Movie Screening and Discussion – 12 November, 6pm

We will be hosting a movie screening of “Sorry we missed you”, film by Ken Loach and a discussion on “precarious lives in the gig economy”.

The screening will start at 6pm at Belmont Filmhouse (49 Belmont St) on 12 November, followed by the discussion at the bar around 8pm. Tickets can be purchased online though if you are a student Belmont card you can get a discount if you buy on the day. They will cost £4 pounds. Otherwise average ticket price applies.

© Joss Barratt

After his highly acclaimed socio-political drama “I, Daniel Blake”, Ken Loach releases another striking timely tragedy, where on-demand platforms force people into self-entrepreneurship, irregular employment and precarious living conditions. In his new Cannes-celebrated film “Sorry we missed you”, the 83-year old director dives into the reality of working in the so-called ‘gig economy’, the peak of our contemporary neoliberal work culture. Set in Newcastle, it tells the story of a forty-something couple, Ricky (Kris Hitchen) and his wife Abbie (Debbie Honeywood) both depend on zero-hour contracts to support their young family. One working as a home carer and the other in a parcel-delivery company, they experience the devastating impacts of lacking employment stability, indebtedness and the vicious circle of insecurity.

“You don’t work for us, you work with us…”

We aim to show the parallels of fact, fiction and experience. After the screening, we will have a discussion with a researcher, a platform worker and the audience, to better understand the present ‘patchwork livelihood’ of the gig economy. It is not only Uber, Deliveroo and Airbnb that are visibly transforming urban spaces and employment statuses, but also invisible challenges towards self-management practices which the Silicon Valley Zeitgeist poses to European societies. A general dismantling of social security mechanisms and the emergence of platforms serving as ‘extractive apparatuses’, leads scholars to speak of a so-called ‘platformization of European labour markets’ and concurrent ‘destabilization of life through employment’.

In relation to both the film and insights from current research and personal experience, we want to ask: Are gig workers the ‘new precariat’? Considering the specific role of women, migrants and youth in the labour market, how are intersectional inequalities played out in a global labour market? What are the possibilities of empowerment and resistance against surveillance-driven algorithmic platform management? And what are the specific challenges for civil society, labour institutions and political systems to secure stable livelihoods of its citizens?

The event is c o-organized by the Sociology Society and Vicky Kluzik, who is a PhD student in Sociology investigating transnational dis/continuities of social inequalities in the digital economy.