Precarity in the Arts in Peterborough: A Festival

Precarious Arts & Work Festival launched October 25th in The Sapphire Room, to kick off a month of shows, events from all disciplines. Kate Story, one of the coordinators of the festival, alongside her partner Ryan Kerr, claims she “wanted to create a festival where you have a real mix of the arts and also discussions.”

The festival will take place over a month with the theme of precarity taking center stage. This is fitting in light of the recent closing of The Spill, where the launch of Precarious was originally supposed to take place. Su Ditta, chair of the Electric City Culture Council is excited for Precarious “because it’s a smart festival… because the issue of precarity is something that’s on everyone’s minds.”

Precarious will feature 50 local artists over the next month from all disciplines all across Peterborough/Nogojiwanong. Groups like Rock Camp for Girls and Ring O Rosie, and individuals like Jerm IX and Elisha Rubacha are all united under the Precarious banner for a month. Venues like The Garnet, The Theater on King, Star X, Market Hall will all play host to the festival. Story says that takes place over a longer period of time than most festivals “so that you can deepen the discussions and the multivalent experience that people can have.”

Not only will Precarious be an opportunity for the community to get to know their artist community through their products, but it will be a way for the artist community to take their own temperature. This is being done through the first ever “Status of the Artist” survey in Peterborough. The survey will look to get a snapshot of the experiences of artists in terms of “living conditions, working conditions, wages, health benefits, studios” of artists, says Su Ditta.

Kate Story believes it’s important to have this survey because “a lot of the stats on artists are country wide, or province wide or out of Toronto…it’s really good to get a sense of how people in Peterborough are doing and making a living.” Su Ditta highlights that precarity is “extra acute for artists who are often not paid for their work, and often work in the service industry with very little permanence.”

Local artist Rhys Climenhage is “looking forward to more talk about the living conditions of artists in Peterborough.”

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About Josh Skinner 66 Articles
Josh Skinner is a loose cannon that gets results in the field of Journalism. He began in Radio doing interviews with local community members with his show Trent Variety, in 2015 he produced his own radio series for CanoeFM titled My Lands are the Highlands, both of which you can find at He has since decided to pick up writing at Arthur Newspaper and can often be found lurking in the shadows at City Council meetings, observing high octane conversations about city planning and zoning.