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The Black Box
Hill Street, Belfast, BT1 2LA
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About the Organiser

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About the Event

Last March we had our first COMM/ON and one thing was clear, there was lots to talk about. Unfortunately a free event run by Freelancers for Freelancers has one problem - finding the time to actually organise it.

So here we are a year later, more people have thrown off the shackles of working for someone and are working for themselves, we’ve got an organising committee and we’re giving you COMM/ON 18.

Like before, the point of COMM/ON 18 is the need to network, the need to collaborate, the need to lobby and the need to organise. Whatever we do as freelancers - bakers, tailors, brewers, baristas, entertainers, etc. - we have a COMM/ON bond. This time however we’re focusing on one aspect of being a freelancer that we believe needs urgent attention - Mental Health.

We’ll be joined by mental health professionals and researchers who’ll be looking at the mental health issues that affect freelancers in particular and what we can do about them. But as always the most important part of the event will be about supporting each other, sharing with each other and finding community with others working for themselves.

We’ve also been working to introduce a quarterly, themed mini-COMM/ON event, but more on that later…

COMM/ON 18 will again explore how we as freelancers can improve our working lives, celebrate the contribution that we make to society and build a creative space where we can network, learn and foster new ways of working together.

And afterwards, if you’re not busy, we’ll have a wee drink.

Here's the timetable....

13.30 Arrival

14.00 Welcome

14.10 Group Discussion

One of the reasons why freelancing is so mentally challenging is the isolation, so before we start at all, lets spend some time talking to each other and building the community that can combat this.

What do we think will be the main issues for freelancers and our mental health?

What are the specifics about working for yourself that contribute to this?

14.30 - Mental Health in the Creative Sector
Dr Gillian Shorter is a Lecturer in Psychology at Ulster University with expertise in addictive behaviours and mental health. She will be talking about findings from the upcoming report “Changing Arts and Minds: a survey of health and wellbeing in the Creative Sector”, representing the views of over 350 creative sector workers across Ireland, and inviting comment on what it might mean for you whether you work in the creative sector or not.

14.50 Q&A with Gillian

15.05 Comfort Break

15.15 Group work.

Did Gillian’s presentation surprise you?
Can you connect with the findings?

15.35 - How can we take better care of our mental health?
Amanda Hughes is an experienced counsellor who has been working with Inspire for over ten years. Amanda will deliver a short session on general mental wellbeing and emotional resilience.

15.45 - Q & A with Amanda

16.00 Group Work

Was Amanda’s presentation useful?
Do you feel different about mental health after the presentations?
Are you going to change anything?
How can we as a community support each other.

16.20 - Closing remarks and further informal banter.

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