Speak Up: ACTiON Logo

“A clear indication of arts workers’ experiences and how future Dignity at Work interventions may be shaped”
Irish Theatre Institute

Irish Theatre Institute has had an overwhelming response to its recent Speak Up ACTiON Survey. Launched in February 2021, the online survey invited workers across the arts sector to provide information on their workplace experiences, including bullying and harassment.  

The survey brings together the experiences of arts workers in a range of contexts, and will be crucial in establishing the conditions for a safe and dignified workplace for all those engaged in the arts in Ireland.

The 1,343 people who responded from right across the country, well exceeded the target set for the survey. Almost two thirds of respondents were freelance arts workers, who were also among the most vulnerable when the pandemic hit. The survey was initiated by the theatre sector, but over 50% of participants were from across other artforms, including music, visual art, literature, dance, circus and opera.

The first analysis of the data is underway, and is due to be announced in June 2021, with a Findings Report including further detail following in Autumn 2021.

Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Minister Catherine Martin said: “The Speak Up ACTiON Survey across the arts sector will provide very important information, evidence and analysis on Dignity at Work issues and will inform future programme actions. I am very pleased to learn of not only the high rates of response but also of its wide representation across the arts sector. I wish to thank the Irish Theatre Institute for their important work and all those who contributed towards the survey.”   

Siobhán Bourke of Irish Theatre Institute said: “Irish Theatre Institute is very grateful to all of those who took the time to complete the survey and make their voices heard. We thank them for their contribution towards a stronger and safer sector for all. The feedback we have received will give a clear indication of what is really happening in people’s working lives and how future interventions may be shaped.”

By providing an overview of incidents, frequency, type and context of bullying, harassment, sexual harassment and other experiences of artists and arts workers across all publicly funded artforms, the survey will inform policy, and provide supports and training. In parallel with the survey, a suite of training tools is being developed for arts organisations to utilise, in order to build awareness of such issues and how to respond effectively to them. These initiatives will be announced in June, alongside the Survey findings.  

Speak Up ACTiON is the first step in Phase II of Irish Theatre Institute’s Speak Up programme. This is a follow-up to 2018’s Speak Up & Call It Out Programme – Safeguarding the Future of Irish Theatre, a sector initiative led by Irish Theatre Institute (ITI) and supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, the Arts Council, and the Irish Theatre sector. The survey is a cross arts sector initiative recognising that issues exist across a number of artforms.

If you wish to keep in touch concerning future Speak Up updates please email info@irishtheatreinstitute.ie with the subject line Speak Up Mailing List.