I met Emilya years ago in 2011 when we both we starting our creative businesses (hers was called Art Pharmacy and was about having pop up exhibitions and an online gallery for emerging artists). At that time, I lived in Newcastle and was setting up a creative brokering service that linked blank walls and artists with a tagline ‘Turning empty spaces into creative places’, helping property owners, local & state government and businesses to find artists. I have always offered walking tours to find street art and this something that people could book via my business in Newcastle. I moved to Sydney in 2014 and noticed that Emilya had started a business called Culture Scouts and walking looking for tour guides. I had already developed a walking tour for Leichhardt so I wanted to see if it would be a match for Culture Scouts. The first meeting went well and I shared much information, she genuinely seemed excited about how we could work together. Emilya quickly started including me on two upcoming tours and I was instantly given tasks at these walks that I went on, which I wasn’t paid for.
I was offered a role (not the role I was interviewed for to simply be a tour guide) as Scout Leader and given a rather extensive position description – not at all possible for a contractor doing 2 days a week ($130 a day), which made me panic. When I called her she assured me that I wouldn’t get too much to do and that we could talk about the workload moving forward. I was told that a grant application was priority yet whenever I would try and to bolt down a project plan, Emilya would confuse the process by adding more goals and objectives. I was losing time on my own creative work and there was no boundaries with communications (sms, calls and emails at all hours of the days). When I tried to talk with her about the workload and lack of support I met with met an angry attitude. Emilya wouldn’t pay my last invoice of $130 even though I had gone on more than two walks as a volunteer, as well as going into her office to build a base for the grant she wanted. Emilya not only didn’t pay me for my time, she also accused me of stealing intellectual property when I tried to pursue the final payment. I know I didn’t steal any ideas and this is why I tried to pursue getting payment for my time but it turned into a futile battle with legal threats. She never actually did anything and I can safely assume this is because I owned intellectual property for my Leichhardt tour – which I did as a free walk as part of Jane Jacob’s Day.