Happy birthday a-n Jobs & opps
Its just four years since a-n The Artists Information Company launched its online subscriber-only Jobs and Opps service, building on a-ns long history as "the place" for visual and applied artists to find paid work and professional development opportunities.
Over £66m worth of work - and literally thousands of other opportunities - have been offered to artists and freelancers over the last four years. The structure of Jobs and opps means they can personalise their job research by searching on location, art form, experience level, or urgency of application deadline. The sign up for immediate e-alerts to when new material is added in any of fourteen different categories has proved to save valuable time for busy professional artists.
Nowadays, over 18,000 subscribers using the online Jobs and Opps, appreciative of the quality and personalisation that only a paid-for service can deliver Uniquely, users of Jobs and Opps can also research around the opportunity, viewing details about each employer and past opportunities, as well as cross referencing to practical guides on pricing, making applications and Codes of practice. Many HE institutions report using the Jobs and Opps archive as a teaching resource for students, introducing them to employability issues and options. Jobs and opps is also illuminated by interviews with commissioners, arts officers and artists such as Sheffield-basedMatthew Conduit, who recently gave a telling view on that city's arts scene.
As part of forecasting next phases of development in support of artists' livelihoods, a-n commissioned a research study from artist and AIR Council member Emily Speed. Her report Who pays for free?* reveals a worrying duplication within arts organisations who are currently providing free access opportunity listings, with their content replicated in one case by over 60%.
Emily comments: "Whilst artists nowadays need a broad variety of positions, including local, paid arts-related work such as gallery invigilation and workshop facilitation as well as exhibition and career development opportunities, accessing all these free listings requires numerous log-ins, sign up for several email bulletins in addition to spending a significant amount of time online searching. Could the subsidy that encourages this duplication of effort be better spent on funding artists directly?"
a-n Director Susan Jones said: "With the harsh economic conditions that artists at all career stages are facing, it really does make sense to rationalise how public subsidy is spent, to ensure duplication of effort is minimised and more money is freed up to go direct to artists. a-n warmly welcomes partnerships with like-minded arts organisations to explore how pooling resources could develop timely new online platforms that would better serve the visual arts community."
*Who pays for free? examined 12 free-access jobs or opportunities services for a specific period of time. She found the majority of the listings services duplicate at least 25% of their opportunities, with one as high as 61%. Five websites/e-services in receipt of Arts Council England funding showed a significant amount of crossover in their listings with the percentage of opportunities duplicated as follows: Arts Jobs (25%), Artsadmin (42%), Artquest (34%), Fabrica (50%), Turning Point West Midlands (22%) and EMVAN (East Midlands Visual Arts Network) (23%).
First published: a-n.co.uk March 2012
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