands branch meeting, Liam from Equity's recorded media department gave an eye-opening presentation about artificial intelligence and its impacts on the entertainment world.

Liam is a strong advocate for the protection of performers from unregulated technology. In June 2023, he called on the government to “step in with robust measures to properly regulate the use of AI in the entertainment industry”.

AI, Liam clarified refers to "thinking" machines that can perform tasks requiring human intelligence and creativity. While the technology presents opportunities, legitimate concerns exist around job displacement, infringement of rights, and ethical implications.

As highlighted in Liam's talk, AI is already being used to clone the voices, images, and performances of individuals - sometimes without consent. Harmful deep fakes represent one troubling application, with women frequently victimised.

Liam explained Equity's efforts to empower members through initiatives like the "Stop AI Stealing the Show" campaign and a comprehensive AI toolkit. The union aims to strengthen performer rights and incorporate ethical AI clauses into collective bargaining agreements.

Key principles include centring human creativity, requiring consent, giving artists control over digital likenesses, ensuring fair compensation, and promoting transparency.

As AI capacities rapidly advance, we face a critical window of opportunity. Performers must educate themselves on the issues and possibilities surrounding thinking machines. Groups like Equity are advocating for ethical frameworks, but success hinges on members proactively exercising their rights.

The future remains unwritten. But by banding together and insisting technology serves creators - not replace them - we can author a new script. Our art forms depend on the infusion of humanity. As Equity's toolkit states, progress cannot lower the curtain on live performance.

Write up by Caron Lyon (assisted by Claude.AI)


“Guidance on Artificial Intelligence work for artists” is one of the resources produced by the department. Equity has also compiled an AI Toolkit to help members begin to give context to this new technology and help you understand how to recognise and manage it as it impacts and integrates into our working lives. It will affect everyone differently.

231011 - EastMidsSpeaker LiamBudd

‘Leaving Do’ for AltSpace @39 Whitfield Street

Farewell AltSpace @39WhitfieldStreet - cover

The sun is setting on Cybersalon’s first metaverse presence built in AltSpace. In November 2022 Cybersalon used this VR and Browser-accessed metaverse to augment a virtual attendance option to launch a self published book of short  speculative fiction stories in a book called “22 Ideas about the Future”.

Guardian_OnLine_Sep_08_1994In 1994 the first internet cafe, Cyberia, a new point of presence came into existence after several false starts so a Guardian article from Sept 1994 reflects. (see article right)  article link

In July 2022 a project began to take the legacy and reminiscence storytelling of Cyberia to a new dimension, the metaverse, with its Cybersalon present day maverick, tech savvy community. AltSpace @39 Whitfield Street was conceived. Other platforms were considered but in the autumn of 2022 Microsoft’s VR metaverse AltSpace offered the most comprehensive facilities for hosting events.

The intention was always to make 39 Whitfield Street a multi-presence metaverse experience. Establishing the AltSpace presence was the first toe in the water. This farewell soiree begins in AltSpace and will retire for a first look and conversation in it's 22 Ideas Lounge in metaverse platform Spatial.

39 Whitfield Street in AltSpace is a faithful reconstruction of Cybersalons first bricks and mortar Cyber Cafe “Cyberia” which opened at 39 Whitfield Street in Central London in 1994. Cybersalong hosted 3 events in AltSpace before the announcement came on Jan 10th 2023 that the platform would sunset on March 10th. So before our fun starts it is to come to an end, in AltSpace at least. https://altvr.com/sunset/

Join us for a farewell to 39 Whitfield Street in AltSpace. Bring your 39 Whitfield Street Cyberia recollections. Last chance to don a Paper Hat and visit Hallidonto’s exhibited works. Join Eva and a few choice guest speakers for this end of the world soiree!

This is not the end! 

Thursday 9th March 

7pm - 9pm

Event Programme / timeline

18.30 - Zoom opens  (Audience Zoom link - On Request)

18.45 - AltSpace event destination opens - Destination Code - TXA241

19.10 - Welcome

19.05 - Soiree

20.00 - Chill out and Chat (AltSpace)

20.30 - Thank you and Farewell Altspace

20.30 - Spatial 22 Ideas Immersive Lounge opens

22.00 - Cybersalon Event Ends

Blue Stocking Society pitch collaboration with ChatGTP

My pitch delivered to the ladies at Blue Stockings Society on Monday 23rd Jan. Following this is the text I collaboratively through prompts generated by ChatGTP.

We came together at Tiger Community Enterprise in Nottingham's Lister Gate. It was about networking to bring a problem or issue we'd like help from fellow entrepreneurs. There was a opportunity to vote on who you think should win the £600 accumulated fund and network with other amazing women. I took SafetyCurtain as I presented my first ever pitch to fundraise. My pitch written with the help of ChatGTP3.

The winner was Fatou from Guinea (photo bottom right) who told us about the experience of pregnant women in her home country and her own sisters death while trying to give birth. Fatou’s friend has just trained as a midwife and is setting up a voluntary birthing hut so that women can access free support and midwifery and hopes to reduce mortality rates in their home town. The £600 will buy sterilising equipment, beds and packs given to the women after birth.

BlueStockings Jan 2023 cropped

photo credit - Blue Stockings Society

Ladies, I am excited to introduce you all to SafetyCurtain, an international charitable trust that I have been a trustee of since 2019. SafetyCurtain is dedicated to providing small grants, usually less than $1,200 (around £970), to struggling actors outside of the UK. Our small grants help with essential living costs and personal medical bills to assist those living in war zones, extreme poverty or exposed to political conflict.

SafetyCurtain stands side by side with performers in the toughest places in the world.

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