Letter from the editor


Dear und. readers,

on the 29th of March we initiated a poll right here on our blog, asking you all to help us decide what kind of action we should organise in response to the lockdown. The most voted proposal on that poll was to petition the Greek government, followed in votes by a series of solidarity actions.

Hundreds of people participated in that poll, and many of them contacted us directly to organise together. As a result, a group of cultural workers was formed, mainly from the field of contemporary art, called Cultural Workers Alliance Greece (CWAG). Consisting of visual artists, sound artists, curators, writers, publishers, choreographers, filmmakers, actors, researchers, cultural managers, art space directors and many more, this group now has over 1200 members on Facebook and is constantly growing.

I personally participated in the organisation of the group, helping with coordination, administration and communications. CWAG held its first assembly on Saturday the 4th of April, and has since then held four more assemblies. During this time, the group formed smaller sub-committees to deal with specific tasks, such as conducting field research about artists' unions in Greece, creating a series of podcasts in English, and forming a solidarity committee to process more urgent requests. Within the context of CWAG, I proposed and coordinated the creation of an editorial team to compose a petition to the government, as it was our poll's directive.

Last Thursday, we released our petition in the form of an open letter addressed to the Greek ministers of culture and labour. The letter outlines the precarious working conditions of cultural workers in Greece, and particularly the way many of us are unable to adopt any legal status here even while we remain professionally active, and therefore not eligible to receive any benefits. In the letter we also protest the inadequacy of the "emergency measures" announced by the ministry of culture for our sector a month ago, which are deemed inadequate to cover the entire spectrum of contemporary culture in Greece and of no emergency nature at all. Our open letter concludes with an overview of CWAG's demands and a request to meet a representative of the ministry to submit them.

As momentum builds up in Greece by many artists' unions and independent activist groups, und. joins cultural workers and their collective bodies to protest the inadequate support offered by the state to our field and demand fairer and safer working conditions for us all. We invite you to add your voice to this movement by signing CWAG's open letter and sharing it with your colleagues. You can find the petition here.

You can also join the Cultural Workers Alliance Greece Facebook group to take part in the public discussion about cultural workers' rights in Greece.

Yours truly,
Kiriakos Spirou
Founding editor