Roundtable Report - Volunteering in the Cultural Sector

As part of the event series ‘Re-Imagining Leiden Shorts‘, which took place in Leiden in September 2023, we held a roundtable with the participation of cultural workers and film professionals from various organisations and backgrounds to critically discuss the notion of volunteering in the cultural sector.

Festivals, museums, art galleries, and various cultural institutions, including Leiden Shorts, all rely on volunteers to realise their vision and programmes. Volunteering for a cultural event is a great way to gain more professional experience, get to know organisations from within, engage with creative ideas, network, and, well, have fun. But are we, as cultural organisations, transparent enough about our expectations and demands? When does volunteering turn into labour? How can we create more fair guidelines and practices to ensure that volunteering remains conducive and fair for both sides?

To document and further disseminate the insights and findings of this roundtable, we have compiled a short report that suggests several definitions of volunteering as well as recommendations for cultural organisations and funders.

We wish to thank all the participants and organisations who contributed to this discussion and report.