ELLIE AS OFFICE TEMP AT GLEEDS

OVER SUMMER 2006 ELLIE WAS COMMISSIONED BY PRIME TO TAKE PART IN THE PROJECT ‘PART-TIME’. FOR 'PART-TIME' THREE ARTISTS WERE ASKED TO SPEND FOUR WEEKS WORKING UNDERCOVER IN A LOW-WAGE JOB AND TO GENERATE WORK IN RESPONSE TO THEIR NEW SURROUNDINGS.

UNFORTUNATELY ELLIE WAS NOT ABLE TO FIND STEADY EMPLOYMENT FOR THE FULL FOUR WEEKS. INSTEAD SHE HAD A VARIETY OF EXPERIENCES WITH TEMP JOBS AND RECRUITMENT AGENCIES AS SHE DESPERATELY LOOKED FOR WORK. THESE INCLUDED: BEING INTERVIEWED FOR A ELECTRICITY METER INSTALLATION JOB, FILING AND COPY TYPING IN THE OFFICE OF A CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, USHERING AN EVENT AT WHICH THE ‘CELEBRITY’ GUEST WAS AN OZZY LOOK-A-LIKE, DATA INPUTTING FOR A SMALL EBAY BUSINESS, PACKING ST TROPEZ TAN MITTS ON A PRODUCTION LINE, DOING DOOR-TO-DOOR SALES FOR ‘CHARITY’ AND GETTING UP AT 5:30AM TO ‘SIGN-IN’ AT LABOUR READY. THESE EXPERIENCES ARE DESCRIBED IN DETAIL ON ELLIE’S WORK BLOG.

AS A WAY OF DOCUMENTING THE PROCESS, ELLIE DECIDED TO KEEP A RECORD OF EVERYTHING SHE DID, 24 HOURS A DAY FOR THE FULL FOUR WEEK PERIOD. SHE CATEGORISED HER TIME INTO A SERIES OF 17 DIFFERENT ACTIVITIES SUCH AS ‘EMPLOYMENT’, ‘COMPUTER WORK’ OR ‘EXERCISE’. THE DATA WAS RECORDED IN A POCKET SIZED LOG BOOK AND THEN COMPILED INTO A RAPIDLY EXPANDING SPREADSHEET ON A DAILY BASIS (WHICH BY THE END OF THE FOUR WEEKS CONTAINED 2297 ENTRIES). AS A WAY OF VISUALISING, JUST EXACTLY HOW SHE SPENT HER TIME, ELLIE USED THESE REAMS OF DATA TO CREATE A SERIES OF 28 COLOUR CODED TIMELINES.

THE MOST SIGNIFICANT OUTCOME OF ELLIE’S INVOLVEMENT IN ‘PART-TIME’ HOWEVER, WAS THE BOND THAT DEVELOPED BETWEEN HER AND THE OTHER TWO ARTISTS WHO WERE TAKING PART IN THE PROJECT: JOANNA SPITZNER AND LIZ KEARNEY. THE UNUSUAL UNDERCOVER ROLE THAT PART-TIME DEMANDED MEANT THAT THEY EACH FOUND THEMSELVES OPERATING IN QUITE ISOLATED SITUATIONS. ALTHOUGH THEY WERE IN DIFFERENT AREAS OF THE COUNTRY: ELLIE – NOTTINGHAM, JOANNA – BLACKPOOL AND LIZ – LIVERPOOL, THEIR SHARED EXPERIENCE OF SEARCHING FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKING AS UNDERCOVER ARTISTS ALLOWED THEM TO EMPATHISE – SUPPORTING AND ASSISTING EACH OTHER THROUGH THE PROCESS.

AS A WAY OF FORMALISING THIS THREE-WAY RELATIONSHIP ELLIE, JOANNA AND LIZ DECIDED TO UNIONISE IN OPPOSITION TO THEIR EMPLOYER PRIME AND CREATE THE UNION OF UNDERCOVER ARTISTS. THEY ELECTED A SPOKESWOMAN BY THE NAME OF TINA GURLEY FLYNN WHO WOULD BE THEIR REPRESENTATIVE VOICE AND FROM THAT POINT ONWARDS WOULD ENTER INTO ALL COMMUNICATION AND NEGOTIATION WITH PRIME ON THEIR BEHALF.

ELLIE HARRISON’S WORK BLOG

DAILY TIMELINES

UNION OF UNDERCOVER ARTISTS WEBSITE

LABOUR READY WINDOW DISPLAY
LOG BOOKS



PRIME VS THE UNION OF UNDERCOVER ARTISTS