Welcome Social Media and Metaverse Wombles. This is episode 19. Today I'm going to be talking about and this was a tricky one because when I swim I kind of use it as a post production or pre production. Time before recording this because I go for the swim.
Walking back through the park. I reflect on what it is that I want to say as concisely as possible in this podcast and then sit down at a park bench after drying it because can bit damp now because it's autumn I think I had a couple of topics but the one that I was contemplating whilst I was swimming was class.
Access and class actually or class depending I guess whether you're from the north from the south, and this is where for me, class is a tricky one. Because as you can hear from my accent, I have a Midlands northern use of my vowels. But my parents and my family are from London and from the East End of London specifically. So my grandfather was a genuine cockney having been born within the sound of Bow Bells and not just apocryphal, but actually Yes, indeed. I have those stereotypical grandparents who were often probably an orphan kids I'm going too far, but they grew up in a very, very rough area of the East End of London in the 1920s and 30s. And when my parents sort of grew up, I suppose Yes, my parents grew up. They took an opportunity to that was around at the time, which is probably in the late 60s, to be able to move to some of the new garden towns and Garden City towns or move out to the suburbs. I'm not quite sure what reasoning was on why the Exodus happened, but it certainly happened. I spoke about it in a previous podcast actually. But they moved up to Grantham and so this accent, whatever it is, is a Grantham accent. I'm in the East Midlands in Lincolnshire, at that strange nexus between Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, and Derbyshire, which I now live in long Eaton and this podcast is Westpark park bench podcast park bench in West Park, which is in the heart of long Eaton.
So why am I going to talk about class and access and I've just finished a year long Arts Council funded D Y C P and D Y C P stands for developing your creative practice. It's very, very sought after fund and I was very, I was actually very humbled to have been awarded it. It wasn't something that I had tried for time and time again and I know there are people who submit a couple of times and then you have to have a break and then you can submit twice and then and there are people that are eager to be able to use that funds to be able to develop a creative practice that they already have. So I'm incredibly privileged to have applied for it having been advised to do so because I was struggling to find a way to move forward from a career in stage management, which was a I work a job, I worked for fair to companies I was employed on contracts.
I was introduced to the Union equity as a worker got my equity membership after the time that it was compulsory. So there's still a lot of myths around the equity membership. So there is I was doing my first graduation jobs and interns and stuff in the late 90s. Yes, I am that old and there was no closed shop then, you know, the union was an something that you apply to. There were people who would introduce you to it but so I very much feel that I have working class roots. Now how do you define class because depending on socio economic, academics and from a lot of application forms at the moment, which is why this podcast is kind of coming about because I'm having to analysis size analysis analyse what this part of my existence really is. I had support from the Arts Council for a support worker for my dyslexia, and that was the first time I'd ever asked for any support. It's always something that I really felt hindered me not being able to muster what was in my head and putting it down on paper. And having a support worker has just been mind blowing and reflecting on how that access has been so valuable is something that I am putting together for my report. But also, I want to keep her and I really want Fi to stay with me because although there's not a a nursing or medical support that she provides to me, the the psychological and dialectical support that it provides is invaluable to me. And this is why I think this podcast is about class rather than access. Because if I was doing a job where I could afford to pay for an assistant, I would have an assistant to provide this role to support me. So maybe if I was even if I was a worker in a ordinary job, and then we get on to what is ordinary, but I'm not I'm working in the entertainment industry.
I was growing up being told, as we all are, to live your dreams. What do you want to do? What do you want to be and coming from a working class background from a market town? Were actually on the edge of the council estate so you were, I was always made aware that I, was lucky not to live on the council estate. My parents had moved out of there and into their own home. But I was also aware that I needed to better myself. So in some ways and this is something that going through this in my head as made me realised and I would be interested to have this conversation and perhaps with equities class network because there is a class network with equity and I will put the link to that in this podcast.
But as a as a working class child. Sounds really it just all sounds very weird. And what I'm trying to say is you're always told to aspire to be better, as if somehow the thing that you are is not good enough. And and that is that aspiration. There's a difference between aspiration to be better and an aspiration to to do a career or a job that will fulfil you.
And that role I think for for children, especially that come from working class communities, or at least communities that see themselves as not being metropolitan. There's this there's this sense that you're not good enough and that mix between not being good enough because of your class and not being and then aspiring. This is one of those podcasts that is me forming the words of what I'm trying to take forward into some of my applications.
So there's an application that I'm writing at the moment and it's about having support worker and the two criteria that reading through it that I feel that I qualify under is the socioeconomic and the access. So as a dyslexic, but there's some real it's not impostor syndrome because I know I need this service now that I have had Fi and I can see how invaluable it is and I can see how far I've come where I have tried to do this for my entire adult life and have never achieved it. But then I also think there are people that are younger than me who have made it and then we come on to this notion of what does that mean to fake it till you make? It is a problematic phrase at best. And I think I encounter a lot of people who are faking it, but I've never needed or wanted to fake something I'm just always chasing this I need to better myself. And then the question is, Well am I working class or I'm not middle class and these spectrums are really curious. I mean the curios, when it's something that's very internal and very self defined, especially I think, gender identity, there's something within your core that you can hear other people's stories about why they have chosen their point on the spectrum, and then you can internalise that and place yourself on that spectrum.
Neuro diversity is a little bit different because there's a diagnosis route or there is a self identity route. Now my neuro diversity, although I've not had a formal diagnosis that I have a piece of paper, I have over the years, taken part in various medical study at the university. I've taken part in tests, which I don't know if my parents were given the results, but I was never given a metric. I don't know how the academic measurement of dyslexia is defined. All I know is written wise, my writing is not too bad. And I know why it's not too bad because I was taught to write by drawing over letters, and the book gift of dyslexia.
Again, I will put in the link ... explains why that is such a phenomenal way to teach children to write and to identify the alphabet because if you are dyslexic it's a hurdle that you don't encounter because you are doing the same thing as your peers. For them. They're just tracing over letters for you. You're actually building neural pathways that allow you to identify letters and and give a symbolic identity to the letters of the alphabet and those symbolic combinations of letters that make words then become associated with the object.
The access is not the reason I'm doing this podcast. Its class and its socio economic. So when you apply for Arts Council funding, you are asked about your socio economic background. And that socio economic backgrounds asked you what your parents were doing when you were 11. Now when I was 11, my parents were a quality control engineer or quality control worker person at a canning factory. My other parent was a secretary for an insurance company, so secretarial manual labour, but it was manual labour in an office rather than on the mechanical shop floor. So I find it very hard to place my parents within the categories that I'm given and the categories I'm given also make no sense to me. So there's that definition. But I also then the sense of, Well, I actually had a greater opportunity than children of age 11 today that have the same academic position for their parents, and that is that I grew up when I was 11. I cycled to school, but then when I went to secondary school I actually had a grant to go to university. If I had not had that grant, I wouldn't have conceivably at that age have been able to manoeuvre myself into further a higher education.
When I first left university, and I was pursuing my art, my career as a stage manager. I could claim housing benefit and it was assumed that you would I worked for fringe companies who, although you were not paid, it was understood that once a week you would have to go to the job centre and and sign on. It was just part of it. It was it was just part of it. I'm just got to have time when it's about to start to rain.
I'm looking for my rain hat. Do I bring this podcast to a close? Perhaps I do. So this is a dialogue that I really want to have when I'm taking some of my events at the moment into open link which I must must blog about to tell people what it's about so that when I turn up to an open link event and hold a space, I'm not the only person who attends because no one knows it's happening. And the other events that I Want to Hold on Let's Talk VR in VR. They will be in spaces that have 2d access. So if you don't have a headset, that's fine, but I might actually do some VR and VR sessions with an open link session and bring the Oculus headset so potentially people can actually have a go and run the events simultaneously. I hadn't thought of doing that. That would be really cool. So yeah, let me know if you want to have a go at Oculus. I can set it up with Wi Fi anywhere. Two metre square around you, we can do Oculus.
But yeah, I've got to sit down today and I've got to look at this application and try and without being feeling like I'm a hard luck case. But I need to sell my self as someone who would really really benefit from having this money which will enable Fi to spend time with me.
I think it's raining I still feel there's things now that I wanted to include. One of the things that's really important about having Fi as my support worker is her fee. So fee F I her fee F E E and that is that she is paid at a rate at which I would sell my time.
And in fact the rate at which I engage her per hour is slightly more than my hourly rate. I have a daily rate that I've worked out that I want to ask for days within the budget that is provided. So it's 1000 pounds to 1000 pounds budget. And I'm asking for 960 pounds to have six days. So our leaves two hours within that I usually spend an hour at the beginning of the week. With her to really kind of bring myself back into a reality. Non neurodivergent space I think is the value of having Fi and those hours throughout the year would just mean that I don't feel that I'm taking her time as a friend because she has become a friend. But when you are employing or engaging people who are your peers, there's this sense that you want to reward them in a way so although we can do some in kind support, there are demands on her time and mentally from the way I interact with her with that time. It allows me to be quite selfish. I think that's I need the money to selfishly be able to position myself in the reality of a neurotypical world where my neuro divergence can can be free at other times, but there are times when I can then contain that and operate within the neurotypical premises that we have to navigate as neurodivergent. But of course, partly is that I cannot afford to do that right now. Because the way that I have perceived my socio economic background, and how actually feeling that I shouldn't lean on it. But actually, that is a component and I think that's what you know, writing this thing this afternoon is going to be about me coming to terms with that.
So if you've got any comments about that, please do let me know. I'm now getting dripped on by the skies. I'm gonna get back get this up. And thank you so much for listening. If you've got to the end of this podcast, if this is your first episode, this is episode 19. So go back and listen to some of the others. I'm Caron and I am a stage manager and creative producer developing work with speculative fiction to create new plays and new immersive staged performances. And it's raining so farewell