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What tools do we need as art workers and as a society to create solidarity and hospitable spaces for working and living?

We continue the series of online workshops as we explore the arts sector as a working environment. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the pitfalls and risks of this particularly precarious field have become even more stark. Workshop participants will explore how competition and individual success can be replaced as guiding principles of art and discourse production by solidarity and forms of togetherness. The goal is to discuss and promote the founding and development of a ‘union des refusés’.

This desire for a trade union for art workers can be traced back to earlier ideas about collectivity and a public dimension in the arts, in line with a Marxist conception of society. When the ‘salons des refusés’ in France and the art associations in Germany emerged in the 19th century, they paved the way for the interest groups of international modernity in the 20th century. Arts of the Working Class draws on these experiences of community to set up a trade union for the provision of mutual help and support, developed in collaboration with international artists and thinkers, experts and amateurs. Art workers all over the world are invited to share their privileges and concerns within a not-for-profit organization for emotional, political and financial exchange, which aims to leave capitalist pressures and patterns behind.

Friday, November 20, 5 – 7 pm
with Magdalena Jadwiga Härtelova

In the first session we want to define categories so that together we can negotiate this ‘union des refuses’. We will define what tools we need as art workers and as a society to create solidarity and spaces for working and living that are breeding grounds for art and community.

Saturday, November 21, 5 – 7 pm
with Loren Britton, Jonas Staal

The concepts of ‘care’ and ‘accountability’ must be rethought. On day 2 politically necessary changes for solidarity in the art world will be formulated. Where do we begin in order to take care of others and ourselves?

Sunday, November 22, 5 – 7 pm
with Chiara Di Leone & Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou

Democracy means, at least within the creative society of the Art Workers Internationale, to take on the question of class. On this day we focus on the bureaucratic procedures and economic alternatives for a social and just working environment for art.

An invitation to the zoom meeting and text material will be sent via email. Please register at

The workshops are a continuation of a joint negotiation that begun in three workshop sessions from November 10th to 12th at the Akademie der Künste der Welt.

More information here.

Image: Artists Union members picketing, image via Art Work


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  • Anthony Padgett 22 Dec 2020 21:00 (6 months ago)

    hi, sorry I missed your sessions. Please visit for information on the artists union working in England.

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