As the art world considers the different ways that artists can be supported now and into the future, it can also be helpful to look to the past for successful models.
When we interviewed fiscally sponsored project PeepMe about the cooperative platform they are creating for and by sex workers, they mentioned that they had in their operating guidelines an “Exit to Community.” We had never heard of the concept before but after they explained it to us, we’ve been mulling the idea over in our minds. Inspired by PeepMe, we’re sharing an introduction to Exit to Community, or E2C, in the hopes that it can help others think more broadly about how businesses, collaborative projects, and other ventures can be organized more equitably.
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The life of a freelancer is a precarious one. There are periods of feast and famine, confusing taxes, and the chasing down of vendors to pay on time (or at all). There is the constant hunt for gigs, which could cancel at a moment’s notice. This is to say nothing about how freelancers in the U.S. pay for healthcare or save for retirement.
For an entire category of workers (but certainly not the whole workforce) the expectation of a 40-hour, 9-5 Monday through Friday workweek seems like an inevitability; an expectation so deeply ingrained that it’s hard to remember it wasn’t always this way. And it’s even harder to remember that it might not have to be this way in the future.
Since I came to Fractured Atlas almost two years ago, I’ve been sharing information about how artists and creatives can run successful fundraisers. I’ve written articles about picking perks and shooting videos for crowdfunding campaigns, the importance of donation tiers, and running raffles.
One of the best parts of working with so many artists and arts organizations is that we get to meet a lot of fascinating people.
Fractured Atlas believes in being honest about what a job is, but not fatalistic. Your job is not your family, it’s a way you exchange your labor for money. But it doesn’t have to be soul-crushing or toxic. We are interested in creating humane workplaces, whether that means ensuring fair pay as part of antiracism at work or exploring exactly what we mean when we talk about toxic workplaces.
The past few years have given us collectively a great deal to think about in terms of problems with our workplace cultures. Big unionization drives across sectors have gotten us to think about exploitative workplace conditions, the mass shift to remote work and the haphazard move to hybrid work have encouraged us to think about communication norms and boundaries, the George Floyd uprisings showed in new relief how racism and white supremacy show up in our workplaces.
One of the biggest challenges for sex workers and adult content creators today, in addition to the threat of violence on the job (including from law enforcement) is that the online platforms where they work could kick them off at any time. Online adult content is a massive industry worth $800 million. The workers who generate that content are at the whim of companies and platforms who both extract profit from their work and then make decisions about their operating terms that often harm the sex workers who have created the value for them in the first place.