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Voices from behind the bar

Picture this: You’re working the night shift at a bar, politely serving a beer to a middle-aged man. He unsubtly glances at your chest and makes an inappropriate comment about your body. You feel shocked, embarrassed, and extremely uncomfortable. You mention it to a workmate and are met with the words, “they’re drunk, just ignore it.” Still shaken, you decide to report the interaction to your manager, who turns around and says, “well, what did you expect with those buttons undone?” You never speak up again. You put up with it. Because that’s just the industry, right?

Newest addition to the Sydney team,  Creative, Hayley McCormack, shows us her greatest passion project (thus far); a toolkit and publication that delves into the frustrating and demeaning reality of what it means to be a bar worker. Having spent multiple years in the hospitality industry, mainly working within local pubs, Hayley was tired of the endless mistreatment of bar and front of house staff, both sexual and verbal alike, which were often brushed off by those in higher power as merely “part of the job,” for profits sake.

The "Voices" project was designed as a campaign that draws attention to the lost voices of those who work in the bar industry and face sexism, harassment, assault, objectification, and the like, on a daily basis. Often, these victims are too embarrassed or scared to speak up. However, if or when they find their voice they are often met with, “oh well, they’re a paying customer.” Basically, put up with it, or risk being let go.

The toolkit, which includes coasters, t-shirts, stickers, and posters, offer tools that can be used in hospitality establishments to encourage support for, and acknowledgement of, this kind of mistreatment. The main feature of this kit is the publication of the Voices book, which tells the stories of those in the industry who feel they cannot speak up.

This project was accepted into, and awarded a Distinction, with the ISTD (International Society of Typographic Designers), which saw Hayley become a member of the professional organisation.

Hayley continues to address this problem and raise awareness via her Instagram page, where she curates a series of typographic posts that call out some of the common, yet unwarranted, comments received in the industry.

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