Creative Dundee

Fair Work

As defined by the Fair Work Convention, “fair work is work that offers all individuals an effective voice, opportunity, security, fulfilment and respect”. Creative Dundee is dedicated to rooting Fair Work principles in our policies and processes. This commitment reflects the Scottish Government’s target of becoming a Fair Work nation by 2025, and guides how we work together and support our staff team.

These principles extend to inform what, why and how we produce our work, and how we work with others – including our board, freelancers, partners, communities and audiences. We strive to foster a creative ecosystem that is inclusive, enriching, transparent and socially responsible.

This statement reflects our work as of April 2024, acknowledging that we as individuals and a team are always learning and unlearning, seeking to better centre fair ways of working across all that we do.

We are committed to advancing fair work principles through centring the following five dimensions of the Fair Work Framework.

Effective Voice

We support effective voice by creating channels for open and honest dialogue within our team. Each person is involved in decision-making, and we collectively develop ways to act on feedback and ideas. Our work as an organisation is guided by the full team and those we connect with more widely, and it’s therefore crucial to ensure we each feel we can be heard.

Regular opportunities and processes for contribution include weekly team meetings, quarterly board meetings, regular 1-1s, away days, and fortnightly ‘reimagining’ sessions – which any team member can lead – as well as less formal communication, like conversation as we work together in our workspace, and exchange through digital platforms like email and Slack. A Staff Handbook is readily available and regularly updated, which details our commitments and policies.

When working and connecting with freelancers, we aim to create channels for people to be heard within the organisation and wider sector. This includes inviting feedback and insights through direct communication, paid consultation, surveys, working groups, events, live audits, social media and project evaluations. We are also intentional about sharing gathered insights, so as to be transparent and open about the data we collect. We establish clear processes and points of contact when working with freelancers, to ensure the way we work accounts for their needs.


We actively cultivate an environment that recognises and nurtures talent and potential. We encourage the unique strengths and skills of team members through creating space for risk, experimentation, failure and learning. As a small team with limited internal career progression, we actively encourage weaving personal ambitions and motivations into programme development.

Team members take part in biannual Individual Contribution Reviews with the director to identify and support development and ambitions. Each person has an annual learning budget to use at their discretion alongside taking part in team-wide opportunities that respond to the aspirations and principles of the organisation. Our recruitment processes are ever-evolving to be equitable and remove barriers, aspiring to fair practice – given that even ‘best practices’ can offer room for improvement.

When working and connecting with freelancers, we regularly revisit and update our pool of potential contributors, and we prioritise and advocate for commissioning freelancers who live in, work in or have close ties to our place. We extend development opportunities to freelancers where appropriate, and facilitate programmes within and opportunities outwith the organisation that enable connections, skill development, mentoring and peer-support.


We strive to nurture and enrich the positive wellbeing and personal fulfilment of our team, enabling people to find meaning in their work while providing the support needed to do this responsibly and realistically. 

We foster an environment that invites individuals to bring their whole selves to work if they wish to. Successes big and small are celebrated, and failure is an opportunity to learn and regroup, accompanied by accountability. Team members work four days a week pro rata, and are trusted to manage their own schedules and workloads. Flexible and hybrid working are encouraged, and we are responsive to individual needs, including mental health, physical health, travel and caring responsibilities. Staff are supported through an annual wellbeing budget, a Cycle2Work scheme and employer pension contribution. 

When working and connecting with freelancers, we aspire to keep opportunities open to experimentation and interpretation in order to facilitate meaningful commissions and projects that enable people to lead direction and develop their practice. We work to build trusted relationships with people in order for them to feel able to be open and transparent about their needs and aspirations – and, when possible, we adapt deadlines and outputs to respond to this.


We prioritise nurturing a workplace culture built on mutual respect. Everyone is treated with dignity, and we understand that diverse perspectives and experiences enrich our team. Individual and collective conduct and interactions are expected to be guided by respect, honesty, consideration and compassion.

We work to create a psychologically safe space built on trust to discuss important matters, and understand that a person’s experiences, identity, values and beliefs inform what they bring to the workplace. Differing views and perspectives deepen discussion and challenge stagnancy; our differences and individual knowledge contribute to the common enrichment of our work through mutual, constructive support of one another. We purposefully create time and space to discuss topics that are important to and impact wider society, with the understanding that all learning and expanded awareness developed as a team directly impacts those we work and connect with. Team members should expect to work free from bullying, discrimination, harassment or victimisation, and conflict is managed with care and towards constructive outcomes.

When working and connecting with freelancers, we acknowledge that our collaborative and interpersonal nature does not mitigate the power and responsibility we hold as an organisation. We consciously consider who is represented in the work we do and how we can better develop meaningful opportunities that amplify marginalised voices and underrepresented experiences. We dedicate time and care to communicating and connecting with freelancers, ensuring that we’re accessible and accountable, and balancing being personable and professional.


We are committed to fair working conditions and just financial practices. We pay the Real Living Wage and have been an accredited Living Wage Employer since 2019. Team members are offered PAYE contracts; we do not offer zero hour contracts or unpaid internships, and oppose the use of fire and rehire practice.

We recognise that we work in a precarious sector and acknowledge the impact that this has on team wellbeing. We practise good financial management to ensure organisational stability. Quarterly transparency on budget matters offers individuals the opportunity to be familiar with our current standing. Team members contribute to and lead on funding applications to ensure understanding of decision-making and planning.

When working and connecting with freelancers, we understand the precarity of working freelance and are committed to fair working conditions. This includes providing clear briefs, with email communication as written agreement for short-term or small commissions, and with agreements and advances for long-term or large commissions. We refer to industry guidance (e.g. Scottish Artists Union, rates of pay guidance from Creative Scotland) when paying freelancers for creative work, and to other guidance for payment of non-creative work. We pay invoices promptly, usually within 14 days, and advocate for fair rates of pay for creative practitioners.

Guidance for freelancers

Freelance cultural and creative workers are a vital part of Dundee’s creative ecosystem – each bringing individual expertise, perspectives, talent and values to the work that they do, and adding depth, clarity and imagination to the projects, businesses and organisations they work with.

Freelancers make up the majority of the creative workforce in Scotland, with 97.3% of Creative Industries registered enterprises classed as small. It’s essential that, through the support of organisations and funders in the sector, freelance creative practitioners and small businesses are extended the respect and appropriate support that anyone in a salaried position should expect to receive.

The Illustrated Freelancer’s Guide is a free, practical resource for the increasing number of creative practitioners working freelance in Scotland today. Written by Heather Parry, illustrated by Maria Stoian and published by Creative Scotland.

To help employers in the creative and cultural sector better understand Fair Work practices – including working with freelancers – Creative Scotland commissioned The Illustrated Fair Work Guide. This guide was written by Jeanie Scott of Culture Radar with writers Morvern Cunningham and Chris Sharratt, edited by Heather Parry and illustrated by Maria Stoian.

Development, business and network organisations across Scotland provide practical support, advocacy, networking, resources and visibility to creative workers, projects and organisations. This includes broader sector support – a list compiled by Creative Scotland.

There are also grassroots projects and organisations advocating for creative freelancers, many of which seek to provide a platform for underrepresented and marginalised practitioners. Some include the Inklusion guide, We Are Here Scotland, Sanctuary Queer Arts, Neuk Collective and Scottish Working Class Network.

Associations and unions that support specific creative disciplines and industries in Scotland and the UK (which may be paid subscription or membership-based services) exist to provide advice, resources, professional development and networking opportunities to freelancers and practitioners.

Advice on rates of pay and industry standard practices naturally vary between industries, projects and individuals; talking to peers or mentors and researching your industry or discipline is necessary when either setting or adjusting your own rates and fees. Creative Scotland have a rates of pay signposting guide which gives an outline of available support. Creative Dundee refer to the Scottish Artists Union recommended rates of pay guidance as a starting point for anyone who contacts us looking to better understand how to fairly commission creative practitioners (though we appreciate that their rates are not applicable to every kind of creative commission or service).

If you have any questions relating to Fair Work and Creative Dundee, please get in touch.


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