Meeting 14th August 2006, 11am
Liz Kearney, Steven Renshaw
Notes prepared prior to meeting by Liz Kearney, on behalf of herself, Jo Spitzner and Ellie Harrison.
1.There are a lot of misunderstandings and confusion about the project, which need to be cleared up.
2. Firstly, Jo, Ellie and I are trying to work with you, we’re not trying to antagonise you or create bad feeling. We are all engaging with the project and want it to be good.
3. We do recognise, however, that recent developments have put you in a difficult position and, for a variety of reasons, progress has halted and frustration is being felt by all.
4. As you know, we are three very different people who were responding to this project in our own way. We all happened to experience difficulty in finding a job and this seemed to take the project in a different direction to that originally intended. This is where the problems started:
5. We decided to use each other as much as we needed, for mutual support and to develop the content of our responses by talking through our ideas.
6. During one of these conversations, we mentioned unions and the role they play for workers in jobs like the ones we are trying to engage with on this project. We played out various scenarios, in a fun and almost frivolous way. We sat thinking of zany names, characters and activities, never really imagining that it would go any further.
7. As the project went on, all three of us began to feel that actually, there might be something interesting in this idea, so long as it was done in the right way.
8. We developed an idea between us, that in order to provide a framework for the remainder of the project that helped and supported the project (and hopefully prevented further breakdown in communication) we would create a union (UUA), with an email address and a name that we could all access and use to communicate with you about all aspects of the project. We created Tina Gurley Flynn (in the spirit of ‘Mark Smith’), named after Elizabeth Gurley Flynn if the International Workers of the World, who would be all of us as and when we needed to be her or to use her. This was not supposed to stop us communicating with you personally and maybe we didn’t make it clear why we were unionising – we thought you may not like it, but it was quite subversive and playful, yet capable of exploring complex ideas about work. It also seemed in line with your desire to be ‘undercover’.
9. We need to make it clear why we set up the UUA:
10. The email conversation has been muddled and confusing, particularly because you say you didn’t read all the initial emails. It has come to a crisis point where communication has broken down and this conversation is the first step in resolving these difficulties. I stress again, we are all keen to make this project work.
11. During the last few weeks, we have all come to the realisation that the UUA, it’s website, it’s communication, everything about it in this context, is the work. This is our response to your project. We have collaborated and we want to submit the UUA to you for the publication and any other dissemination of the project. This is for various reasons:
12. We are all after the same thing, challenge, critical dialogue, and to feel that we have something to say and a way of saying it.
13. However, we feel that it is imperative that you see what the work is, and take us, and the UUA, seriously, as a piece of work, an idea.
14. We recognise that you have been very busy, no email at home, preferring to talk rather than email etc, and we apologise if we have been heavy handed at times. But you have opened the door for ‘anything to happen’ and we urge you to think this through and see what positive and exciting things are going on within this project, and allow us to do the job you are contracting us to do.