On 29 September, UNI MEI took part in an online conversation organised by the Odesa Fim Festival. Dedicated to mental health in time of Covid-19 and its long term impact on creation and creative professionals, it gave UNI MEI the opportunity to highlight the import role trade unions and guilds have played in the last months in supporting their members.

The speakers on the panel, through a mix of personal and professional statements, explained how the months of lockdown, and the way our lives had to be reorganized, impacted their work as well as their perspectives for the future.

Maxim Ilyashenko, a psychologist and arts manager from Ukraine and based in London; Juliette Duret, Head of Cinema at BOZAR, a cultural venue in Brussels, Belgium; Christine von Fragstein, a digital expert and consultant to the creative industries in Germany; Ewa Puszczyńska, a film producer from Poland and Daphne Tepper, Director at UNI MEI, exchanged views on the way individual lives have been impacted, on changes that have been introduced already in work processes and professional routines, and on the urgent actions to be taken to support creative professionals today and in the future.

During the conversation, curated and moderated by Tamara Tatishvili of the European Women’s Audiovisual Network, Daphne presented some of the actions implemented by UNI MEI affiliates across the globe: from supporting individual workers and their families through humanitarian actions, to advocating government for support packages and negotiating return to work protocols with employers. The importance of solidarity and collective actions in times of crisis was underlined, as well as the need to keep fighting for better working conditions in the future.