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Research Statement for Dominic Amerena's essay "In Real Life"
Background: My research explores the relationship between the precarity of work and the work of writing, which cannot be treated “as a stable, ordinary or transactional form of labour” (van Loon, 2021). Using my own experience of working and writing in the gig economy, I consider how creative capital is accrued and spent, and ask what it means to be a writer today and tomorrow, in a careerless, casualised world.
Significance: This essay investigates the material circumstances that make my writing possible – the jobs I’ve had to work in order to find the time, space, and money to write. It sketches out the binaries in my life between work and writing, time and money, creativity and drudgery. By unpacking the reasons why my wife and I left Australia, the essay explores the “type” of writing that is valued under neoliberalism, and attempts to quantify what value Australia, as a nation and an economy, puts on creative practice. The piece documents my relationship to other precarious writers in Australia, framing writing itself as an explicitly anti-capitalist act, and a potential site for solidarity between writers, readers and workers.
Contribution: This essay was competitively selected for publication from hundreds of entries submitted to the ‘Writers at Work’ series for the widely-read online journal The Sydney Review of Books. The project was supported by Creative Victoria, City of Sydney, Queensland Government and Tasmanian Government. My piece was published alongside contributions from some of Australia’s most prominent writers, including: Ellena Savage, Justin Clemens, Elena Gomez, Jeff Sparrow and Mackenzie Wark.