The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) and Culture Matters are pleased to announce the second edition of their successful Bread and Roses Songwriting and Spoken Word Award.The Musicians' Union is also sponsoring and supporting the Award.
The Award is an example of cultural democracy - the struggle for a more democratic and socialist approach to the arts and all cultural activities, accompanying the struggle of the working class for political and economic democracy. Our aim is to encouraging young and emerging musicians and performers in particular to write material relevant to working-class people, culture and communities.
There is a £100 cash prize for each of the top five entries. The judges will be drawn from practising performers, the CWU, the MU, and members of Culture Matters.
Dave Ward, General Secretary of the CWU, said:
I welcome this continuing partnership with Culture Matters. The arts and culture generally are vital to the labour movement, and working-class communities across the country. We want to build on the grassroots DIY ethic started by punk music, celebrate the new opportunities for working class people to write songs, make music and perform spoken word, and encourage contributions from people who might otherwise not consider entering competitions.
We are sponsoring this Award because we want to encourage our members in the CWU, and working people everywhere, to express themselves creatively on themes that matter to them as workers and which help develop understanding of the cultural struggle for a better world.
So get writing and get performing, and send your entries in!
Attila the Stockbroker, one of the judges, said:
This new Award is a great idea. There’s a real need to encourage younger and emerging performers to write and perform songs and poetry that mean something to ordinary working- class people rather than the mind-numbingly bland rubbish force-fed us by the mainstream music business and media. Get involved – and encourage people you know to get involved!
Paul Dovey, Project Manager, CWU Education and Training Department, said this to CWU colleagues at the launch:
Bread and Roses comes from a quote by Rose Schneiderman, a Polish-American trade union activist, a century ago. She argued that, "The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too." That, in addition enough wages to survive on the workers must have dignity too, so that all humanity should be able to share and contribute to the cultural richness of our civilisation.
Today, when people are queuing at food banks and when TV, film and music are dominated by the Oxbridge elite, we must again demand both Bread and Roses. There is a desperate need to provide a platform for working-class voices. We have always used poetry and song to express ourselves and to share our ideas - and we won't be silenced.
This is a truly democratic artform. All you need is a pen and paper. Any smartphone will download basic recording apps - as good as what most of the classic albums were recorded on.
And as Warlord Baker, one of last year's winners, sang: “one of these days we'll rise up, higher than the tower blocks!
Rules and Guidelines for Submissions
1. Entry is free and is open to all residents of Great Britain, regardless of trade union membership.
2. Entries should broadly deal with any aspect of working-class life, communities, culture and concerns.
3. Entries can be from solo or duo artists/performers, and are actively encouraged from grassroots, younger and emerging performers.
4. Entries should consist of one song or performance of original material, in English, whether previously published or not.
5. Entries should be submitted as audio or live/pre-recorded video files (MP3/4 format or video) via email. All entries will be judged equally, but some video entries may be also selected to feature on the Culture Matters YouTube channel, which is currently in development.
6. Culture Matters will fund five prizes of £100 each.
7. All entries will remain the copyright of the entrant, but CWU and Culture Matters will have the right to publish them online and in other media.
8. The organisers accept no responsibility for entries that are incorrectly submitted or not delivered due to technical faults.
9. By entering the Award, entrants agree to accept and be bound by the rules of the Award and the decisions of the judges.
10. Due to the likely volume of entries, the organisers regret that they cannot enter into correspondence with individual entrants.
The deadline for receipt of submissions is midnight on March 2nd 2019. When emailing submissions, please provide your full name, postal address and phone number. Contact Mollie Brown at the above email address for posters and with any queries on the competition.
Mollie Brown is an activist, student and mother, and an Associate Editor of Culture Matters.