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What is Work Worth?

Toronto Free Gallery Presents…

“I’d guess that – apart from domestic and care work art is the industry with the most unpaid labour around. It sustains itself on the time and energy of unpaid interns and self-exploiting actors on pretty much every level and in almost every function. Free labour and rampant exploitation are the invisible dark matter that keeps the cultural sector going.”

– Hito Steyerl, Politics of Art: Contemporary Art
and the Transition to Post-Democracy


A dinner & talk about working for free in the cultural sector
This is the sixth talk in the Toronto Free series: The Bridge

When: Saturday February 18, 2012
Dinner & Talk: seating at 7 pm


Location: Toronto Free Gallery
1277 Bloor Street West

$15/person for dinner (vegan) & talk (meaty)
Seats are limited. Please contact to reserve your spot.

The “What is Work Worth?” Bridge is the first of three talks to begin a dialogue about the value of work. Given the increasing normalization of unpaid labour in the cultural sector a questioning of why and how we work for free is necessary. It is time to tease out what role internships play in contributing to an ongoing and inescapable precarious work environment.

How can we escape a system that encourages unpaid internships in order to “pay dues?”

Do unpaid internships privilege a particular work force able to afford to spend months working for free?

Do unpaid internships encourage paid workers to settle for working long hours for poor pay because of fear that there are hundreds of interns willing to do their jobs for free?

Does the discrepancy between pressures for programming and lack of funding encourage a system where organizations are forced to rely on the work of volunteers?

Are educational institutions not adequately training workers for the realities of the workforce?

“The Bridge” is Toronto Free Gallery’s new monthly speakers’ series that uses the format of a sit-down dinner as a site of engagement and conversation about gaps in racial, social, and economic inequality, and equal representation. We’re interested in activating lively, productive conversation in an informal setting that will help to bridge the divide.

-Co-Curated by Heather Haynes & Amber Landgraff
-Toronto Free Gallery is please to receive support from:
Canada Council for the Arts & Ontario Arts Council