Considerations for care of myself and others when making art

I’ve been thinking about writing this down for a while after conversations I had a few years ago with Sister Sister (Clare Thornton, Molly Rooke, Rachel Dobbs, Beth Emily Richards and Hannah Rose), Rory Pilgrim, and workshops and talks by Rosalie Schweiker and Ria Hartley at the soul feeding Jamboree 2018. Over the last two years these considerations have grown and been nurtured through conversation and collaboration with Eleni Wittbrodt and Claire Curtin. It was through talking with the Glasgow LUX critical forum group ( Natsumi Sakamoto, Saoirse Wall, Maria de Lima, Gemma Jones, Ilona Kacieja, Laura Leuzzi, Lucy Cash) that kicked my butt into actually writing stuff down. Thanks pals!

What am I making? *

Does this idea/opportunity reflect my values?
Does it give space and time to questions and thoughts that matter to me?
Am I making it to suit a brief/ instagram post/ someone else's framework?

* Guided by Rachel Dobbs Precarious Workers Self Care Checklist and Sheila Ghelani’s Checklist of Care

Working relationships

Are the parameters of this relationship clear?
Is it a:

  • Collaboration (shared ownership of idea, development, and production)
  • Monetary Exchange or Skill Swap (knowledge/skill/labour in exchange for money or non monetary swap)
  • Gift of knowledge or experience (sharing of knowledge, experiences, or stories for free)

When I’m making work from someone’s gift of knowledge or experience is there an agreed plan in place to show them the development of the work?
Have we articulated our expectations from this relationship?
If someone doesn’t want their image/ words to be in the work how do I remove it?
Am I exploiting someone’s trust?

How am I crediting other people?
Have we made a contract?

Access statements and general info for better working

Have I sent these/ have I asked them?

  • Access requirements to participate in person and/or online**
  • Invisible impairments
  • Care responsibilities
  • Pronouns
  • Working hours
  • Preferred meeting platform/ location
  • Topics/ people/ places that might affect mental wellbeing

** Refer to Johanna Hedva’s disability rider


How does my privilege affect the work I am making?
Am I the right person to make this work?
Am I exploiting someone’s lived experience/ account/ trauma to make art?
Am I misrepresenting or not recognising racial injustice, colonialism, or white supremacy in this work?
Is my voice overshadowing someone else’s in this work or group?


Can I make this work more accessible?
Are the following included in my video?

  • Captions ***
  • Audio description****

What resources and knowledge do I need to improve the accessibility of my work?
Is the venue I’m using accessible, if not can I use another one?

*** Stage Text has good resources for captioning
**** Refer to VocalEyes

Working within an organisation/ institution/ funding body

Do they share my values?
Are they proactive about creating inclusive spaces, opportunities, and teams?
What is their policy about paying artists?
Do they give contracts to all staff and freelancers?
Do they have realistic expectations about what can be realised within the time and budget restrictions?
Will I challenge something if I feel uncomfortable?

Resilience *****

Is the production of my work reliant on capitalism and if so how do I make it less reliant?
Can I share and swap my resources, knowledge, and skills to create and support the resilience of my co-workers, collaborators, friends, and community?
What is the environmental impact of this work?

***** The need and how to shape change through collective working and thinking is shaped by adrienne maree brown’s inspiring book Emergent Strategy

Checking in

Have I got time, energy, and space to reflect and be critical about this work?
Have we set checkpoints for care during our work together?
Can we hang out and drink coffee together?
Can we meet in person?