Freelance Tour of England 2018

Freelance Foundation – Tour of England 2018 – Report for all our patrons, associates and friends and how you can be a part of it 

( Collated by Freelance Foundation Documentation Team and from Facebook : Wordcon Channel)

Shorter version : 1 min video trailer – Directorial Debut of Priyam B Wordsmith Jr- I in England

Freelance Foundation is a  charity registered in Calcutta and works with the following mission.

The Mission: Primary mission was to spread the message of Freelance Foundation through lectures, travel, one to one discussion, institutional interaction and playing the game of cricket.  The secondary mission was to provide two young associates exposure to work and deliver under adverse and semi-adverse circumstances.

The Motto: Harmonizing Income, Leisure and Fame

The Team: Pritam B Wordsmith, Chairman, Freelance Foundation, Mr. Priyam B Wordsmith, Jr. I, trainee youngster, Mr. Anik Gupta, Head of Events and Logistics.

Duration: 19th Sept – 28th Sept 2018

Locations Covered: London, Birmingham, Aston,  Oxford

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The Heritage and History of the Tour

On 30th Dec 2017, Wordsmith Communication – the permanent and seminal sponsor of Freelance Foundation hosted a retro style cricket match in NKDA Cricket Ground Calcutta and it was conceived to have a similar match in British soil. In 2018, Freelance Foundation conducted a 4-city tour of India, namely Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Calcutta and gathered a considerable patrons, associates and well-wishers.

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It was just after the successful Tour of India 2018, the Trustee Board approved the Tour of England, presumably being convinced of the effectiveness of the model presently termed as “Cashless Model of Patronage” where individuals and institutions provide us facilities and the Foundation keeps all the events free to attend in return and the model is sustainable and scalable with some seeding fund provided by Wordsmith Communication and others.

Brief Description of the Tour of England 2018

The relationship of Britain with Wordsmith and by association, Freelance Foundation goes back to 2004/2005 when Chairman Pritam B Wordsmith left his job as Deputy General Manager of Tata Communications and landed in Starthclyde Business School, Glasgow as a British Chevening Scholar and boarding a British Airways direct flight from Calcutta to London Heathrow (CCU à LHR and now this is extant) in a chilling February morning of 2005. This relationship matured and in one of the addresses in London and also  in last Wordcon International Conference in the Park, Calcutta where British Deputy High Commissioner Mr Bruce Bucknell was present, Pritam B Wordsmith in his capacity as Chairman described – “..As Chevening alumni, I thank you as a representative of British Government and British People and taxpayers for their generosity. It was my stay and study for a year in Britain that nurtured and supported my desire to start Wordsmith Communication as a company of unique nature and also the networking that made this journey possible. A Journey which I call the journey of a Time Rich Cash Poor Gentleman where I use gentleman in the Victorian sense, i.e. a gentleman is always above money. One of the greatest business learning from Britain was to consider a business contract sacred and inviolate.” The details of this relationship are described by Pritam in one of his books – Wordsmith Book of Business.

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“The hand of a good man that wields the bat, rules the world” – Anonymous Wordsmith

The three member team from Calcutta started westward on 19th and there have been practice sessions in Eastern Calcutta parks in full gear with GBC Chandrani Bhattacharjee present. Associates delivered their wares – memento, medallion, gifts, banner, standee, camera gears and we greeted them as associates, not as mere vendors. On 18th, GBC Subhasis Chatterjee had a breakfast meet at Wordsmith HO at Salt Lake and bade us well. Without much event, the journey went westward – to Arabia Deserta and then to Londonium.

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Practice in Calcutta East – 48 hours before Fructus ex Virtus in British soil

On 20th, we reached London and it was a sunny day and we emerged out of London Euston –fully loaded with message to be delivered and cricketing gears. For the two young fellows, playing in British soil was first time experience and they were little anxious. From Euston, a virgin train dropped the campaigners in Brimingham New Street where they were greeted and picked up by Head of Wordsmith UK – Mr. Amit Ghose and we had a good night’s sleep. On 21st, we had our freelance meet in Birmingham and in the evening, briefed by an ominous weather report, the visiting team met Mr.Bukhari – a young British gentleman and a promising engineer in GE to discuss the proceedings next day. On 22nd, we played at Aston Manor Cricket Club, Birmingham under very adverse conditions – rain and cold and very ferocious bowling. The Game was interrupted many times but the Cricket won as the players braved the weather and promised to return next summer. Mr. Bukhari commented – “This is a slight interruption. This is not cancellation and we consider the match postponed till next summer.”   After a rest day on 22nd, the team set off to London on 23rd.. In Baker Street, near the statue of Sherlock Holmes, Pritam delivered a tribute in words to the greatest “freelance” consulting detective of real and imagined and the passers-by were quite amused. It was a bright day and the team folded their standee and went off to Oxford. Walking along one of the greatest and oldest architectures of the British Isles in Oxford, the young fellows were captivated by the charms of the buildings. Pritam B Wordsmith delivered his address entitled:   “Beauty, Freedom and Utility – the business of Freelancing” at St. Clements. The address emphasized that lack of freedom will invariably lead to ugliness and life may be very affluent but without beauty it is not worth living. Freelancers have this inestimable gift of freedom if they can creatively harmonize income, leisure and cultivation of beauty. Nothing is so magnetically famous as an object of beauty and nothing is so repellent to human spirit as  lack of creative freedom.  Returned to London and then next day in Working Central Victoria freelance meet, the address was entitled: “What freelancers can teach the world?” Pritam talked about how Future of Work in itself is a question of Art rather than only some function. In a world where more and more labour will be saved by smarter machines, the challenge is not from the machines but from a more formidable and self-referential problem – “What shall I do with the Leisure which appears to be thrust upon me.”

HEATHROW

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Heathrow welcomes us with an opportunity for a photo shoot.

On Leisure – at Bloomsbury Park, remembering Francis Bacon’s “Essays”

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Surrounded by architectural Beauty and just before delivering the talk entitled : Beauty, Freedom and Business of Freelancing at St. Clements, Oxford

In London, at Central Working Co-working space – a kind partner and Pritam B Wordsmith – “tired and emotional” reflects on how London is an enchanting yet merciless city for any freelancer and he reflected on his engagement with the city as a “come and go freelancer” since 2005.

What did we learn?

  • The message of Freelance Foundation is greeted warmly by freelancers and institutions supporting them, for example – co-working locations and training institutions plus innovation ecosystems. All artists are freelancers but all freelancers are not artists. Innovation is what art for a freelancer who re-invents all the time.
  • There is an increasing awareness of freelancing as a significant component of economy in England and freelancing is considered more and more as a “normal” career option.
  • The Millennial Generation are increasingly drawn towards freelancing partly because of structural shifts in the economy and also in consumer behaviour. Innovation is no longer something an enterprise does or obligated to do, marketing and innovation are the pillars now of a freelancer – a one person business.
  • Our two young Tour members did wonderfully well – whether it is organizing meets or playing in British weather or working on the go – these discoveries of hidden strengths were great achievements.

The Road Ahead

  • Next year Tour of England 2019 will have Mr. Subhasis Chatterjee, GBC and Head of Logistics, Mr. Soumendu Chakraborty, Head of Operations and Design, Mr. Gaurav Purkayastha, Global Counsel and Head of Regulatory Affairs. All of them are freelancers in their own right.
  • Vision 2020: We shall be carrying our message to 20 cities of India and 20 world cities by 2020.

How you can be part of it?

Being a charity we are fully dependent on support – financial and non-financial from our patrons, associates, friends and well-wishers. Here are six modes of association:

  • You can be a teacher in your domain and teach freelancers and our audience free of cost
  • You can be a mentor to our freelance associates as a teacher without any financial transaction involved
  • You can provide us with seed-funds as a donation in form of cash.
  • You can provide us with facilities in cash-less model of patronage. For example, you can provide us a meeting room under your ownership/control free of charge where we can organize meets which will be free to attend for all.
  • You can spread our activities within your network of influence and let us know.
  • You can be friend of our social network and traditional friend circle, grace us with time and attention and be a friend and a constructive critic.
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WORDCON India Tour 2018 Culmination – Calcutta – 7th Sept

WORDCON India Tour for Freelancers 2018 came to a close, to the starting point – Calcutta with a Freelancer’s meet in collaboration with EasyDaftar – a co-working space in Calcutta, in their premises at SKP Building, off Kalighat Metro station in the heart of South Calcutta.

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A multi-location event, connected by Facebook in Wordcon’s traditional informal but serious event. The whole event is recorded and produced below (Facebook Live event – Wordcon Channel)

FULL RECORDED EVENT (Courtesy – Ms. Sritama Muhuri, EasyDaftar) – also shared at our Facebook Channel : Wordcon Channel

Highlights

  1. Sharing 4-city Freelancer meet experience, insight, success, failure, challenges and most-important : What Freelancers need and what are being done and what should be done. A bottom-up approach.Hear the problems at field level and direct, deliberate and build solutions and connect to resources for building solutions.
  2. Freelance Foundation officially announced its Master Freelancer and Masterclass Policy : A Master Freelancer affiliated with Freelance Foundation must guide qualified (humble, interested and strong desire to succeed) aspirant freelancers without any fee whatsoever. Only those Masters who share this value system should consider associating with us. 
  3. Freelance Foundation is building a process and platform to engage those freelancers who are humble and interested to be guided and Masters who are ready to teach.
  4. Announcing our England Tour starting next week including cricket match and 2 freelance meets – one in London and one in Birmingham.

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Thanking all our past and present partners for making the India Tour possible and England Tour feasible.

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Acknowledgements 

  1. Ms. Sritama Muhuri, EasyDaftar and her Team
  2. Easydaftar Clients / Co-working location members at multiple locations in Calcutta who participated in the Event online.

Freelance Foundation / WORDCON – Vision 2020

Freelance Foundation is a registered charity in Calcutta, India with the mission of Harmonizing Income, Leisure and Fame for world freelancers.  For last five years, we have been conducting full day conferences, meet-ups, online mentoring, music and sports events for freelancers.

VISION 2020

The Apex Council of Freelance Foundation has decided, a part of the VISION 2020 plan, the following Tour and Outreach Programmes for freelancers.

WORDCON INDIA TOUR 2018-2020 | 20 cities of India 

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Having completed metro city tour, we have realized that there is a growing body of freelancers in Tier I and Tier II cities of India. The format of each meet will be as follows, with amends as per the local custom /culture. This knowledge will come from the Lead Freelancer in that respective city / town and he / she will be part of our Team. We have already started finding those rare souls. The format of the meets (sabha) will be as follows :

  • A hosting institution will provide us space and facilities
  • The Lead Freelancer will spread the news / promote the meet in our network in the city
  • Teachers of Freelance Foundation will act as Chief Listener and will listen to the problems and solve / indicate a solution
  • It is observed that many freelancers and people in general are averse in discussing such issues in public and hence one to one, private meet will be arranged – in person or online.
  • The Representative of Freelance Foundation will not charge any fee whatsoever in any form, anytime – now of hereafter for the mentoring or training sessions.
  • Freelance Foundation is a charity and it does not and will not pay any fee for any form of activity by its representatives / teachers but reasonable cost will be compensated.

These tours will create field-data and broad spectrum case studies and that will be kept in public domain as a corpus of knowledge and know-how – both theory and of practice.

 WORDCON WORLD TOUR | VISION 2020 | 20 WORLD CITIES 

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The world tour will follow the same model of implementation and will work under the same philosophy that knowledge is free and it is the duty of senior and established Craftsman to teach younger ones without any fee – cash or kind. This comes in rare souls of the world and we are searching for such souls in 20 world cities.

We shall share our knowledge of India and vice versa.

We shall try to have educational institutions / co-working spaces as our hosting partner and will deliver our message as below :

  • Current state of Freelancing in other parts of the world
  • Challenges and solutions devised
  • Mentors who can be approached in your city for free, un-biased and honest advice and guidance. These mentors will be Foundation approved and guided by the code of conduct whose essence is : to be a true teacher without any agenda for personal gain in form of consulting, pushing products or selling a membership sort of. Every Freelance Foundation’s Global Teacher’s only duty is to help organize his students and deliver actionable knowledge based on his own experience as well as from the collective knowledge
  • We shall sponsor coffee/tea for these meets.

IMPLEMENTATION 

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For last 4 years, we have been growing with our family of sponsors and associates. We shall sound out these old friends and will try to on-board new friends who will help us fulfill our mission. Some sponsors have already on-boarded.

The only objective of Vision 2020 is to deliver knowledge as a true Acharya and hence we have proposed a Cashless Model of Patronage to our potential sponsors and associates. In this model, we list the requirements for us to deliver and then approach respective sponsors / associates to provide them. We have found this model to be very encouraging for both the parties.

More updates will soon follow.

If you are interested to be a Freelance Foundation Teacher, please let us know at wordcon2015@gmail.com.

WORDCON INDIA TOUR 2018 – MUMBAI MEET FOR FREELANCERS

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The Mumbai Freelance Meet || 25th August || The Rise, Lower Parel | Mumbai

Around 2008, during the height of  Credit Crisis, few freelance translators, copywriters, content editors including yours truly used to meet in Calcutta in cafes and tea-shops and we used to discuss about income, work-life balance, feast and famine cycle, how to get the next project, how to enforce better rates, how to market our services, how to deal with deadbeat clients and such staple topics of freelance life. In due course, many younger freelancers and students started joining the meet (what in Bengali we call “adda”). Without our knowledge, these meets in addition to bringing some colour to our social life also became some kind of de-facto mentoring sessions. Few corporate professionals also used to attend, asking – “How to be free from the cubicle prison?”. 
 
Cut to 2015 – we all were some eight years older and admittedly valuing these meets more.   We had our first formal meet of freelancers in the form of an informal but serious workshop  – the first WORDCON  which was joined online by freelancers from other parts of the world and happened in a modest Calcutta hotel. It was a fantastic experience. Some senior members proposed  formalizing our meets and exchanges and Freelance Foundation was born as a non-profit entity registered in Calcutta on 14th of July – Bastille Day – the day French Revolution formally started. 
 
In last 3 years, we continued our journey and articulated our Mission : Harmonizing Income,Leisure and Fame. This year, we thought of meeting freelancers of other cities in person with many of  whom we have collaborated but have not met in person plus connecting the Millennial Generation. This made us undertake WORDCON INDIA TOUR 2018 – a Tale of Four cities with Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai completed and Calcutta meet happening on 8th September. We are organizing 2 more meets for freelancers – one in London on 26th Sept and another in Birmingham on 22nd Sept.
 
The Road Ahead 
 
1. To help freelancers and aspirant ones grapple with the fundamental questions of freelance life, starting with income – how do I get projects ? How do I continue to get projects ? How do I prepare myself to achieve this ? How do I navigate in this flux and achieve the target – to have a tense but sustained career as a freelancer. 
 
2. Most of our senior freelancers members in various domains will help them just like a Master craftsman guides an Apprentice – not for any fee but as a duty and to continue the craft tradition. The relationship is non-commercial, voluntary and inclusive. This spirit is the Foundation’s spiritual equity.
 
3. We conduct events – meets, sports tournament, musical events plus one annual International Summit for Freelances. These events and meets create cross-pollination of ideas, thoughts and practices. We conduct these through a model of Cashless Patronage where our patrons/sponsors (for example The Rise) provide us resources to deliver our message and that helps us to keep almost all our events completely free. All our senior members do this as an Acharya – one practices what one preaches. We would like to continue doing this in an organic and community driven manner. 
We are looking for freelance acharyas (true teachers) world over to teach freelancers and the eco-system in which the freelancers operate, the Art, Science and Commerce of living and thriving in Freelance Life. 
JUHU

Wordcon Chairman Pritam B Wordsmith, a “Bombay Dekho man” for Mr. Soumendu, Head of Operations, Wordsmith – paying tribute to Mumbai at Juhu. Mumbai – City as Novel for Saleem Sinai of Midnight’s Children.

 
End-script 
2. Wordsmith University – Freelance Business School
4. Facebook : Wordcon Channel

Visualization : Wordcon’s Conference in New Delhi (Winter 2019)

This is a follow-up of the WORDCON INDIA TOUR 2018 for Freelancers, organized by non-profit Freelance Foundation that started last month at Bangalore and reached New Delhi on 9th August. New Delhi, as one of the major cities and capital of India since 1911, is a contrarian among great cities of the world. A land-locked city without any great port or a glorious river and where tombs of the past rulers look at the citadels of the present rulers. From Indraprastha to Dilli, to Delhi and New Delhi and now the centre of a region called NCR (National Capital Region).

We had two events in New Delhi – a work-shop for students in Amity University (Noida) and en-route, you see Huamyun’s tomb – the only piece of architectural beauty I could find in the  concrete wilderness of the  Noevue  Sub-urbium Indicourum.  Then we had a meet with freelancers of various domains at a Cafe, almost hidden in the boundary wall of RK Ashram Metro station.

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Students at Amity Noida 

 

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Freelance Meet

These two events that made us make new friends and meet old friends made me visualize the following :

  1. A Conference of freelancers in New Delhi in January / Feb 2019 to be attended by freelancers of all types.
  2.  A follow-up cricket match – retro style in some club-fields of New Delhi. We have considerable experience in organizing such retro style cricket matches from Calcutta to England. The match will include mixed-ability games, retro dress, good food and a musical finale.

What we have in New Delhi:

a. A local team and captive participants who are eager to make it happen.

b. Experience of Organizing such Conferences for last 3 years – see http://www.wordcon.in

c. Speakers, Content and Presentation Modes

d. Social Media Cell

e. Music Team for Musical Finale

f. A qualitative and quantitative report as how does it help the whole ecosystem comprising of freelancers, businesses, associates, friends, critics and curious.

What we need in New Delhi 

a. Few  sponsors with shared values covering hospitality in terms of food, mementos, gifts and printing / promotion

b. A venue partner for the Conference

c. A cricket field with the club as partner

Our experience tells that with these in place and with some luck added, The Conference and the Cricket during Winter will deliver high value and will help us fulfill the mission of manifest destiny for us : Harmonizing Income,Leisure and Fame.

Fructus et Virtus : UK Cricket Tour for World Freelancers

 

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Freelance Foundation is organizing a daylong Cricket Tournament for World Freelancers entitled Fructus et Virtus – the matured fruit of Virtue as ancient Greeks understood to be the end of all their sports. The Art of Becoming.

In their finest hour, Britons, the inventor of modern Cricket also considered games as not some mere game of virtuosity but profoundly higher in scope and practice. It was the principle of being fair – strength with honour and of being a Gentlemn’s Game and the definition of a gentleman in Victorian era was something so sorely needed in our time – “A Gentleman (and Lady) is always above money.”  In other words, the ideal of a “gentleman / lady” was a Way of Life which is incorruptible by money.

We need this spirit so much in games of all sorts where more time in keyboard is spent not about the match being played but how the match could have been “fixed” after monies changing hands and sometimes these hands are the same hands that carry the National Flag !

It is these values which we want to uphold and as a symbolic act, we have organized a Cricket Match on 22nd September 2018 at the following venue – 10 am to 5 pm.

The Ground :

Aston Manor Cricket Club, The Colin Smith Memorial Ground, Church Road, Perry Barr, Birmingham B42 2LA 

Entry as a Guest or Player is free. But registration is needed and you can register here : 

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WORCON INDIA TOUR 2018 for Freelancers |Bangalore | 28th July 2018

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WORDCON INDIA TOUR 2018 was a sudden “bulb-lighting” event. Since were were accompanying Infosec Foundation’s Cyber security CISO event in multiple cities, we thought of organizing an informal meet for freelancers in cities in Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta on the next day.

Our “freelance team” worked in tandem and we informed freelancers – email, phone, social media, word of mouth and also told them this sentence directly verbatim from the Chairman’s opening address : “..I come as a Chief Listener. We would like to listen to the city-specific challenges and solutions being devised by you. We are not here to sell motivational snake-oil, membership, mantra to increase income 1000 times overnight, some mircale or as such. We are here to listen – gather direct field data and then after the Tour, compile and keep it in public domain as a shared corpus for freelancers, those who buy services from freelancers, those who aspire to be and those will be forced (what was called “Bangaloreed” in the West some years back).”  

On Friday 28th morning where very senior members of Infosec Team were present, we encountered a counter-intuitive phenomena : Corporate professionals were too eager to ask : “How can I be a freelancer ? ” or more un-packed question – “Is there a chance to survive as a freelancer after so many years of corporate work?”

Then the debate and deliberation started. It was intense, very engaging and visceral including inter-generational face to face discussion on “transformation of values of work-ethic – between loyalty and freedom, responsibility and sentiment, self-worth and market-worth, net-worth and life-worth.

We also had an objective of connecting and building relationship with our next wave of Leaders in the millennial generation and we learnt a lot by direct interaction and then over lunches with few such Bangaloreans.

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What we Learnt on behalf of the Foundation ?

  • Freelancers face high risk from deadbeat clients, i,e, those who do not pay for legitimate work and there is not much of practical framework. Social shaming may be a method.
  • Senior and established freelancers / professionals must take the role of guide – not the fee seeking motivational gurus and Life coaches who have made a business out of the vulnerability and innocence of young and less experienced professionals. They must do this as one attendee told – “to give back to the society. not to take anything.”
  • The “romantic” view epitomized in the sentence – “be your own boss” is now almost equally pervasive among students (at the threshold of job) and corporate workers (at the middle of the journey) and that shows that the uncertainty and un-stability in Work, Mode of Work, Payment from Work are all under flux.  Chairman Pritam Bhattacharyya reminded the audience that this view is not the full picture – “being your own boss” is not sufficient motivation to get going, at the first stage. When you are a serious freelancer and just started, you not only have one boss but multiple bosses (read clients) to please. The ego-driven “I am my own boss” should be re-phrased as – “I have more freedom to decide how, where and to whom I sell my professional time.”
  • Mr. Subhasis Chatterjee, Tour Manager and Senior member informed how he started as a freelancer as a youth and then this made him visible to people who wanted his services and eventually offered a job. Or in other words, freelancing is not something one does leaving a job but can be a cornerstone of a job.
  • Bangalore media – both print and electronic surprised with their interest. With a small team based in Calcutta ( Communication and Control) and Silchar (Research and Guidance), we could reach a considerable number of media outlets and we hope to see their valued channels spread our message – a message not for profit or gain but to create a “garden” – unwalled so that cross-pollination of ideas, actions and best-practices can happen.

The TOUR led by two journey man of Calcutta Pritam Bhattacharyya and Subhasis Chatterjee and supported by many will call next port of Call : New Delhi – 9-11th August 2018.

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The Freelance Journeymen of Bengal – Gupi and Bagha from Satayjit Ray’s immortal work on an art medium called  film