In this episode, we talk to Charlotte Vincent and Robert Clark about parenting in the arts.
Becoming a parent changes the lives of all who do it, but artists often need to make huge decisions about how they will balance the responsibility of caring alongside a profession that requires touring, weekend and evening work and situations where ‘WFH’ just can’t come into play. So how best to navigate these changes?
We start off by finding out what Charlotte and Rob’s dancing lives had looked like pre-children and then probe a little deeper into the considerations that came to the fore, such as touring abroad as they took on caring responsibilities. Charlotte talks us through some of the policies her company has adopted to better support parents which have come out of the need to support her own family as well as those of her workforce. We talk about the various ’stages’ we go through as parents depending on whether children are pre-nursery or in school and how this might help or hinder our working schedules. Indeed the topic of scheduling is pertinent and we discuss how companies can better do this to support the needs of families.
The effects of the pandemic come into so many of our conversations on this podcast and this one is no exception. We chuckle about video-bombing during those homeschooling periods but also reflect upon how parents have become more visible during the last few years, our nurturing responsibilities no longer kept so separate from our working lives. We also compare some of the case studies in Vincent Dance Theatre’s report of 2009, A Dancers Perspective, to those of today and wondered whether we have made as much change as we would like…
The subject of power arises – between genders but also between organisations and freelances and how we can use our ’powers’, when and if we have them, as a force for much-needed change. We talk about speaking up about our responsibilities within employment negotiations, of organisations taking the time to find out about their employees’ infrastructures and support networks in order to understand what flexibility is there (or not there) and discuss the work that inspirational bodies in our sector such as Dance Mama and Parents & Carers In Performing Arts are doing.
And finally, we reflect on the creativity being a parent can bring and the changes it has made to the choreographic and artistic approaches of both Charlotte and Rob.