The Independent Theatre Podcast

Creating Caring Contracts

May 12, 2023 Season 1 Episode 6
The Independent Theatre Podcast
Creating Caring Contracts
Show Notes Transcript

Join the Independent Theatre Council as Jackie Elliman speaks to Keith Arrowsmith, (Solicitor, senior partner at Counterculture and Governance Associate for the Clore Leadership Programme) and Emily Williams, (Independent Producer and CEO of Theatre Bristol) about how the industry can create better contracts for its workers.

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Twitter: @itc_arts

The original idea of ’Contracts of Care' was conceived in 2011 by Emily Williams who owns the IP and has since been developed and tested by Alice Tatton Brown along with Emily in a number of contexts including Kaleider, Theatre Bristol and University of Bristol.

Produced by Rachel Hepworth
Original Music and Sound Design by John Luke 

Creating Caring Contracts

Jackie Elliman: Welcome to this ITC podcast on creating caring contracts. I'm Jackie Elliman, ITC's Legal and Industrial Relations Manager. Joining me today to discuss whether contract negotiation always has to be a battle or whether there are better ways to do it are Emily Williams and Keith Arrowsmith . Emily is a producer and the CEO of Theatre Bristol, which is an organization that develops and supports the live performance sector in Bristol by connecting people, sharing knowledge and resources, brokering relationships, and advocating for best practice.

As a producer, Emily developed Contracts of Care, a framework for artists and collaborators to use to create terms and conditions of working together when they begin a project. Keith is a senior partner at Counterculture, a boutique multidisciplinary practice providing legal and other consultancy services to the creative sector.

Keith has a lot of other hats related to good practice, including being a Clore Governance Associate, a member of the Cultural Governance Alliance and the company Secretary for Freelancers Make Theatre Work. Keith is also involved with human learning systems, a technique currently being used to help deliver better public health services, which he believes could deliver similar benefits in the public art sector.

We're here to look at the way in which [00:02:00] contracts are made and whether paying attention to the tone and management of the early stages of the process, before drafting even begins, can lay the foundations for better contracts and better working relationships. My own starting point for this podcast was a book by American lawyer Linda Avarez, called Discovering Agreement.

Linda, funnily enough, started her working life in admin in the not-for-profit theatre sector, which could be why she chose to move away from the hard nurse confrontational approach that I always imagined typifies US legal process. Her principles did resonate with me as being, in fact, in line with ITC thinking, but that also left me wondering why a collaborative way forward is still the exception rather than the rule.

Jackie Elliman: So to begin, Emily, would you like to introduce us to your concept that you evolved of Contracts of Care, and tell us a bit about what this is and how it came about. 

Emily Williams: Yeah, sure. Thanks Jackie. So the original sort of idea and concept of Contracts of Care was conceived in 2011 when I was working in Devon for an organization, much like the Bristol actually called Wide Awake Devon.

And we were running an associate producers program. Where we essentially gifted the capacity of a producer to a live performance company working in Devon, and there was no financial exchange, but we needed to find a way to set boundaries, expectations, have clear guidelines around working practices.

Although the producers are on our payroll, they would very much be kind of having their deliverables and their sort of working practices set by the company and so we sort of set about trying to have conversations about, okay, is it a letter of agreement? Is it a memorandum of understanding? But actually what it kept coming back to and, and it's similar to what you were just talking about and the introduction was about that relationship building and how to protect both parties, both when it's going really well and also when it's not going so well.

And so Contracts of Care was kind of born at that point without really realizing how powerful just the name is, um, which is something we might come onto a bit later, but the name in itself kind of gives such a message around what you're trying to achieve before you've even got into the conversation about building something.

And so the idea, behind contracts of care, and what we set out to do then was to kind of start at kind of 0.0 and build up a contract together that set out expectations and intentions on both parties, looking at behaviour, commitment, ambition, and to really try and use, as much as possible, informal plain language and to think about the currency of that contract of care being value.

And I think, we'll go on to maybe later talking about how it's been used in different contexts. But I think that is the most interesting point of kind of how when you're talking about a different kind of value other than financial transaction or sort of employment transaction, that that contract can become something that levels power in a relationship that's often one of kind of power and money versus an artist or an idea, particularly in the kind of freelance sector.

Jackie Elliman: Thanks Emily. It's curious how contracts aren't thought to be about relationship building sometimes about how there's the imbalance of power when from me, going to law school in midlife, one of the key things I took away from the contract course were the words mutuality in exchange, which should reflect what you are doing is, uh, a little bit more about how you actually evolved the process.

How did you actually make Contracts of Care?

Emily Williams: Yeah, so we set about, and this was developed in the end with an artist called Alice Tatton Brown as part of a project with the University of Bristol and with some Briggsdale funding to split the contract into looking at the risks, the vulnerability, and the expectations, and to spend time together exploring what those were for each party.

And so we kind of would have a half day workshop with each of the companies that we were working with, and obviously that's not possible in every, you know every relationship, but this was specific to kind of try and sort of really R and D, what that might look like, because we felt like we were kind of onto something here.

And so break down what we felt the risks were for ourselves and for the project or the relationship where we felt there was vulnerability. In the project, and that was particularly important for, um, that power imbalance again, in terms of, and also talking about, um, ideas and where they might be generated, and then expectations where we want to get to by the end of this relationship or project and actually doing that.

And understanding the differences in opinions of what those different things might mean for different people was the most helpful part of it. And so in a way, Contracts of Care is as much about a conversation as it is about the final document that exists. Um, and I think that's something that will resonate in in more of our conversation and actually giving that kind of time to have that conversation and putting that kind of emphasis on the beginning of that relationship.

From what we could see was having a real impact on then the delivery of the work and the way in which the producer and the artist in particular in, in those instances flourished because of that. And, and even when it got difficult, having a framework to come back to and feeling like everybody was empowered in that relationship.

Jackie Elliman: Thank you. So some of it to me, from what I'm hearing, is about enabling each party to almost stand in the other shoes. Before they argue over something, so they get a new perspective on it. 

Emily Williams: Yes, I think so. And I think so often, of course there are always exceptions to the rule. You are kind of as an artist just given a contract, you know, perhaps with a draft title and you're expected to read it often has sort of inaccessible language. You have to go through a sort of demystifying process with it. And you're often a very alone in that. You know, there's a whole organization behind the contract that's coming your way. And so I think what this did was offer a different kind of exchange to be able to get to that point.

And what we've found in other relationships when we've used it where there has been a financial exchange and it has needed, you know, legal frameworks in particular parts of the contract, that they sit really well together then and actually, that, the relationship between the two, you know, becomes the really important part of, okay, what does that mean then in the context of what that financial exchange might look like and where the kind of artistic output is given as much value as the kind of paying the guarantee or paying the commission be.

Jackie Elliman: Brilliant. Thank you so much. Keith, does that approach resonate with your experiences both in the arts sector and in other sectors? 

Keith Arrowsmith: There's, there's so much going on in the sectors at the moment, and a lot of it's driven by technology. I think all of us have had that experience of having to tick boxes online to say that we agree to terms and conditions. Or we receive the DocuSign that assumes that you've read and understood and agree to all of the terms and conditions that are being presented. And we feel the pressure of signing and returning it in order for a project to proceed. And timing is always tight, isn't it, for these kind of projects. And yeah, you have to be quite brave to say, 'no, let's, let's take a moment and find a framework like Emily's to make sure that we are talking about a project using words that are, you know, have a common meaning'. And I think that's the thing that I, I see that can happen across the sectors, but don't necessarily see every single time because of the kind of pressures, the kinds of lack of information because of the take it or leave it kind of approach that freelancers often find that they are faced with.

So it's, it's there for the taking, but it's giving us permission. To have that moment to reflect on whether that's the right thing to do or whether you to spend a moment or two and say, perhaps it's not right for me at this time. On those terms and that's, you have to be quite brave to do that. I'm a great believer in investing in that little bit of time and energy at the beginning, and it's all about risk reduction.

If you get that wording right and you share that common understanding what Linda says in her book, that safety process, you know, finding that common ground, I think means that we don't end up with that high risk of disagreement later on. So it's a bit of investment, but it means that later on you don't have to speak to the lawyers.

You don't have to be concerned about your reputation or the use of your intellectual property, and, and it's a delicate balance. You know, life's busy enough, you don't want to embark on a framework that might mean. Endless meetings about meetings, about a contract draft that might turn up in six months time, but it's there for the taking.

So I think Emily, it's, it's really interesting to hear how, how that came about and the kind of wording that you found to enable those conversations to happen at that early time. And it feels as though, it's gonna help build confidence in that relationship before you get into the nitty gritty and have that sense of shared risk and a shared outcome.

I, I, I don't think any of us would want to get involved in a project where we didn't believe in the creative team. So why would you sign up to a document that doesn't reflect that in a way, that kind of common understanding of that mutual risk and reward that comes about. Because the work that we all do together is just so important.

Why would we risk it on anything else? 

Jackie Elliman: Thanks Keith. And yet, are you finding probably in your links with Freelancers Make Theatre Work or working as a lawyer [00:12:00] for other organizations that many, if any, people are actually approaching contracting in this way? 

Keith Arrowsmith: I think it's the exception rather than the rule.

I think lots of organizations have their little precedent bank of documents that were probably created by a lawyer some while back and have been rehashed and reinvented and tweaked and changed and adapted and have become very unwieldy. And no one kind of takes the time to take the step back and think, but why do we have this paragraph in this document, it's just easier to keep it in there rather than debate whether it has any use going forward. So I think we end up with the risk that old-fashioned documents just keep being reused and recycled. And it's a shame because over the last, what, 10, 20 years, we have had to get our heads around how the new technologies apply to our working practices and why wouldn't we think around how this new technology can help us with our contracting policies and procedures.

So it, it feels a little bit disjointed with the kind of practical day-to-day work and kind of how we introduce new ways of working, when we're thinking about the legal risks, and I suspect a lot of that is about resource and time and energy and some of it's about knowledge and being a bit frightened that we don't understand why that particular wording was inserted or not.

I get to see some big ticket contracts from big operators where some really basic things end up in a contract, which needn't be in a contract because it just repeats what the standard procedures and rules and regs that everyone understands might be, and I think it just clutters up everyone's minds.

You know, you end up then thinking, oh, do I really know what the relevant rules of the Data Protection Act might or might not be, but actually we're not even, you know, sharing any personal data. It's, it's those kinds of blocks that can end up in contracts which are completely red herrings to the job in hand by stepping back.

I'm trying to give us this opportunity to think what it's really about will help in other sectors. Uh, and, and I've got the health sector in in mind. Yeah. Because there has been a development, especially in Scotland, around h how do we deal with this in a way that's fair. Uh, and looking at the health sector, I think's really interesting because there again, you've got that imbalance of power.

You've got your big public bodies wanting to contract with. Potentially, you know, freelancers or small organizations, you know, in the not-for-profit sector, social enterprises who, who feel that imbalance of negotiating powers and are often responding to tenders where there is no choice, you either take the deal.

Or walk away and everyone knowing it's going to produce a result that isn't good for, for the end users, that they've kind of reinvented it and they use language that's similar, but they talk about co-design. This idea of finding a language that everyone can work together and experimenting. They kind of, found a way with the learning cycle of saying, look, this is going to be complicated. Let's make sure that we've got a way of having these conversations that allow us to test some of this out. Let let, let's see what we think about a particular outcome or a particular risk or a particular way of working, and then let's learn from it.

And so we have this kind of continuing circle. Of experimentation, which then allows us to kind of embed that way of working in, into that project and then into future projects and, and a way of sharing that across the sector that they found really helpful. So you have to have that understanding of how the sector works.

You then have to have. That trust to have some perhaps quite frank conversations about what is deliverable and what will and what won't work. And you and I know that actually it might be all about cash flow for a small organization or an an individual and by having that conversation early on, it might be that you remove that pressure, you remove that risk, but if you don't have that conversation, it just stays in the background as a potential worry.

So there are lots of, and this is part of the problem, isn't it? There's there as many frameworks as there are precedent contracts, but somehow finding the right one and giving us permission to take time to have those conversations feels very difficult. 

Jackie Elliman: Thanks Keith. I think the 'take time to have those conversations' is exactly what I was gonna ask you about, so I'm very glad you ended on that point.

And, and Keith, you were talking about this approach in the health sector where there were far more resources, even though it's a beleaguered sector and far more time than there are in the small to middle scale performing arts. Do you see that as a factor that makes it easier for them? Or can we stop saying, poor us, we haven't got the time and jump in.

Keith Arrowsmith: I think we have to say, let's abandon the poor us attitude. You know, it, it is. It is what it is. And other sectors have very small. Enterprises that form their base, and we all have to find a way of using the tools that are available to us. Yes, the health sector does have those big public bodies that are there that will dictate some of those big tendered projects.

But they have to engage with those small to medium sized local social enterprises and individuals to deliver on their behalf. And they then have to have those relationships with the end users in much the same ways that the art sector will. So yeah, I'm, I'm not convinced that we can, we can reject those other kind of models just because they don't happen to have started in the art sector.

I think corporation for us, feels slightly more difficult because as a sector, I think we know the importance of collaborating on an artistic level. You know, shows don't get produced. The kind of quality that we, we see on a day-to-day basis if the creative teams aren't collaborating, you know, it, it, it is fundamental to that kind of process.

And I think this is why there feels a bit of a disconnect because we present ourselves. As being open to that kind of process and we go into a rehearsal room, you know, with trust games and all that, encourage that kind of free-flowing work practice. Then you know, a contract lands that is anything other than personal, and collaborative and, uh, on, and potentially on a take it or leave it basis. So it, it feels very disconnected, doesn't it, from what this paperwork is designed to support. 

For me, any kind of governance process which is designed to tackle that kind of risk might well mean that we need a way of making sure that those two aspects of theatre business get joined up in a way that everyone feels comfortable with. And it may be that Jackie, you, you see that kind of bridging role. You know, it's a real skill, you know, to be able to kind of translate that kind of the, the legal aspects and the practical, commercial elements in ways that people can translate into their working practices.

And I think that's why Emily's model and the kind of terms that she's using, which aren't specifically about theatre work, mean something to theatre people. And that's why it feels as though that's, yeah, that's why it lands and that's why it's great to hear more about it.  

Jackie Elliman: There was an interesting thing before I ask you, Emily, for your thoughts that leap out on me when you started talking about trust games a while ago, the RSA commissioned a project in Peterborough where I think Peterborough council workers learned about artists methodology.

And by methodology I didn't mean the making of the art, but things like trust games. And for them it was transformative to see that you could work with other people in these different ways. And I'm suddenly thinking many of our own, administrators, producers in this sector, despite being in the arts, quite possibly don't quite have that background.

And I don't know how we think about introducing that element that reminds them that they are part of the company. Just as doing these things will remind you for the performance when they all have to cohere quickly at the beginning of a rehearsal period. 

Keith Arrowsmith: That's an, I think that's interesting. I, I think, to enable those kinds of conversations, to be part of the process rather than standalone arms length, I think again, helps us understand the potential risks that we're trying to mitigate by putting these words on a piece of paper. And we all know that we trust each other and we all know all projects will always ever, you know, uh, be delivered on time and on budget.

And, you know, no one needs to worry about anything at all. But of course, we get involved in those sad cases where that doesn't quite take place. And I think it, it will help people recognize how to deal with those kind of tricky situations, which might or might not be about money. Contracts are really good at dealing with money stuff, you know, it's that, that's the easy part of it. Undoubtedly, if anything ever gets to court, it's always settled with money, isn't it? That, that, that's kind of the basis of these kind of dispute resolution processes. But again, Emily's focus on things that aren't necessarily the financial aspects, I think would open some eyes in that negotiating process for the producers and their teams who aren't involved in that kind of creative process.

I think a good lawyer needs to be a good wordsmith as well. You know, I, I think, spending a little bit of time to find that common language and to find that way of expressing it in a way that makes sense to everyone is really helpful. And I'd hope we've all moved on from the medieval Latin that sometimes crops up in some of these contracts.

But e even if we get outta that, we do end up in legal technical language really quickly, don't we? And, and finding, you know, alternatives to kind of express those worries. It's gonna be helpful, but we've got to trust that we can have that conversation at that early stage. And we all worry about our reputation and we all worry about losing, you know, the job that we really want.

Um, and we all worry that the next person in line will just sign on the dotted line and, you know, not raise these concerns early on. I also kind of take some of what's been happening. In our sector and the media sector more generally about people reacting to risk. And some of it's the kind of post -covid stuff.

This kind of sense of we have got to look after each other's health and safety, you know? And there is a safeguarding aspect and a health and safety aspect and a Me Too aspect and the rest of it that we could come together and say, this is a good for the sector as well as a good for me as an individual.

But you have to be brave to have that conversation. 

Emily Williams: Emily, I have kind of two reflections really on kind of that wider sort of response to that question. Which one is that? We're so relational, aren't we, in the arts particularly? And that often you'll build a relationship with somebody in an organization as an independent, and then somebody else will send you the contract.

And that mix between cooperation and confrontation, I think often happens, because you don't have that relationship then with that person who's just sending you a 20 page document and you don't have then the backdrop of a stronger relationship to be able to embark on that conversation. And that's where, you know, having all of the people involved in that process, in the mix is a, is a really important part of the process. 

And the other thing to say is that nationally, but particularly in Bristol, you know, the last 20 years has seen a huge rise in the number of independents making work, particularly outside of theatre and venue, without necessarily large institutions involved. And I think the downside of that has been that so many conversations that Theatre Bristol has had particularly over the last sort of 15 years is where there has been no contract and it has all been done on this, on trust or knowing other people and, and kind of assuming that everything will be okay and planning for a fair weather plan. Um, and I think that's a huge part of this conversation is actually the amount of projects and relationships that, you know, in a professional context happen without any kind of written agreement or contract in place. 

And I think that if there's anything to come from that kind of sense of care and cooperation rather than come from confrontation is, and I think a lot of it is, like you mentioned earlier, Keith, about fear perhaps around embarking on that. You know, having the lack, lack of knowledge around those templates or information, not having the resource to perhaps feel like you are properly kind of equipped with the right information of what to do.

And, and of course that's one of the reasons ITC exists, but I think it's still, you know, even last week I was talking to an artist and they'd committed to a project without really sort of thinking it through and suddenly found themselves in, you know, um, hot water and kind of going, but actually there's no, you know, when I track back that's really difficult cause I just said yes.

You know, I didn't think it through. I assumed the project would go really well, and I think that's a whole nother, just as we were talking then that's a whole nother area really, that I think when we talk about. Care and cooperation and trust and relationships is that often lack of contract actually being kind of at the heart of, and and, and the lack of that conversation being at the heart of why, you know, people end up in really, really difficult situations, particularly in the independent sector, although of course we see it in other relationships as well

Keith Arrowsmith: I think that's absolutely right and the thing that Emily's just reminded me about there is if we only rely on the trust, the danger is than we only ever engage with our friends. It can become very insular very quickly, because the only people I can trust are the people I've worked with before. You know, all my friends are my friends, and all of a sudden, you know, it's a sector then that becomes very blinkered and it becomes that kind of equality, diversity issue that we don't encourage the new entrance into the field because there is no mechanism for them to engage. In a way that can build that same kind of trust quickly enough for them to be involved in our project. So the, that lack of contract in a way means that we are putting up a barrier for people because there isn't an alternative to the very informal approach that we are expecting people to use as the alternative.

And I think, you know, some of the funders are trying to get their head around that on a governance level for funding basis, but, but maybe we've, we've got some kind of responsibilities practitioners as well to say we can't just rely on this kind of friends of friends network. Because that's not good enough anymore.

Jackie Elliman: Thank you. Having heard all that is absolutely fascinating. I could honestly go on talking about this and listening a lot longer, but I'm interested to know what you believe are the principles, the basics for productive mutual contract creation. I've got notes; you just said trust, risk, vulnerability, expectations.

Some of these don't sound like they're principles for creation, but, uh, acknowledgment of them. Emily, what would you say your main principles are? 

Emily Williams: Probably, for me, it's about expectation that the language is accessible. That you both understand exactly what is being said in it, both being whether that's a, a massive institution in one individual or or two.

And then I think there's something for me still around risk. And I think because we're so often talking about different levels of power or money, where does that risk lie? And who is holding that? And that being an important principle. 

Jackie Elliman: I think we're coming across with very clear themes, recurring the accessible language one is such an odd one. I mean, I'm totally with you, Keith, that, and I hope that anything I draft for ITC is in plain English, but people are reassured when they get something that's four times the length of what I may have drafted with, maybe no Latin anymore, but still, you know, words that have me reaching for my revolver, like 'here in after' 'here to fore' and so on.

And in terms where you have to refer back and refer forwards and slightly work out what something means in the middle of a sentence. So that is a barrier to me that people actually feel that they've got a real contract. If they can't quite understand it. 

Keith Arrowsmith: Yeah, it's, it's, that's funny, isn't it?

Because, you know, the, the reality will, will bite later on if, if they haven't had that opportunity to use the shared language. Yeah. My suggestion would be to increase the size of the paperwork, not by worrying about the operative terms, the main bulk of the contract, but by using the kinds of conversations that Emily's framework enable and for those to be recorded in what you and I might have been told to call the recitals, but nowadays it's probably, yeah, got a heading of background or something like that at the beginning of the contract. So is that kind of sense of, let's give people that sense of where this, where this language has come from and what we are sharing together in the following provisions.

And I think that's the bits that I've been taking from Linda's book. She recommends spending a lot of time pulling together that sense of that safety position. I think let's potentially over and above what we can do as a sector for most of the. One-off deals that we are looking at given the, the resources and value.

But by combining those two elements of those kinds of conversations that happen, and Emily, you're right, you, you, you tend to have one conversation with someone who brings you on board and then a document appears from someone who's completely different and it disempowers people. So by combining that first conversation into the formal documents in that introductory part, that background, the recitals, and then using that language in the main document, I think you've got a better chance of having something that feels much more stable and much more collaborative, and it might mean that it's slightly longer as a contract, but without needing to overcomplicate what follows. 

Jackie Elliman: So I think we've got a lot of principles we totally agreed on, and the feeling that it needs to be done with a much lighter touch, than an American law firm, however, rooted in the arts originally, you might do it.

What are the barriers? Do you both think, Emily? I'd love it if you said none, let's do it tomorrow, but. 

Emily Williams: I think time is always a barrier. You know, those contract conversations are happening while you're working on another project and while you're about to go into another project, and having that time to really build that relationship and have those conversations.

But that's where I think technology could help with that. And we've certainly talked about whether to have a kind of digital sort of building tool where you both build the contract together and I'm sure things like that exist in other sectors. And I think money and, and I also think knowledge and expertise.

I think for particularly the independent sector, it's often having an independent artist who are working alone. Often having someone with those knowledge and expertise feels far away in terms of some of those legal elements. And so I think there's something for me around that exchange of knowledge and then capacity and resource as always.

But I do think with technology, and I also do think with, you know, organizations like Theatre Bristol with collective, like, like Freelancers Make Theatre Work. We are starting to galvanize a kind of sharing of best practice, particularly for independence, to be able to say, actually I've created this version of something in the kind of trusted producer thing since 1996.

You know, how can we create new resources that serve that purpose? 

Jackie Elliman: So there is a real barrier of time, I'm hearing you saying, but there are many, many ways in which this can be surmounted. Yes. That's like realistic, optimistic assessment. Thank you, Keith? 

Keith Arrowsmith: I think partly it's always gonna be the fear of missing out. It's that fear that if I kick up a stink or start being known as someone who causes, uh, a conversation around terms and conditions when someone else will just sign it and get on with it. You know, that's, that's a difficult one for a small organization or an individual to take up. So Emily's point of co-designing it, uh, having that feedback loop around around the sector I think would, would address it.

There is a way, but I think that's always going to be the concern that there is always another organization or freelancer re ready to run with a project. And if I say no or put terms and conditions on the table, that might be perfectly acceptable, but we'll take some time to consider, then we're back to that, the only alternative, which is sign my terms and conditions or go away. And we've all got so used to that kind of approach. You know, most of us don't read the terms and conditions when we buy something from Amazon. You know, we just trust that those terms and conditions are gonna be fine and, uh, will, will do the job.

But of course, if you do spend some time looking at them, you find out that yeah, there's hundreds of pages of detail that sits behind them that most of which, you know, I have no. You saw relevance to, to the kind of potential issues that we might be talking about. 

Jackie Elliman: Thanks. So I'm hearing that there are ways to take the fear and the conflict out of contracting for sure.

And that to be effective, they should begin well before the contract document is written. And when the contract document is written, hopefully it will reflect the mutuality of the agreement and the mutual agreement that's already been reached. But we move in a world with limited resources. Where one of those limited resources massively is time.

So we need to look, examine, discuss how this might be affected, whether tech is the answer, whether doing more to convey the sort of protocols Emma has been working on because it's such a bedrock for this work is the way forward. But I hope this is just the starting point of a way forward to make creating contracts a bit more caring.

So Emily, any final words on this please? 

Emily Williams: I suppose just that I think there are, there are going to be so many versions of kind of people trying to do this really well and I think to have something that feels like it is a kind of a template or a kind of a, a guiding document that really helps kind of demystify and kind of, which, you know, and of course I know there have been many of these before, but perhaps with care at the centre that I really think we could unlock, um, You know, some, some really interesting sort of relationships and conversations that perhaps fear, time, money, other things that are stopping those from happening.

Jackie Elliman: I'd be very happy to talk to you about collaborating on something like that for ITC members. I'd love to, yeah. Keith, any final words on caring in contracts and creation? 

Keith Arrowsmith: I, I'd love to. Think more about the language that we're using to frame these kind of arrangements. I, I think we are good at as a sector being flexible and I think there's something around how we work together to create work that encourages that flexibility and encourages people to experiment. And we lose it as soon as we start having this contract word in our head. So may maybe the, we need to take the care bit, but, but perhaps, you know, the contract bit of it is, is, is the barrier. I think I was just gonna touch on the technology there.

And that, and that might be the catalyst. That encourages people to revisit some of those old ways of working. We work, we, we, we discovered during lockdowns that we don't need quarterly board meetings where people travel up and down the country to sit round a board table with their cup of coffee and their custard creams in order to make their really important decisions.

We could use the technologies to enable sometimes, you know, more often shorter, more focus conversations to happen. And we all know that technology is limited, but it was there as an alternative. And I'm wondering, uh, if you say, let's think about using technology in a way that's different, that's taking on board, that kind of bit of learning that we had to have during lockdowns and starts applying it to the kinds of conversations that we've been talking about today. That might be the catalyst that might enable people to have the confidence of letting go what's gone before.

Jackie Elliman: Absolutely. Well, thank you both very, very much. It's been absolutely fascinating.

I could happily have talked longer, but this was a first step, a first conversation. Let's see where we go from here. Keith and Emily, thank you again. Thank you. Bye.

Rachel Hepworth: Hi, this is Rachel from the Independent Theatre Council. I just wanted to say thank you so much for listening to this episode. Please share this with anyone in your team that you think might find it interesting. And if you are able, please rate and review this episode and any of the others in the series that you've liked.

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