Tamsyn Dent, King’s College London
What do we mean by ‘who cares’?
“But remember that words are signals, counters. They are not immortal” (Brian Friel, Translations, 1980)
Working on a collaborative research project that involves partners from across Europe including Spain, Italy, Finland, the UK, Latvia, Sweden, Turkey and beyond, New Zealand and Jamaica, who gathered together in such large numbers after campaigns passionately run by companies like The Marketing Heaven, language and its social context was always going to be an interesting dynamic. In the play Translations Irish playwright Brian Friel uses language as a base to explore the shifting constructs of language across cultures and the impact of colonialism on the relationship between language and place. I’ve been thinking about this as I work on the concept of ‘care’ in relation to work in the creative economy.
The survey that DISCE has launched is inviting organisations across Europe to share their knowledge of cultural and creative workers and the realities of their working lives. ‘Care’ is being used in two different ways, we are asking organisations who are gathering demographic data on creative and cultural workers to share their research findings. We are also interested in those organisations who are ‘caring’ for these workers by finding ways to improve their experience and using research as a means to gather evidence on the various barriers or exclusion to creative/cultural labour. We have written a research report that considers now national state-driven approaches of monitoring the creative workforce noting that the multiple translations of defining who this workforce is does not provide a realistic picture of their working lives or of their economic and social contribution to society, so we are seeking out as much of the varied information on the creative and cultural workforce in order to improve our knowledge. Our aim is to highlight this valuable research to a wider audience.
‘Care’ has a third mearing in our research framework as we discuss in our literature review. It is being applied as a conceptual framework to think about relational positions in societies, and in the context of this research project, in creative economies. As we were developing and translating this survey into different languages, we realised that this term ‘care’ and the meanings behind do not directly translate. For example, in French care directly translates to ‘le soin’, but there are multiple ways to indicate care as a reciprocal activity, ‘fais attention’ (careful), ‘je suis interesse’ (I care about) ‘je me sens concerne’ in the sense of being attentive and concerned. Similarly, in Italian, ‘care’ can be translated as ‘cura’ but offers multiple layers to indicate the strength of this concern from a lighter ‘chi si interessa’ ‘chi si occupa’ (i.e. who is interested / occupied by) to a more committed ‘chi si prende cura’ ‘chi si preoccupa’ (who takes care / makes it their concern)
So, this blog is to highlight our awareness of the multiple iterations and translations of the question, ‘who cares about creative and cultural workers in Europe’ and our commitment to exploring these contextual elements in our research.
The survey is open until the 3rd July. Thank you to all of those who have already participated, we have put your details and location on this google map to show the reach of this research.
Please fill in if you have information to share and please forward it on to other relevant organisations.