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Annual Report 2020 The Work Room | Annual Report 2020


Introduction As we stepped into 2020, we had no idea of the challenges that lay ahead. COVID-19 has changed our world and how we live. It has also brought to the surface systemic inequalities. For more than half of the past year, our studio at Tramway - our working space for dance artists - has been inaccessible. The closure of the building and the pausing of our studio residency programme has most acutely impacted the independent artists who are our members: reducing access to the space used to work, develop projects and sustain a living in dance. As theatres stay closed and there are no live performances, many freelancers are facing substantial, long-term financial stress and an uncertain future. Along with this, there is the mental strain of a cycle of cancellation, postponements and re-scheduling that is leading many to question the viability of a dance career.


The Work Room | Annual Report 2020

This has brought into sharp focus The Work Room's mission to support a sustainable environment for independent dance artists working in Scotland. Our response has sought to provide both practical support and advocacy for independent dance artists through this crisis. During 2020 … while some Work Room members have found ways to continue their dance practice during lockdown - at home and online - many have not; while some Work Room members have been paid for this work - many have not; all our members had their practice curtailed, unable to gather together, perform and share with audiences.

The Work Room’s own financial position has been relatively stable through our Creative Scotland funding and support from Glasgow Life. Through the year we have reconfigured budgets and drawn on our reserves to focus our resources in supporting independent dance artists.

The Work Room will endeavor to root care across our work and to be a strong advocate in amplifying the voice, agency and influence of independent dance artists.

Choreography is a craft of care To think and feel and move and be through practice How do we care When care is hard We must care harder

Looking to the future, our ability to be agile, generous and working with empathy, will be critical as we play a role in the recovery of the performing arts. In June this year, Claire Cunningham and Luke Pell gave a presentation that set out the values that will be needed to rebuild and repair as we move beyond COVID-19.

The Work Room | Annual Report 2020


Our Story The Work Room (TWR) is an artist-led organisation, committed to supporting a sustainable environment for independent artists working in dance, movement and choreography in Scotland. TWR was established by a group of independent dance artists in 2008 and our membership model seeks to foster a community of artists active in the independent dance sector in Scotland. Our mission is to empower artists to lead in their practice, enabling them to make high quality, intelligent, pioneering dance for diverse, contemporary contexts at home and internationally. The values that underpin our work are:



Experimentation 3

The Work Room | Annual Report 2020

Remembering Rosina The death of Rosina Bonsu in February 2020 was heart-breaking for many. Rosina was at the very heart of the dance community in Scotland. She was part of the group of artists who established The Work Room in 2008 and was instrumental in nurturing the dance scene in Glasgow over many years through her own work and with Dance House. Rosina was a pioneer in dance and her loss is felt deeply.

Our Membership We currently have a membership in excess of 200 independent artists working in dance, movement and choreography in Scotland. We took the immediate decision in March 2020, as we moved into lockdown to suspend membership fees in recognition of the financial impact of the pandemic on our members.

We are grateful to all those who have been involved in working groups throughout 2020 across our programme and projects: Rosanna Irvine, Ashanti Harris, Jim Manganello, Jen Paterson,

Keeping in touch and regular communication with our community has been at the heart of how we have adapted out programme and service. We have followed a number of different strategies, endeavouring to responding to individual circumstances. We have continued to send out a regular monthly newsletter with updates around the organisation, industry information, collated opportunities and resources for our members.

Lucy Ireland, Carol MacGregor,

As an artists-led organisation, the priorities of our members direct our programme and policies. Our model seeks to build a culture of responsibility and accountability across our membership. Our selection processes are peer-assessed with decisions taken by working groups of members.

Emily Nicholl, Aby Watson,

Suzi Cunningham, Skye Reynolds, Kirstin Halliday, Luke Pell, Lewis Sherlock, Hannah Wright, Kate E Deeming, Claricia Parinussa, Jack Webb, Monika Smekot, Aniela Marian Piasecka, Louise Ahl, Lucas Chih-Peng Kao, Sara Kemal, Tony Mills.

The Work Room | Annual Report 2020


Artists residencies & research Most years, the focus of our work is choreographic residencies at our purpose-built studio space within Glasgow’s Tramway. In early 2020, we hosted 10 weeks of residencies before the building closed and this paused. Bursary payments to artists who had residencies cancelled was honoured and we are continuing to work with people to reschedule these. Some artists used this to undertake research at home adapting to new ways of collaborating, sharing and creating. Following the reopening of the Tramway building in October, we restarted our studio residency programme with adapted residency offerings for solo and same household artists to return to studio practice and project development. Sadly, the return to lockdown at the beginning of 2021, has once again closed our studio.


The Work Room | Annual Report 2020

Artists in residence in 2020 included: Sarah Hopfinger, Louise Ahl, Penny Chivas & Paul Michael Henry, Jen Paterson, Janice Parker, Hanna Tuulikki, Thomas J. Baylis, Project X, Aniela Marian Piasecka, Natasha Gilmore & Barrowland Ballet, Laura Bradshaw, Tony Mills, Jim Manganello & Lucy Ireland, Pete Lannon, Anna Porubcansky, Malcolm Sutherland, Sara Gordon, Gillian Lees & Adam York Gregory.

For Now Bursaries

Artist Research Bursaries

As part of our initial response, in April we put in place For Now Bursaries, as emergency support for those within our community most in need due to loss of earnings. These were no strings attached, one off financial bursaries of up to £500 for members who had lost work due to COVID-19 and were facing immediate financial challenges. Utilising finance from our reserves, 23 bursaries totalling £8030 were made.

In the Autumn, we put in place a programme of Artists Research Bursaries, recognising that returning to studio practice would not be possible for some people. The awarded bursaries support 12 artists across 10 projects, with flexible, remote research time to sustain and deepen their artistic practice with priority given to members who currently experience barriers to returning to studio practice including those with underlying health conditions, disabilities and caring responsibilities. Artists Research Bursary recipients were: Kate E Deeming, Amy Rosa,

The ability to work over a longer period of time -

Aya Kobayashi & Monika Smekot,

one or two days a week over a few weeks allowed

Lesley Howard & Clare Adam,

the ideas to formulate and develop differently and

Elaine Kordys, Emma Jayne Park,

more deeply.

Stephanie Arsoska, Vee Smith.

Jian Yi, Clarinda Tse,

The Work Room | Annual Report 2020


Partnerships & Projects In 2020 we continued our work with a number of partner organisations. While some of these have needed to be paused and rescheduled, we remain committed to working collaboratively to create opportunities for dance artists. Claricia Parinussa was selected for our residency partnership with Chisenhale Dance Space in London. With the intention of developing Claricia’s project, sendiri, and initially scheduled for June 2020, we are hopeful this will now take place in 2021. Our residencies with Cove Park support choreographers to develop new dimensions in their practice, through time with collaborators from other disciplines were awarded to Monika Smekot and Suzi Cunningham.These will now take place in 2021. While the Merchant City Festival was cancelled, we have maintained our partnership through supporting artists Tony Mills and Jian Yi to undertake research & development on new projects for outdoor, public spaces.


The Work Room | Annual Report 2020

In light of cancelling their 2020 festival, Imaginate launched an Ideas Fund to support artists to develop interesting ideas to inspire children and families who were off school. We came on board as a partner in this and Work Room members Suzi Cunningham & Alex McCabe and Niamh O’Loughlin were supported to develop projects through this. Moving Out 2020 is a partnership with Tramway, CityMoves & Dance North. Through this we supported 3 artist-led outdoor projects in their own neighbourhoods wherever they live across Scotland. Dance artists Divine Tasinda (Glasgow), Jenna Corker (Edinburgh), Julia McGhee (Inver, Highlands) are developing projects that will be shared in their neighbourhoods in 2021. We are continuing our partnership with Project X recognizing their leadership in working towards a dance sector in Scotland inclusive of Black and People of Colour and in championing dance from the African & Caribbean diaspora.

In partnership with Barrowland Ballet, our Graduate Dance Artists programme for 2020/21 is supporting 5 recent dance graduates with mentoring, membership & access to professional classes. Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities: we are an industry partner on a Creative Economies PhD along with Cove Park and The Bothy Project. The research, hosted by Glasgow University working with Glasgow School of Art is being undertaken by Morag Iles and is investigating the impact of artists’ residencies.

Alongside these partnership projects, our staff team have met regularly throughout the year with colleagues from other organisations to support and inform our approach to the pandemic. This has included with other regularly funded dance organisations in Scotland, through Federation of Scottish Theatre and the UK-wide National Dance Network.

We have been selected as one of 50 host organisations across the UK for the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries and will be recruiting an early career Dance Artist for 2021/21.

The Work Room | Annual Report 2020


The research bursary allowed me to continue working within the community but also within the limitations of the time we are living. Because of this I feel like my practice has evolved, working

partially online has enabled me to expand to work

We were able to undertake our time as planned however due to Covid we had to adapt and accept a slightly more modest use of the time. Focus

in a deeper way…

shifted from a production mindset to a looser In my practice it felt like a relief to be in the studio. For the most part being able to just walk away from the reality of running a company and get focused

research one.

in within our group and the space. The studio and the setting really helps with this.


The Work Room | Annual Report 2020

Artists Support & Members Activity Our Arts Practice programme is a place for discussion, advice, support and guidance. We have continued with this in 2020, adapting to online delivery and developing new channels of support in response to issues artists face during the pandemic. At the beginning of lockdown, we introduced The Work Room Socials, as a regular online and informal space for members to connect and exchange thoughts through sharing and discussion. Our approach through the socials and our wider programme, has been to invite member to propose and lead activities, encouraging peer-support and shared learning.

The programme included: Testing: Invigorate; a peer-support programme exploring participatory dance practice; Welcome to Our Space; a webinar hosted in partnership with National Dance Network foregrounding the practices of disabled dance artists; Advice surgeries with guest specialists funding, bookkeeping, marketing as well as 1-2-1 Talk it Through sessions with TWR staff team; Recovery & Re-Imagining; a forum for the dance community in partnership with FST; Regular professional contemporary class programme with Barrowland Ballet adapted in the Autumn to outdoor classes in the Hidden Gardens at Tramway, enabling dancers to continue training. Across 2020 we held 58 events related to this activity with a total attendance of 680 artists over the various events. The Work Room | Annual Report 2020


International Working Despite the travel restrictions in 2020, we remain committed to bringing and international perspective to our work and seeking to be a meeting point for local and international artists to nurture the development of new ideas. In March 2020, before the Europe locked down, the final phase our collaboration with Tanzbüro München, took place in Munich, to coincide with Tanzplattform. Meeting Points, brought together Munich-based artists Ceren Oran and Sahra Huby with TWR members Rob Heaslip and Tamsyn Russell. With support from the British Council and Goethe Institute, the project created a space for sharing practice and exchange.


We also participating in IETM’s multi-location Autumn plenary meeting in October, as hosts in Scotland; one of 23 locations across the world.

The perfect combination for 4 artists reaching across borders

We are part of Keðja (a network of dance organisations across Nordic & Baltic countries) and IETM (international network for contemporary performing arts) and had anticipated working with both these networks in 2020. While these could not go ahead in their expected format, we continued to cultivate international working while adapting to limited mobility. We contributed to an on-line Keðja event, STRE-TCH in August with artists from The Work Room leading a session informed by conversations with artists from other countries in the network reflecting on their experiences during the pandemic and re-imaging a sustainable future for dance.

in these times when lines on a map are getting heavier and heavier.

The Work Room | Annual Report 2020

Towards Equality, Diversity and Inclusion The Work Room relishes the responsibility to ensure that an expansive range of artists and artistic practices are visible and supported. Our vision is rooted a belief that dance resonates when it is reflecting and engaging with, the diversity of our communities. This past year has shone a light on structural inequalities and the Black Lives Matter movement has heightened awareness of racial discrimination across society. Our staff and board of directors have embarked on a programme of anti-racist work. We are educating ourselves on racism, challenging our prejustices and reviewing The Work Room’s ways of working, as we commit to an anti-racist practice. We recognise our responsibility to dismantle the systems that up-hold racism in our organisation and throughout the dance sector.

We are developing our understanding of the intersectional relationship between racism, disability, mental health and socio-economic background. As a host organisation for the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursary programme, The Work Room is part of an 18 month long organisational development programme focused on inclusion, diversity and embedding cultural change. COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on those who are often marginalised. In our response, including through the Artist Research Bursaries, we have prioritised those who face discrimination and additional barriers.

The Work Room | Annual Report 2020


Finance and Funding In August 2019 we became recognised as a charity by OSCR, with the year 2019/ 20 being our first year of financial reporting in this context. Our turnover in 2019/20 was £199,080. We received £150,000 in regular funding from Creative Scotland and £3000 from Glasgow City Council. Our biggest expenditure was on residencies and artist programme (£80,596) and staffing & associated costs (£67,108).

Since April 2015, The Work Room has been a Regularly Funded Organisation of Creative Scotland which provides a secure funding base from which the organisation’s core programme can be delivered by the staff team. The Work Room is gifted our studio by Glasgow Life and is supported with office space in kind at Tramway. This relationship is vital to the achievements of the organisation and continues to be key to our success. The Work Room is committed to having an amount equivalent to at least 3 months running costs held as a reserve and at the Year End 31 March 2020, our reserves sat at £74,545. In response to COVID-19, the board committed £15,000 from reserves towards For Now Bursaries and the Artists Research Bursaries programme.


The Work Room | Annual Report 2020

INCOME (£199,080: Total)

EXPENDITURE: (£189,740: Total)

£150,000 Creative Scotland RFO (75.3%)

£80,010 Programme (42.2%)

£27,500 Studio and Office (in-kind) (13.8%)

£67,110 Salaries and on-costs (35.3%)

£11,830 Grants & Fundraising (5.9%)

£26,950 Studio & Maintenance (14.2%)

£3360 Membership Fees (1.7%)

£15,670 Operational Costs (8.3%)

£3000 Glasgow City Council (1.5%) £2930 Other Earned Income (1.5)% £460 Individual Giving (Beyond) (0.2%)

The Work Room | Annual Report 2020


People The Work Room staff team Anita Clark: Sara Johnstone:

Director Membership & Studio Manager

Laura Fisher undertook a six month, part-time producer placement through FST from January – June and has continued to work with us in a freelance capacity. The Work Room board in 2020 Kally Lloyd Jones – Chair David Kelly Saffy Setohy Dr Michael Bachmann Michael Lewis Emma Jayne Park Joy Parkinson (joined in March 2020) Helen McIntosh (joined in March 2020)

Design + illustration: Brian Hartley

The Work Room Tramway 25 Albert Drive Glasgow G41 2PE 0141 423 3864

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The Work Room Annual Report 2020  

The Work Room Annual Report 2020  


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