Networking, Contracts and Wine

Rochelle and Damian Whiskey a.k.a. the Midnight Robber at the reception for ACP artists.
Damian Whiskey a.k.a. the Midnight Robber surprises attendees at the reception for ACP artists in Edinburgh, Scotland. Also pictured: Rochelle and her wine.

It’s day two of the World Cultures Connect program here at the #edfringe2016 and so far so good. Our hosts, Visiting Arts, ACP Cultures+.EU held a networking reception in honour of the representatives from Malawi, Ethiopia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga and of course, T&T. Let me premise this by saying that I am awful at networking. Like many people, I find it difficult to sell myself without sounding ridiculous. Which is why I was quite relieved to see a lovely table at the back of the room with some liquid courage on it. A glass of wine is good for the nerves, although self-control is the name of the game; it’s not a free drinks fete. Once I caught myself, I met a Trini-born Public Arts Officer, a Creative Producer of Jamaican heritage and lots of others who I had more in common with than I could have ever expected. It’s easy to be intimidated by a room full of well-established, foreign cultural professionals, but it’s less intimidating once you realise you’re in a room with other human beings. And that alone should be enough of an ice-breaker.

All in all it was a lovely reception, especially because it’s not often that cultural professionals from developing countries are honoured. In fact, many artists are not even acknowledged for their work, which was a hot topic at the Arts and Law Conference which followed at Scottish law firm Anderson Strathern.   If any of the presenters at that conference are reading this, let me just say, well done. We asked some tough questions- like meta-analysis, North-South divide level questions, yet we received some useful advice on issues like; How can artists protect their work online? How does trademark work? (I truly had no idea) How can you file for damages if someone in another country steals your art? Is it too late to patent the steelpan? (it is). I can ramble on, but the major take away was that as artists and cultural workers, we need to empower ourselves with policy, CONTRACTS CONTRACTS CONTRACTS and other tools to ensure that we are treated as the professionals we are. Speaking of professionals, I must be off to another meeting but thank you for reading all the way to the end. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post as I document the T&T delegation to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016 all week. Bless up.

Rochelle Amour is an independent, non-fiction writer who is part of the current T&T delegation to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016. She will be live-posting the event. Follow her on Twitter @rochelleamour for updates.