‘Is your salary enough to cover your living expenses?’ ‘No.’ Precarious cultural work in Serbia…

Posted: 24/09/2013 in free archaeology, News & Analysis
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Radical Education Collective worker and (Slovenian) Moderna Galerija curator Bojana Piškur and Škart Collective worker Djordje Balmazović have conducted a Workers’ Inquiry (which Vanja Savić translated), which has found ‘deteriorating economic circumstances and working conditions’, ‘declining control over the reproduction and distribution of their ideas, knowledge and commodities’, and sometimes violent political pressure (via Art Leaks (@Art_Leaks)).

They have no future, and ‘can’t think about the future’

Many cultural workers’ (including museum workers’) ‘whole li[ves are] very unstable… [and] insecur[e]’. They have ‘no security whatsoever’; they ‘can’t think about the future, because… there is a permanent possibility that [they] will lose [their] job’; or they endure ‘precarious nomadism or, plainly speaking, “gastarbeiter” work’.

Leave the country or die working

Those workers ‘keep thinking about [leaving the country] all the time’; they even ‘wonder whether [they will] live long enough to [have a] retirement’. Still, they resist. There is widespread and deep engagement in workers’ protests (and following of workers’ news, including ‘especially in Greece’.)

Censorship and self-censorship

Workers have also testified that they have to engage in ‘a high degree of auto censorship [self-censorship]… because of the fact that one addresses people who have to approve funds’ (or have ‘impos[ed] upon them directives of the ruling party or the donor’, or have their works directly ‘censored’ or simply ‘rejected’).

Extreme right-wing violence

On top of everything else, they live and work under the constant ‘pressure of extreme right-wing organizations [that includes]… open incidents and attacks’.


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