Apprenticeship and Attitude Change
I contacted my friend from secondary school, who is currently a student at Goldsmiths and asked him about his experience on an apprenticeship scheme.
I used Seeman and Evans (1962) to prepare my questions.
I wanted to ask you about the internships you have attended…
How many have you done?
Two or three.
What was your attitude before starting them?
I felt a bit weird as it was kind of try before you buy. I felt like I was worried I would be under lots of scrutiny and didn’t want to mess up.
Did you enjoy your experiences?
Yes, the work was very hard and lots of the things were new to me. There was as much doing as there was learning. This was great as it really helped me develop and improved my skills.
I feel that I learnt more on an eight week apprenticeship than I did at University. It was very much hands-on.
Did you ever feel like you were getting treated unfairly?
I don’t have any horror stories of unfair work that I know is very common in the area. The people I worked for wanted to train up good workers and keep them.
What did you take away from the experiences and how did it change your attitude?
I took away that it’s much more straightforward and there are less rules than what they tried to teach us at school. I really improved my skillset and got a much better understanding of the professional workplace, especially a creative one. .
Seeman, M., & Evans, J. W.. (1962). Apprenticeship and Attitude Change. American Journal of Sociology, 67(4), 365–378. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2775137
Whellen’s argues that there don’t exist enough employment opportunities for art students to find in the current workforce. A shocking one third of young adults are without full-time employment 3 years after graduation.
The statistics is implicitly trying to encourage students to think of alternatives to begin their path to success. One of the ways to achieve that is to create their own jobs. Wellen is putting across an idea of taking charge of one’s success. The underlying argument is appealing – give everyone a place of meaning and have them develop skills they otherwise wouldn’t learn by working across all roles of a small business.
However, I don’t believe it would work for me. We went to visit a co-op during the last term and observed the progress of people involved. After a year of work they reached minimum pay and are now aiming for London living wage. As much as I like the idea of having an artistic input from early onset of my career, I feel that it doesn’t provide enough security to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
London is an increasingly expensive city and it is not long-term affordable to invest one’s energy into a co-op. The whole setup appears to be a blend between two paths – working for a company full-time or starting your own business. People who exist in co-ops given up on a chance to reap rewards that come from owning a business due to being risk-averse yet they do not enjoy the security of a full-time employment. Whichever way I decide to go, I know I won’t sit in the middle, working in a co-op and hoping for better life.
“Cultural analyses of gentrification have identified the individual artist as an important agent in the initiation of gentrification processes in old working-class neighbourhoods. Alternative theorizations have recognized a second stage where capital follows the artist into gentrified localities, commodifying its cultural assets and displacing original artists/gentrifiers.“ (Cameron and Coaffee, 2005)
I went to visit Shoreditch. Shortditch is my ‘go to’ area when people from outside of London ask me where to go for nightlife, although I do not usually frequent the area. The area is a vibrant as lots of little coffee shops as well as boutiques that come and go with the seasons. with hand drawn lettering and illustration, Recently, many corporations seem to try and locate themselves here too, and arguably nowadays the general feel of the area seems sleek, branded and homogenous. One can observe that many of the people in the establishments seem to be more tourists than locals.
The major galleries that have opened in Shoreditch display work from established artists and during my visit I couldn’t find any open spaces for artists to display their work. Some independent shops were selling artists pieces however works were very expensive and I don’t think this represents the artist as much as it can the current interests of the area.
Other shops found in Shoreditch besides restaurants and cafes are shops you would find anywhere else in London.
There is still originality in Shoreditch but it has blended quite well with the corporate shops that have popped up and it is hard to distinguish who are the original ‘artists/gentrifiers’ and as I didn’t visit the area before it was gentrified I can’t tell them apart.
Cameron, S. and Coaffee, J. (2005). Art, Gentrification and Regeneration – From Artist as Pioneer to Public Arts. REUJ, 5(1), pp.39-58.
(Absolutely great/sexy/amazing in Drag Queen Lingo)
I wanted to look into the online subculture of the TV programme, ‘Rupaul’s Dragrace’ (found at reddit.com/r/rupaulsdragrace, a community for 4 years).It is a subculture that I guess I am part of as I enjoy the show and often check out the off season (when the show is not currently airing a new season).
There are many different types of fans. The most loudest and notable, I would say, are the underage fans. As most of the shows take place in the USA, which has a drinking age of 21, often fans post their pictures and locations sometimes asking to borrow an ID to attend drag shows where in exchange for money or often makeup. I think this common exchange shows how close the community is.
The things that everyone has in common on the site are not only a love of the show, but also a shared language, understood by everyone.
- Busted– adj. The act of appearing to be unkempt, messy, unrefined, unpolished, or poorly presented.
- Dusted (Dusty) – adj. The act of looking polished, flawless, or perfected. The opposite of “Busted“.
- Beat (Beating a face) – v. To apply the perfect amount of makeup on the face, resulting in a flawless look. i.e. “her face is beat for the gods“. (RuPaul’s Drag Race Wiki, 2015)
- Fishy – Feminine
Below, Gia Gunn is looking extremely fishy and Dusted, with a very beat Mug.
Below that she looks absolutely busted.
This is my favourite aspect of the fandom. It became clear to me watching “Paris is Burning” that they have their own language, and the language is constantly evolving as it is very different to what is used in Drag Race today, however it still completely understood. I discovered that the use of language in these subcultures is documented in books such as Doyle’s “Homosexual Slang Again” (1982) which is a follow up of another book, “Homosexual slang” by Julia Stanley published in 1970. The release of these books 12 years apart supports my view that the specific language developed, emanating from television shows such as Drag Race, is a constant and important factor in the sustainment of this particular subculture. I think that the use of an alternative language displays how close and unique a subculture can be
Doyle, C. C.. (1982). Homosexual Slang Again. American Speech, 57(1), 74–76. http://doi.org/10.2307/455182
RuPaul’s Drag Race Wiki, (2015). RuPaul’s Drag Race Dictionary. [online] Available at: http://logosrupaulsdragrace.wikia.com/wiki/RuPaul’s_Drag_Race_Dictionary [Accessed 2 Dec. 2015].
What’s best for me?
Copyleft is a licensing term that originates in the software open-source community. According to the GNU website (2015), copyleft “is a general method for making a program (or other work) free, and requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free as well.”
Copyleft is used mainly in the software community, but there is an increase of interest from other areas such as music or languages. The artistic community is also starting to explore the options provided by copyleft and its application to the industry.
This is a rather novel concept in the world where everything is owned by somebody and to use any derived work, one must usually pay hefty sums. The wide-spread use of stock-photo websites, where users pay a monthly fee to get access to images is a prime example of this concept. There are also stock-photo websites where use of images is free, but they are usually limited by certain factors and almost always offer a “premium” model that is paid and has fewer caveats.
Copyleft is creating a new path for content creators. It gives them the freedom to release their work and let anybody else use it under the condition that the work they create will also be free. As Stallman (2010) puts its, “If you use and adapt a work, and then release that adapted version to the public, the released version must be as free as the version it was adapted from. It must, or the law of copyright will be violated.”
For a generation of internet users, where content is abundant and licences are difficult to enforce, this creates a codified way to promote freedom of thought, freedom of creativity and ultimately freedom of expression. It empowers users and gives them the opportunity to become altruistic yet still benefit from the work created.
But how does using copyleft translate to professional work? It is easy to release your work under copyleft if you created it as a private individual and in your spare time. But companies have often clauses in their contract that require employees to waive copyright on any and all work created while employed with them. This is mainly to protect the companies from rogue individuals who would use inside knowledge and resources to better themselves. Let’s imagine that we avoid and resolve all legal hurdles to start releasing our professional work with a copyleft. Is it worth it?
In this essay I will argue that there are legitimate situations and uses of copyleft that can have beneficial impact on one’s career. I believe that the current age and utilities, such as internet, allow for effective sharing of created works. These economies of scale for artistic creativity fuel unprecedented rise of art research, inspiration and themes among professionals and amateurs alike. The limiting factors to the recognisability of one’s work are no longer technological, rather they stem from licensing issues and fear of losing out on benefiting from work by sharing it.
I propose that copyleft is a viable option at the beginning of one’s career. Professionals should abandon using copyleft after achieving enough recognition of their work to be able to secure a career and may return to it once retired or obtaining a senior position in the field they specialize in.
At the beginning of one’s career the most important thing is to build up large portfolio of work to be able to attract potential employees or clients. As Chin (2007) argues, copyleft is a perfect vehicle through which to distribute work. It encourages sharing while it still acknowledges the original creator. In the present there are many ways to distribute one’s work through internet without incurring any costs. This can lead to potentially rapid spreading of one’s brand and recognition.
Once the recognition is achieved and a junior person begins their path to professional success, it gets more difficult to differentiate between work commitments and creating art for one’s leisure. It may also be that the offers from royalties get more lucrative. Releasing under copyleft would be detrimental to future growth – in some cases reversing it altogether.
During the main path of one’s career, it is important to pay attention to how the created work is used and distributed. Sometimes even challenge illegally copied and used work – internet is notoriously prone to using copyrighted work without properly acknowledging or paying the artist. As Freegamer (2011) argues, especially with works of art it is easier to “struct specific, inconvenient examples of how you might skirt the requirements of the license.”
The origins of copyleft create a challenge as it has been cut and created around software source code. It may need adapting and re-inventing in order to properly apply in other sectors.
I don’t doubt that a more tailored solution will eventually emerge, where main issues around licensing disputes will be resolved to minimize potential rogue impact. Whether it will be a better copyright law, a copyleft license specifically design to protect artists or even a self-regulating body that will arbitrate any disputes.
There is a case for returning to copyleft once your main career path is past its zenith. This can be a purely altruistic effort to return to the community what it provided in early stages of one’s development. One can focus on creating art for the sake of creating art rather than securing material needs. The artist is no longer limited by assignments, contracts, impatient clients and compromises to one’s artistic preference that is so common in the professional employment. It is also easier and causes less impact at that point due to disappearance of potential legal clashes.
Returning to copyleft also means artist can solidify his or her impact on the artistic choices of the present. It can lead to younger artists studying and reusing the work to create a movement that will eventually lead to better name recognition and influence. Essentially it allows the individual to leave a bigger mark on the shape of the artistic community and ensure their names will be remembered in the annals of history.
As I argued, copyleft has its place in the artistic community and proper use of copyleft can be effective and advantageous to one’s career. I mentioned using copyleft at the beginning of the career to quickly build a portfolio that is used and distributed. Copyleft should be then abandoned for properly licensed work throughout one’s career only to return to it towards the end. This ensures maximum impact and nurtures another generation of artists who will recognize the works created.
Chi. Kent L. Rev. 963 (2007) Codifying a Commons: Copyright, Copyleft, and the Creative Commons Project [Online] Available from: http://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3609&context=cklawreview. [Accessed: 25th November]
GNU. (2015) What is Copyleft? [Online] Available from: https://www.gnu.org/copyleft/ [Accessed: 25th November 2015]
Stallman, R. (2015) Free Software, Free Society. [Online] Available from: http://www.gnu.org/doc/fsfs-ii-2.pdf [Accessed: 25th November 2015]
Freegamer. (2011) Why we need a stronger copyleft for artists, and how this might be accomplished. [Online] Available from: http://freegamer.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/why-we-need-better-copyleft-for-artists.html [Accessed: 25th November]