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 Post subject: volunteerinig feedback
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:52 am
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Location: Edin
Every so often we find ourselves collectively or individually looking into a mirror. Indeed, it may be necessary in order to move forward. That is not to say that I have the responsibility or left to create the mirror, but it will always come from somewhere, better from someone with experience I should think. Mirrors emerge in our paths all the time.
The forest working groups are made up of "EMPLOYEES" and "VOLUNTEERS". To see it any other way would be to lie to ourselves.
There are times when there are EMPLOYEES dealing with EMPLOYEES, EMPLOYEES dealing with VOLUNTEERS, and VOLUNTEERS dealing with VOLUNTEERS.
The forest is a hierarchy, you would be kidding yourself if you thought otherwise. To quote one kitchen manager in the past 'the forest is a level playing field, not a pyramid'. This is someone who may be lying to themselves.
As a volunteer, I feel that the forest, as an "arts/ cultural/ education charity, sees me as some sort of slave (crude term perhaps). As someone who only exists to be used as labour, someone with no other interests within the forest, and no other abilities, other than what I can offer the forest in terms of hard labour.
When we have EMPLOYEES who are not artists, in charge of artist volunteers then we may get this, possibly because the none artist EMPLOYEES simply don't understand the artists mind, personality, and in particular, how sensitive artists are capable of being. We are talking about ultra sensitive with some, and I don't just mean arrogant or moody. Artists in charge of artists is not guaranteed success either. And then some people are simply more insensitive in general.
The kitchen manager seems by far the most stressful role in the forest. They burn out in the way that we expect our shoe laces to break. We can ask too much of them and the role they play, and they caqn ask too much of themselves, a learning curve. It may be said that we are there to learn such things and develop from them, assuming we survive.
Being an EMPLOYEE need not mean that we have more authority than others, need it? People are paid to fulfil a certain function. They are obliged to turn up or perform the function, but it need not give them power over others automatically, or we are pandering to a twisted system. And to complain about people being paid money when we are may be to give power and respect to the making of money. Earning power means nothing in an artists community, it should not bring automatic authority in my opinion.
So, to what degree does this arts cultural educational charity respect artists? Well, of course it does, but Let us compare the forest attitude towards artists, to that of making money. The forest machine is looking at money, even when it looks at and deals with artists and the arts, the emphasis is often on money, as if, if we have more money, then we will have better art. This of course is a nonsense. The world and system impose the need for money.
One months notice and the forest could be out of that building (as far as I am aware). A sobering thought for those who are climbing ladders within the forest hierarchy. Those who may even no longer have any time and energy to pursue their art because the forest sucks all their time and energy, and inspiration with it. Of course, if you are an EMPLOYEE, then you need to meet certain demands and fulfil your contract, which is not the same as being a volunteer, is it?
So the forest is a pyramid hierarchy then. One which claims to serve artists but is capable of destroying them. The emphasis should be on art, culture, education and not on self importance or money, admin.
There has been no music rehearsal space in the forest for two months. Is this the result of none musician minds? Hello___? Sure, people are burnt out after the festival and.....
The musicians are among the bottom feeders of the forest, the kitchen volunteers get tips and the kitchen manager paid, as if it is they who bring in the money and the live music and stage are provided to musicians/ performers as some sort of gift to them from the forest. No live performance and the cafe may be quiet, but they are not important, they are better used as slaves to the forest machine, with the making of money in mind, it is why the forest exists after all, to make money, it is why artists exist also, isn't it? And for people who hold more important positions than others to exercises their role upon others and the physical space, and get paranoid about the motives and agendas of others, especially vollies who take some time out. Trust, an interesting word. We can only trust those who are paid. Hmm. 'The kitchen manager was going along well until possessive jealousy set in'. Working with your partner/ lover can bring problems to the WORK PLACE. Yet another kitchen manager burns out and is on the brink, you can tell, they start behaving in a Hitler type fashion and have a very intense look about them, though it may just be possessive jealousy because their lover is part of the set up, or they have artistic talents which are being crushed by the forest money making ethic.
Everything in this world is upside down. In the future, artists will have more say, far more, probably when they overcome the ego. We have inherited these traits from a dodgy system and our brainwashed parents, are we sure we want to do things the same way as them?
As far as I am concerned, there is not enough actual creativity going on within forest walls, and more hierarchical folly and self importance, but that is normal, if not natural. The main past time is- getting waisted. It may be more productive to get high on the art itself rather than superficial substances. I don't blame the "forest" for that, it is the individual.
I have not passed judgement here as to whether people should be paid or not, this post simply accepts that it is going on, from the viewpoint of a multiple artist and volunteer. Without volunteers, the show is over. Without artists, the show won't exist in the first place.
The forest is yet to get going with the cultural and in particular, "education" aspect proper. There is potential, but is it being realised? Can it be realised under the current ways and outlook? And is there the thought that it cannot happen unless there is money? Basic human virtues come first, this will determine the true hierarchy once we get down, or, up to it.
Just a few thoughts, they are not aimed at hurting, the forest needs feedback.
Peace and productivity, without money if need be.....

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:55 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:02 pm
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Location: Edinburgh, UK
spark wrote:
Every so often we find ourselves collectively or individually looking into a mirror. Indeed, it may be necessary in order to move forward. That is not to say that I have the responsibility or left to create the mirror, but it will always come from somewhere, better from someone with experience I should think.


any feedback is welcome, whatever experience of the critic. any conceptions or misconcepions that people not as involved in the nuts and bolts of the forest have are handy so we know how the forest flows and where we need to inform the pubic more of.

Quote:
The forest working groups are made up of "EMPLOYEES" and "VOLUNTEERS". To see it any other way would be to lie to ourselves.


the words are prefectly valid to describe positions in the forest, but capitalising them throughout your msg is a bit over the top.

Quote:
The forest is a hierarchy, you would be kidding yourself if you thought otherwise. To quote one kitchen manager in the past 'the forest is a level playing field, not a pyramid'. This is someone who may be lying to themselves.


yes and no.

yes, the forest is not a flat heirarchy. there is the Forest Working Group that deals with budgets and major Forest issues. if you attend general working groups for a few months, participate in the consensus process, deal with action points, be trustworthy, reliable, nice, etc, then there's a high chance you'll be invited to join. (it isn't the most defined of processes, but hey, the forest is organic)

no, the forest is a level playing field. all working grous are open for people to attend and participate in. prove oneself as not being a dick and one can get more responsibility - this is entirly fair as we want to avoid folk who don't really care about the forest's core values getting to influence important decisions. all you need is effort, time and a good spirit.

Quote:
As a volunteer, I feel that the forest, as an "arts/ cultural/ education charity, sees me as some sort of slave (crude term perhaps). As someone who only exists to be used as labour, someone with no other interests within the forest, and no other abilities, other than what I can offer the forest in terms of hard labour.


are you saying that you have no other interests in the various things that go on in the forest? though i doubt you have no other abilities. every volunteer provides their labour to the forest in some form or another. some positions require so much commitment and/or are arduious enough that we pay money to people fuilling those roles.

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Earning power means nothing in an artists community, it should not bring automatic authority in my opinion.


the money does not provide the authority. the consensus decided roles and rules of the forest provide the authority.

Quote:
The forest machine is looking at money, even when it looks at and deals with artists and the arts, the emphasis is often on money, as if, if we have more money, then we will have better art. This of course is a nonsense.


can you please provide an example of where money, other than money required to keep the forest running, has overridden artist values?

Quote:
Those who may even no longer have any time and energy to pursue their art because the forest sucks all their time and energy, and inspiration with it.


sucks all their time and energy? you do know about the wide variety of artist facilities vailable at the forest? no volunteer has to commit all their time to the forest. some people don't have the lifeskill of knowing when not to bite off more than they can chew, and i have done this myself before, both at the forest and on other projects, but one can always say hey, sorry, i need a bit of a break before i come back to continue or whatever.

Quote:
Of course, if you are an EMPLOYEE, then you need to meet certain demands and fulfil your contract, which is not the same as being a volunteer, is it?


true, though it's not logically correct that saying the above leads to ...

Quote:
So the forest is a pyramid hierarchy then.


Quote:
One which claims to serve artists but is capable of destroying them.


you seem to have had a bad experience at the forest, but, as i noted in my late reply to your oher post, there are paths you can take, paths decided by forest consensus, to deal with such issues. to be honest, i get the impression that, for whatever reason, you have not taken these paths and instead stored up a lot of resentment.

Quote:
There has been no music rehearsal space in the forest for two months. Is this the result of none musician minds?


i don't know how much you've communicated with other sound team volunteers, but elodie was on holiday recently and is looking to start work on the cave at some point soon. if you're interested in helping out, please do contact her as i'm sure she'd be interested in some help or other.

Quote:
The musicians are among the bottom feeders of the forest, the kitchen volunteers get tips and the kitchen manager paid, as if it is they who bring in the money and the live music and stage are provided to musicians/ performers as some sort of gift to them from the forest.


musicians can get free food from the cafe at the kitchen/night manager's discretion. sound team members can get a free drink or snack style food if it's a lengthy shift.

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Yet another kitchen manager burns out and is on the brink, you can tell, they start behaving in a Hitler type fashion and have a very intense look about them


godwin's law. seriously, if you have any issues with a particular KM, speak to another KM, an admin, or come to the monthly volunteer meeting and air your issues without naming names.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 1:07 am 
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Joined: Tue May 12, 2009 2:27 pm
Posts: 6
Quote:
The forest working groups are made up of "EMPLOYEES" and "VOLUNTEERS". To see it any other way would be to lie to ourselves.


This is true but is not a bad thing at all. Even though i am 'only' a volunteer I have been listened to and my ideas considered just as valid as employees of the forest in every working group i have attended. I think it is a really good example of how well new people and ideas are welcomed into the forest.

Quote:
As a volunteer, I feel that the forest, as an "arts/ cultural/ education charity, sees me as some sort of slave (crude term perhaps). As someone who only exists to be used as labour, someone with no other interests within the forest, and no other abilities, other than what I can offer the forest in terms of hard labour.


There is no compulsion for anyone who come to the forest to volunteer any more than he or she chooses to. Even when you are volunteering if you feel tired you can take a break. I think the slave term is rather misjudged. 'the forest' gives so much more than it asks. If a person wishes to put on an event there is no demand that that person is a volunteer or that they in anyway pay the forest to put on the event. Sound equipment, stage lighting, projectors, etc etc are all provided free. If your event is at night all the people who are running the event and are taking responsibility for the building and space are doing this altruistically. If you wish to attend a workshop such as drama these are free.

I am not sure who you are expecting to provide you with the recognition that you feel you deserve - or provide you with the opportunities that you feel that you are lacking. Everything that goes on in the forest will happen with a large degree of volunteer involvement and is usually only successful if it includes a massive dose of motivation from one or two people. Even if these people are employees they will be working far in excess of their contracted responsibilities (eg a KM running a workshop). If you want the forest to do more for you in essence you are asking that more volunteers give up their time to support you. If you have put an event on people will have already done this for you.

I strongly disagree with your comments on the cave. do you really think that there is someone in the forest who trying to sabotage the cave and stop it ever being used as a rehersal space. Sometimes things take a while to sort out - but things can happen much faster if those who want to use the facilities get involved in the running of them rather than expecting other people to do it for them.

I also think the comments on money dont really show any understanding of how the forest runs. The forest is a huge space. If it was really focused on cash and profit it could make a lot of money. At the moment money is a worry as the forest has to pay the bills to survive. it has to do certain admin to avoid being closed down by the council. Art does not exist in a vacuum - no matter how artist or creative a space the forest is it will end if the rent is not found every month. And some months finding the rent is really hard.

It is up to you if you feel there is not enough creativity going on to make more of it. But do not expect to be treated any differently to anyone else because you consider yourself to be an artist.


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