I can not express to you how important this is to me. I vote in my local council elections I vote in the General elections. The impact Equity Elections has on me is far more immediate. This year the Committee's are being elected. Next year, in 2020 the biennial cycle of Equity's democracy comes full circle with the election of the Council.
Online community, digital curating. YouTube subscription, Instagram Stories. Blogging and giveaways, Facebook page groups... these are few of my favourite thing!
I love digital. Mobile computing is just... I think my younger self would approve. I like augmented analogue just as much. Being able to fuse the modern and the traditional tends to bring a greater sense of satisfaction from the resulting manifestation be it event, artwork or life lesson.
and yes Brown paper packages tied up with string... these are a few of my favourite things.
Last month I ran a giveaway in the Equity Online Branch with 10 Equity branded torches. Entering to win one was simple. Visit the Online Branch Chat Room, locate the Torch Giveaway chat thread and add your name to the comments. To some, it may seem trivial but in the absence of a marketing or development budget (all Equity branches are run my member committees and not financed by EquityHQ) building the Online Branch through small acts of curiosity is the epic battle of engagement at zero cost. Why? Believe me, I often ask myself that very question. The Union that provided a foundation for contractual stability in many of the jobs I have undertaken over the years, I want to give back.
I also want to keep moving forward. New horizons are opening up where the old traditions start to encompass the new media while new continues to innovate and find ways to demand our creativity before the mainstream catches up and negotiates contractual situations and conditions.
Equity's online branch is an exercise in monitoring digital adoptions. Who can, who can't, who will and who won't. The organisation is the attraction and the communication platforms and engagement option have to accommodate the members. The most effective and cost effective don't always align. Multichannel, multi media, most accessible are different in many cases. Building a holistic community from a multitude of networks is an evolving process requirement cross platform teams with a central hub. In theatre, this is the production office serviced predominantly my stagemanagement.
In theatre, this is the production office serviced predominantly my stagemanagement.
Who is your stagemanager?
Are you familiar with the role of stagemanagement?
What is the equivalent department that looks after cross departmental communication, resource acquisition and distribution?
When this is a topic for another post.
The last giveaway back in February was, I hope you'll agree, a bit of fun and certainly brought new members into the branch. It also reminded me that the branch has international members too who are a long way from home.
This time it's for TEN Equity torches. These branded torches were taken to Glastonbury to and handed out to members performing who visited the Equity 'tent'. I managed to get TEN so here we are with another giveaway. Same as before visit the Online Branch Chat Room thread set up for the giveaway and add your name in the comments.
It's as simple as that.
Several of the London Branches have held a series of Hustings events providing an opportunity for committee election candidates to share their perspectives on why they want to stand and as an opportunity for members who are voting to meet the candidates seeking support in getting them elected.
It's an Equity Election. This time it's for members who are going to represent us on the various Equity Committees. There are Industrial, Specialist, Diversity and Regional Committees where candidates have put themselves forward with the intention of giving you a voice and to forward their own agenda to make the industry a better place to work in from their point of view.
Within Equity, every member is assigned to a constitutional register. Members can select additional registers where they feel the information communicated to those registers would be me professionally advantageous.
Then there are committees. All the registers are represented by one of the committees.
Here is a list of the constitutional registers.
The First Equity Online Branch Goodies Give Away
Equity Members are active on Facebook and Twitter. Many members also have Linkedin profiles. There are other professional networks such as Spotlight, Casting Call Pro or Stage Jobs Pro. Visiting the Online Branch you will always know you are connecting directly with fellow members. From the feedback we have received, that factor is very important to those who have joined. For others for whatever reason don't use Facebook or Twitter.
In the Ensemble Facebook Group recently (a fabulous group for industry professionals working in musical theatre), a member suggested Equity make logo pin badges for members to wear with pride to champion our allegiance to our union. As an annual representative conference (ARC) attendee for several years, I delight in my ownership of such a badge handed out to representatives on registration. I wear mine proudly on my coat lapel.
Members can visit Equity's HQ, Guild House in London and request one but they are not 'merch for purchase'. Not everyone is in central London, it's a major reason why the online branch was conceived. After the recent meeting taking me to head office, I requested some pin badges to give away in a small initiative to encourage Equity Members to opt into the branch and to give existing members a call to action. Drop by, say Hi.
So would you like to be entered into the draw? Here's how it works.
- Drop by the online branch, visit the Chat Room thread called - The First Equity OLB Goodies Give Away and post your name in the comments.
- 10 names will be drawn at random from the list of names after midnight on 19th Feb
- If your name is the first selected from those who log-in and post their name, a parcel will be sent to you with the items in the photo.
- Nine further Online Branch Members from the list will receive pin badges and Equity pens.
If you are an Equity advocate, council member, branch chair, secretary or PRO feel free to share even copy and paste this to send to members. Get in touch if you'd like to run something similar. This is a direct link to the Chat Room Thread http://bit.ly/olbgga01
This post appeared first in the Equity Online Branch's Chat Room - written by ME :)
This time last year the online branch working party were making the final preparations for the Online Branch to enter its 6-mth open to all pilot.
We finally opened our digital doors on March 1st [article in The Stage LINK] and following the 6-months period which ended in August 2016 we presented a report on our progress to the September meeting of the Equity Council.
From the conclusion of that meeting and the consequent press releases, [article in The Stage LINK] we have been an official Equity General Branch and open for business. In accordance with the branch's rules, we held an election for a committee and before 2016 closed we scheduled the very first Online Branch Committee Video Meeting.
The 2016 - 2018 committee are
- George Callander
- Clifford Lee Evans
- Caron Jane Lyon << Moderator / Chair
- Helen Raw
- Rhubarb the Clown
- Nana St Bartholomew-Brown
- Paul Valentine << Public Relations Officer (PRO)
The nature of the forum facilities we have in the branch (a long and different story) means every conversation appears in the main chat room in chronological order based on the last comment posted. Some topics have a lot of attention (and controversy) and others fell silent after a few members viewed and the subject didn't find traction. To begin the new year I thought it a good idea to perform some housekeeping.
ADDITIONAL FOR THIS POST
As the Moderator and Chair of the branch keeping an active relevant dialogue in the chatroom is a challenge. Facebook Pages and Twitter Accounts are numerous across the Equity membership catering for many interests, The Ensemble Musical Theatre and Tape for Self Tape Facebook groups being two very active digital communities for working entertainment industry professionals. They are easy to access, well frequented and tends to be where the day to day, industry focused dialogue with fellow professionals takes place. Not everyone is in the Facebook club and everyone is at different networks staged of thier career.
Greetings PCM Adventurers (I've just posted this update to the Equity (unofficial) Green Room, a social network hosted on Ning to provide the social networking opportunities not currently present as part of the EquityUK official members area)
I love green rooms like I enjoy railway stations. They are full of purpose and intent but provide stasis and space to prepare. Waiting for action is the purpose of the occupation. Do you feel similar about green room spaces? or train stations for that matter?
Unexpectedly however social media networks like Facebook and Twitter do not make me feel this way. In fact I experience alarming levels of anxiety on occasions but its not a reflection on digital engagement but the chaos those platforms contain.
The online spaces I work to create have the green rooms and railway stations sentiment in mind when in development.
Where do you spend time 'comfortably' online? (responses in the comments please)
1. The Online Branch is up and running. It is open as a pilot welcoming all Equity members. We have until the end of August to let it run free! Its unique features are its human enacted moderation and the architecture developed to support the proposal and progression of motions. The first motion to pass through the Branch has been about the Housing Crisis.
- Opening discussion in the Chat Room prior to the motion's proposal [LINK]
- Formal Motion Debate (Comments tab) [LINK]
- Amendment propositions and discussion (Amendment tab) [LINK]
A second motion has been tabled today called The "Equity 'Special Attention' List - Can it be used to better effect?" This started off as a chat room thread back in February by Ian Seale, [LINK TO CHAT THREAD] and was transposed in to a motion during the Housing Crisis motion mentioned above.
Are you an Equity member?
2. Equity's Annual Representative's Conference is this weekend.
What is ARC? Annual Representative Conference (ARC).
This takes place every year, usually in the Spring. It is normally held in London for two years running and then in a different part of the country (the members choose, this year it is being held in Bristol), and is the opportunity for the Council and Representatives from the committees and branches to come together to propose and debate union policy, as well as move forward the work of the union.
Decisions that are passed at the ARC with a two thirds majority are binding on the union and become policy. Representatives are elected and the conference usually lasts for 2 days with the agenda being broken down into debates on Recorded Media, Live Performance, Union Structure, Equality, Health and Safety, Communications and Membership Services.
Members who are not involved in a committee or branch but would like to attend the ARC can come as an Observer. Information about how to get a place is always published in the spring issue of the Equity Magazine.
3... finally for this update The Stagemanagers' Guide to Buyouts Booklet
On Friday 29th January 2016 Equity's Stagemanagement Committee hosted an open meeting to discuss the issue of buyout contracts discussing...
- What’s good about them?
- What’s bad about them?
- What can Equity do about them?
- What can you do about them?
I'd like to share this with you the resulting prepared for print booklet.
Its not just for Stagemanagers. Check it out.
Thank you for reading this update.
Readers of the blog please let me know if you like these live performance industry updates in the comments.
Open Meeting - Buy Out Contracts - with attending online option
On Friday 29th January 2016 Equity's Stagemanagement Committee are holding an open meeting inviting stagemanagers (Equity membership not necessary) to join a discussion about buyout contacts, our understanding and their impact on our profession. Integrated in to the London meeting at Equity's offices there will be a video link up opportunity if you are unable to attend geographically. The video link up is being organised and hosted by SM committee member and Online Branch moderator Caron Lyon using the "Online Branch Video Room".
The video room can facilitate up to 8 people/connections and places can be reserved on Evenbrite here >> http://bit.ly/olbsjpetckt
- What’s good about them?
- What’s bad about them?
- What can Equity do about them?
- What can you do about them?
Equity's current BuyOut guidelines document (drafted in 2011, document reformatted 2015)
The meeting will take place in The Council Room, Guild House, Upper St Martin’s Lane, WC2H 9EG and is open to all stage management. Come along, have your say and find out about the work Equity and the Stage Management Committee are doing around the issue of buyout contracts.
If you would like to join the meeting using the online video room please reserve your ticket and the Online Branch Chair & Moderator, Caron Lyon will get in touch. Caron is also a member of the Stagemanagement Committee and will be hosting this online event from the meeting in Equity's Guild House head quarters in London.
If you would like to attend in person, please email email@example.com
Book ASAP if you'd like to attend via the video link up from where ever you are. There are only 8 seats/connections available in the online video room.
Technical Requirements to attend the video link.
- Web browser on any desktop, laptop or mobile devise - Chrome, Firefox or Opera (The video room uses appear.in)
- Internet, 3G or 4G access
- mic for audio
- webcam if you want to be seen
We are all familiar with work and its lovely if it comes hand in hand with pay but 'life' and 'balance' are trickier beasts to lure. Have you had your future changed by the career path you chose? Do you have children? Did children never happen? Did you ever think children would be part of your future? Has having children changed the way you are perceived in the work place? On 28th September Equity hosted a meeting to discuss the event and the new campaign. From the table discussions its seems certainly a YES that many parents are seen differently post child arrival.
LEFT: photo taken from a remote access location showing the view of the online host.
Providing attendance options other than traveling to venues, especially for meetings that take as long to travel to as the event duration itself is a digital reality with the state of current social technology right now.
As an advocate of 'making good use of the things that I find' hence my other online persona; The Social Media Womble, it is Google's suit of apps that holds great promise especially for collaboration and cross compatibility of most existing mobile and desktop technology hardware.
Google Hangout is Google's video chat and meeting app. For the PIPA Equity Info meeting this facilitated 2 connections with 9 participants (7 at the venue and 2 remote connection visible just within the shaded lower title box in the photo to the left)
Over the last year I've hosted Hangout to run along side Equity events and meeting as well as a series of sessions called 'Meet The Moderator' inviting Online Branch members to login and share their hopes, frustrations and expectations regarding Equity's online and digital offering in an attempt to conceptually establish an online spacial presence where members can meet and connect both socially and for industry sector knowledge insights.
Can we let go of our physical necessity to attribute meaningful experiences to 'being there'? Can we envisage participating remotely with each person being physically located not where the experience is unfolding and recognise the collective propinquity of 'taking part'? Is the disappointment of not being somewhere or the envy of physical experience a human factor we can ever over come?
I proposed a remote audience access option where this Hangout (see photo above) was part. After all the nature of parenting often exclude mums and dads from attending events directly because of childcare responsibilities. The mind set of the venue technical staff closed down the possibility of this being realised at the launch on the 16th resulting from the misleading self determination of the potential of modern social technology provision offered by practitioners such as myself.
I have host live theatre livestream with chat rooms running and been delighted to discuss with viewers the experience of one lady watching theatre while stroking her cat sleeping on her knee, And a couple watching from home with their newborn sleeping soundly. These audience experiences touch me deeply and as a theatre practitioner audience stories in the age of social are what drives every social media platform from Twitter and Facebook to Yelp and YouTube.
It is all to easy to focus of capacity for box office break even but what about the reason we create and perform? To entertain and inform. As a technical arts practitioner and stagemanager I delight in providing access being to the suspension of disbelief on stage with props, lighting or sound to the facility to open the production doors wider than ever before and welcome in the digital viewers and provide more than marketing or web design but a hosted social experience where attending from home or remotely organised satellite event can be as meaningful and being a 'bum on a seat'.
PIPA - Parents in the Performing Arts Campaign Launch
16th October at Young Vic Theatre, London
Equity Childcare Motion at TUC 2015: http://www.pipacampaign.com/equity-childcare-motion/