Fees & payments
Artists jobs and opportunities 1989-2003
One advantage of publishing a monthly magazine for professional artists and their collaborators since 1980 is the steady accumulation of data about artists; the scope and nature of their practice, their professional engagements and the cultural climate in which they operate. Mining this unique, rich research resource, and analysing and quantifying the range of data within it unearths a fascinating changing picture of artists practices and concerns, cultural and social trends and the impact of political and economic strategies on applications of the visual arts.
Weve taken a slice through this extensive body of evidence to examine the working situation for artists in 1989, in 1999 and in 2003. Weve done this by analysing the jobs and opportunities promoted through a-n Magazine, and contextualising them within the reportage and commentary of artists practices and concerns in those years, including coverage of key features in the arts infrastructure, critical debates and arts policy.
1989 trends and focuses
In 1989, a-n published the second edition of Making Ways: the visual artists guide to surviving and thriving, that described itself as: not textbook theory of how its supposed to work, but a compilation of the experiences of artists and makers. This philosophy that launched the company in 1980 has underpinned our work ever since.
In January 1989 we noted the changes in support for artists' the decline in direct subsidy for studio-based work, the growth in residencies and the emerging role of commissions. According to the second edition of the Directory of Exhibition Spaces published that year, the number of galleries and exhibition spaces was around 2,000, and the size of the practitioner sector was probably around half the number as nowadays. We welcomed the increased recognition that artists didnt work for the love of it but warned of the impact of new placement-based activities at undergraduate level that by offering free art services to public organisations, were inadvertently under-cutting professional artists.
Key themes for discussion during 1989 were exhibiting displaying, publicising and insuring artwork; current practice in film and video and live art and public art. Significantly, a-ns Art in public handbook published the previous year had been the first to highlight artists initiatives within this genre. Local authorities were seen to be an important employer group, particularly as commissioners or public art and artists residencies, and we provided commentary then on selected local councils and their current plans and strategies. Within this, we addressed how artists were already, and could in future, influence policymaking, and ensure that local arts officers were in tune with of artists concerns and changing practices.
In terms of government policies, we looked at the impact of the Enterprise Allowance scheme after five years of operation. By providing financial incentives, EAS had encouraged artists amongst others registered as unemployed to forgo the dole and become self-employed. By 1989, it was estimated that ten per cent of those on EAS were artists or arts-based businesses, claiming the £40 a week Thatcher bribe plus a waiver on NI contributions and some free business training.
In 1989 we instigated the first-ever published survey of fees and payments for artists including fees for exhibiting (EPR) and we reported on inclusion of artists moral rights within amendments to the Copyright Act then going through parliament. The cons and pros of public art were raised in a plethora of conferences at that time, linked to the development of the Arts Councils per cent for art and urban regeneration policies. We also examined from the artists perspective the engagement-based nature of visual arts practices in the field of live art and community and healthcare residencies.
We also majored on reporting and commenting on the role and function of the arts funding bodies and their relationship with artists. Significantly, the end of 1989 saw the launch of the Wilding Review that proposed a major change to the arts funding system. The reviews key features were recommendations to cut the number of regional arts associations to seven and replace them with regional arts boards and to merge the Crafts Council and Arts Council making savings of £400,000 that would raise grants to craftspeople substantially above the current level. Whilst we had no argument at the time with Wildings desire to make the arts bodies more efficient, more cost-effective and better-staffed, we did raise concerns about the new structure making regional organisations even less accessible, informed, visionary and willing to take risks and more secretive.
And whilst Wilding addressed the regional arts associations, it was business as usual at the Arts Councils national office. Amongst reports emanating at that time that aimed to influence and support arts policymaking was Sally Stotes Think Rural: Act Now. Amongst a twelve-point list of recommendations was the need for better recognition of professional artists working in rural areas as a resource for development, something that has also emerged from Arts Council consultation sessions on this very same issue during 2004. Other policies under activation by the Arts Council that year included addressing artists and education and cultural diversity, the latter championed by artists including Gavin Jantjes, Sunil Gupta and Eddie Chambers.
New institutions in 1989 included the launch of the African and Asian Visual Arts Archive (AACVA) in Bristol, the brainchild of artist/curator Eddie Chambers promising to be the largest and most comprehensive archive of this work. Malcolm Miles was the first Director of the new British Healthcare Arts Centre, based in Dundee, due to be a focus for research, to publish examples of good practice and provide a database of artists and projects around visual arts in healthcare settings. There was also early warning of a new organisation that would make the link between artists and the commissioners of public art through an innovative computerised text and image database. Heralding a new age for arts information, the snappily-named National Visual Arts Information Project, instigated and championed by a-n, was seeking expressions of interests from universities to host this innovative organisation.
1989 opportunities analysed
Nearly £2 million in jobs and opportunities were promoted through a-n Magazine during 1989. Although exhibition opportunities accounted for 29% of the volume of opportunities, they represented only 5% of the financial value, with the average cash value of an exhibition to an artist or group of artists at £504.
Exhibition opportunities covered the UK and international venues. Open exhibitions that generally included a range of cash prizes were an important feature. Listings tended to be fairly upfront about the deal for selected artists, by including information such as a full list of prizes, fees and other benefits. Sampling those offered then reveals the Scottish Sculpture Trusts Three years on show for Scottish new graduates; Ikon Tourings calls throughout that year for artists submissions on themes including: Boys will be boys, and green/environmental issues; Lanchester Gallerys offer of free publicity, transport, preview and insurance to selected young artists at the start of their careers; Blackfriars Gallery Lincoln looking for watercolourists hire fees negotiable, sales commission usually 20%; and London-based Whitechapel Gallerys annual open submission show that has become recognised as an important indicator of emerging trends in British art. There was also Milton Keynes Exhibition Gallerys invitation to artists working specifically with religious/Christian imagery on a grand scale with a fee or commission forming part of the exhibition offer; Looking East a selling international exchange exhibition of contemporary crafts from the East of England organised by the museums in Norwich and Ipswich; Herbert Art Gallery seeking African and Asian artists for an exhibition curated by Eddie Chambers for which a substantial catalogue is planned.
Amongst 1989s open exhibitions were the Royal Over-Seas Leagues annual show for Commonwealth citizens up to an including the age of 35, with cash prizes including the British Airways prize of £2,750 and travel scholarships. Open exhibitions were widely recognised during the 1980s and early 1990s as talent-spotting arenas. Notably, Tracey Emin was selected for the 1989 Royal Over-Seas Leagues exhibition (515 entries, 34 artists chosen) and a certain Chris Ofili (Chelsea School of Art) got £300 as a prizewinner in that years Young Contemporaries (400 entries, 89 artists selected). Diverse Cultures was the theme for an open show at the Crafts Council Gallery, to be selected from studio visits by Magdalene Odundo, Eddie Chambers, Takeshi Yasuda and Usha Mahenthiralingem.
Artist-led open submission shows included Shoplift, subtitled an interventionalist event, due to be held at Lewisham Shopping Centre, for which media artists were invited to submit ideas for collaborative projects, billboards, bus shelters, buses, newspapers and local radio stations and artists and craftspeople for installations in empty retail outlets on the theme of shop window display, and calls for interest in Southampton/Hampshire/Dorset/South Wiltshire/Isle of Wights Visual Arts and Crafts Week open studios.
17% of all opportunities advertised during 1989 were awards or fellowships, giving an average of £8,542 per award. These included the Richard Hough Photography Bursary (£4,000) in which projects involving travel are particularly welcome, Scottish Arts Council Video and Film Awards (four totalling £4,000) with no previous experience in either medium necessary, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation awards ranging from £500-£3000 with £23,000 available overall for research-based projects to develop large-scale performance events for specific sites or environments, the Crafts Councils Bursaries and John Ruskin Awards (four of £6,000 each) to enable established makers to take a sabbatical period in which to reassess their work or undertake a specific project, the Scottish Sculpture Workshops Granite Carving Award at £9,000 sponsored by the Henry Moore Foundation and John Fyle Granite Merchants and the £10,000 Wingate Scholarships for up to three years aimed at candidates of great potential or known excellence.
Competitions and prizes accounted for 20% of all opportunities. Notable examples included the Hunting Group (total prize money £16,500 including £1,000 student prize), the 1989 Turner Prize of £10,000 for which nominations were invited, the Kyoto Internation Textiles award and the New Zealand Crafts Biennial, both with $10,000 prizes, and the Simpson Curtis Painting Prize of £2,000, organised by Meg Speed Fine Art Service for this leading Leeds-based law firm. Notably, Strathclyde Regional Council ran a £50,000 competition for new paintings each to fill a wall eight by three-and-a-half-metres for the new Glasgow International Concert Hall, due to open the following year.
Commissions were 5% of available opportunities, with the average commission valued at £4,204. Public Art Development Trust launched the BAA commissioning scheme with a budget around £35,000, with artists and makers invited to submit proposals for Gatwicks South Terminal, Public Art in Yorkshire offered £1,000 a month for the post of Featherstone Environmental Artist, to run for five-and-a-half months: previous experience not essential, Lancaster Health Authority wanted to commission murals at £4,500 for sixty working days, Sustrans offered commissions for the Bristol/Bath Railway Path Sculpture Trail, Public Art Commissions Agency has a £20,000 budget for a underpass commission in Birmingham, the Millfield Sculpture Commission to erect a sculpture on the rural campus of Millfield School, Somerset was worth £6,000.
Alongside the increasing number of public art projects within urban regeneration schemes, experimental film and video commissions were offered by Hull Time-Based Arts with two, £2,000 installations or events and four, £750 single monitor/single screen works, and further awards for exciting ideas for performance and live art events including a major commission worth £5,500 at Spurn Point in collaboration with Humberside County Council. The Arts Council and Channel 4 were looking for experienced film-makers for production awards of between £10-20,000 for large-scale experimental, avante-garde works.
Residencies also accounted for 6% of opportunities, with remuneration averaging £3,321 per residency. Artists Agency (now Helix Arts) offered £5,000 plus £500 relocation costs for an six-month residency to work with a drug and alcohol problem service in Newcastle, a community photography residency in Cleveland was worth £1,200 for four weeks, Lincolnshire County Council offered a series of residencies that would place artists in stimulating and unusual urban and rural locations at £1,000 plus accommodation, a residency at Belfast Print Workshop was intended for a printmaker to pursue his/her own work and open to suitably qualified and experienced printmakers.
Residencies in education were in the ascendancy following exemplary action-based research of the Artists in Schools project and inclusion of visual arts and music as part of the compulsory elements in the new National Curriculum. Amongst schools residencies on offer to artists were potter-in-residence at Radley College at £4,000 a year plus accommodation and board, £60 a day plus £5 daily for travel expenses at Grove Park School Harrogate for a craftsperson, and a 22-week printmaking residency worth £5,500 to work with 750 secondary school students in a lively and flourishing art department in Wales.
|Breakdown of opportunities in 1989|
|Awards and fellowships||102||£871,620|
1999 themes and focuses
Ten years later, the respective roles of artists and funders were still high on the agenda. In a letter to The Guardian, Antony Gormley then a member of the Arts Council condemned the categorisation of art as a creative industry and its activities dumbed-down to fit the latest trends in arts policymaking: He argued that All worthwhile art is about taking risks, about pushing boundaries. You cant get great art by committee. Art simply isnt democratic. Chief Executive Peter Hewitt said it was the Arts Councils job to make a difference. We argued that it was the job of artists to make a difference and the job of the arts funding bodies to enable that.
More upheaval in the arts funding system as the arts in Scotland and Wales were devolved to their own national governments and the Crafts Council as suggested by Wilding ten years previously merged with the Arts Council (now the Arts Council of England, ACE). Issues around aligning RAB jurisdictions with Government-defined regional boundaries were aired. Culture Minister Chris Smith urged cultural organisations to get in shape to meet the challenges, and make the most of the opportunities ahead. But whilst ACE enjoyed a fifteen per cent budget increase as an incentive, devolution meant arts councils in Scotland and Wales had to make do with three per cent.
Introducing the Whose Heritage conference held later that year, Chris Smith highlighted the importance of giving people their roots. Artists speaking including Roshini Kempadoo and Derek Richards explored issues around the burden of representation, the event highlighting the wide range of artists views within the cultural diversity debate.
On the role of public art programmes a growth industry for artists and arts managers we asked: Will these opportunities for artists be as instruments of social engineering or as artists? In the run-up to the millennium, we noted the growing fashion for commissioning light works as public art features: They have the ability to marry illusion with form and people have a soft spot of things that brighten dark corners, highlight architectural features and because they arent identified as art, dont suffer from bad press coverage.
Public Art Forum launched a new publication Public Art Journal with Paul Bonaventura as guest editor: The reviews were a bit stodgy, remarked Lubaina Himid yet mainly it read like an a-n publication, because the debates around public art ' will almost certainly never be resolved.
Responsive to the changing face of artists practice, in 1999 we looked beyond the making of public art objects derived from urban regeneration schemes to address work that was ephemeral and engagement-based. Included was a review of Canadian artist Laura Vickersons Factories and Fairytales installation in a Cumbrian mill, assisted by the Sedburgh Stitchers and artists and students from University of Newcastle.
A new kind of institutional development had emerged in the late 90s, aided and abetted by the National Lottery capital fund that had been wound down for new applicants by 1999. Institutions and their role in framing or constraining artists development were highlighted mid-year in our feature on Baltic centre for contemporary art in Gateshead, Cardiff Visual Arts, Dundee Contemporary Art and Tate Modern With all located in cities with long histories of artist-generated activity, is this a partnership for a bright future or time for the big squeeze?. In the words of artist-run magazine Skip, CVA was; Coming soon' Who knows what it will be like but its definitely big (and youll have to pay to get in). The New Gallery Wallsall, also a flagship lottery project, was due to open in spring 2000.
The Annual Programme, significant as an artist-led organisation at the forefront of re-imaging Manchester, took on International3 as a 1,300 sq ft space to be used for developing new commissions which allow artists a longer period to work in the gallery and provide a dedicated environment in which to view their work. Leeds-based artist-led East Street Arts embarked on what was to become a five-year workplan to create a new flexible artists space in the city.
Also lottery funded, FACT emerged in Liverpool from the considerable energies of the new media artists behind Moviola, Video Positive and MITES. Amongst infrastructures for artists enabled by lottery funding were new studio complexes for WASPS and Acme.
Liverpool was also the focus for the first of a new programme of citywide exhibitions. Billed as The UKs first biennial featuring work by major artists from around the world, the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art encompassed TRACE (the international show), John Moores, New Contemporaries (The UK showcase for emerging artists) and artist-run Tracey a series of exhibitions in found spaces in and amongst the architectural splendour of Liverpool.
We revisited the Leeds 13, the artists initiative that got the most media attention in 1998 when as second-year fine art students, they faked a holiday to Malaga, supposedly aided by Student Union funds. The national press were fooled into devoting a considerable number of column inches to this shock horror, before the students revealed it to be a hoax. In 1999 we focused on the groups final-year show, a mixed exhibition of borrowed art, designed to test University of Leeds ability to accept collaborative practice and give them a collective degree grade. (It did, except for the written element, marked individually).
In the run-up to the new millennium, a-n contributed to a think-tank of artists across all forms specially formed to research best practice in delivering Year of the Artist (YOTA). In the event, their recommendations for a research-based, experimental approach that would stimulate and enrich artists practices for the future were set aside for a more prosaic strategy.
Launched in June 1999 as 1000 artists in 1000 places and due to run June 2000-May 2001, this national programme of arts activity will celebrate living artists across all art forms, with the broadest possible definition of visual arts and crafts, performing arts, literature, film, photography, digital and combined arts. Organised by the English arts boards and arts councils in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, these residencies were intended to ideally explore new ideas and contexts, and have the potential to stimulate creativity and promote the sharing of skills across communities, audiences and other artists.
Because YOTA was committed to raising the professional stakes for artists, agencies hosting or enabling residencies were urged to adopt a minimum pay rate of £150 a day (equivalent to £20,000 a year). Rates came from YOTAs own detailed research of current and suitable rates with visual arts data supplied by a-n from Rates of Pay surveys since 1989. These and YOTAs sample residencies contract also informed by a-ns Visual Arts Contract on the topic were widely promoted.
It wasnt long before artists began to suggest other strategies and models to demonstrate artists worth to a wider public. South West England artists explored the possibility of reducing the number of residencies to maintain a higher quality, instigating a peer selection process and making the year a kind of umbrella, encouraging all other kinds of initiative from artists. Speaking at an a-n debate Sonia Boyce said shed never quite understood what residencies do for agencies that organise them and the groups that are supposed to interact with them' What does proximity have to do with a relationship anyway?. For her career as an artist she wished the event to simply advertise and distribute information about what artists do, whether studio practice or otherwise; this would create a campaign that explores and explains professional diversity'.
In providing a platform for examination and debate around what artists are: The ethos is quite simple to expose what artists do and the ways they go about it; to say there is value in that; to say its worth analysing and learning from. Thats what we said ten years ago when the funding bodies pursued outmoded business models for arts organisations in an urgency borne of desperation to accommodate government attitudes.
Evaluating the impact on artists of Visual Arts UK, held in 1996 in Northern England, led us to develop practice-led advisory and programmes for the region. Later, wed been invited to advise South West Arts on strategies to enhance artists support structures there. The result was the ALIAS scheme, launched in 1999, in which artists groups were supported to provide a resource to advise other artists. The Connections pages in a-n Magazine began to network artists networks by listing the growing number of artists initiatives including Fabrica, protoacademy, Leeds Artists Network (a virtual organisation) and MART, and to highlight artists networking beyond the UK including the First European Seminar for Artist-run initiatives and Juliana Capes report on the impact on her practice of engaging with an artists colony in Lapland.
The new term artists professional development was emerging, recognising the limitations of business support. The seminal Destinations and Reflections survey of 1,000 art and design graduates pinpointed the unique characteristics and value of artists as innovators, networkers and entrepreneurs. In Northern England, we generated the first Fast forward new graduates professional development and networking event. Opening speaker Anya Gallaccio was one of five artists who later that year got a Hamlyn award worth £30,000 over three years. Paul Moss, the artist who devised and led the 2004 Fast Forward event was featured in a pink wig at a-ns Pink Party, celebrating a-ns move to Newcastle that September 1999. David Shrigley talked about the difficulties for him of smoozing in that years companion Fast forward publication, circulated to graduating art and design students across the UK.
Rurally-based practices were an ongoing theme in 1999, ranging from explorations of Agenda 21 in print and at artists events, profiles of initiatives for and by artists in Cornwall, Dumfries and Galloway and Lancashire including artist-led Chrysalis Arts and development of Green Close Studios in a very small Lancashire village. Also in that county, Projects Environments three-year art and agriculture initiative was launched, as part of an emerging international field of socially-engaged practice identified at the Littoral conferences over the last five years. The initiative aimed to evolve practical solutions to some of the social, environmental and economic problems experienced by upland farmers and rural communities.
1999 opportunities analysed
By 1999, the volume of opportunities offered to artists had increased by 51% and the overall value by 35%.
|Breakdown of opportunities in 1999|
|Awards and fellowships||43||£352,000|
Exhibition opportunities had risen by 3% to make up 33% of all opportunities offered in 1999. Income attached to them was however on the decrease or at least as opportunities said less about the financial reward, the average value per opportunity dropped dramatically, from £504 in 1989 to £78 in 1999. Exhibiting opportunities included a book art show at Gracefield Arts Centre offering publication and fee to selected artists, £1,000 to three artists for a touring exhibition and the annual Young Blood show for which transport expenses will be met and all participants will receive an artists fee. Chosen artists in Hove Museum and Art Gallerys crafts shows were invited to give a demonstration or workshop, for which they will receive a fee although the gallery added 50% commission to the makers wholesale price. Encouragingly, artist-led spaces like Warehouse Artists Studio continued to offer Exhibition Payment Right of £250 for selected artists in the 1999/2000 programme.
There was increasing mention of submission fees for artists something Collective Gallerys Sarah Munro regretted when speaking at an a-n artists event as against the democracy that exhibitions ought to offer and of the requirement for sharing the cost with other artists. In an increasing number of exhibitions it was stated: artists will be responsible for the transport and insurance of work.
Open exhibitions with prizes included a range of regional and local opportunities including the 1999 Medway Open with £5,000 up for grabs, Chichester Open Art Exhibition offering £3,500 first prize, £1,500 second prize and a under 26 £1,000 prize, Leamington Spas open with £3,500 prize money. Amongst schemes with a national appeal were John Moores total prize money £35,000 and £25,000 first prize and the Cheltenham Drawing Exhibition with £4,750 in total for prizes. The Mappin Opens prize was a series of solo exhibitions open to applications from artists of any practice, age or medium who have been working for more than two years.
8% of opportunities in 1999 were in the form of competitions, with the average value just under £6,000. The Creative Scotland Awards for fourteen artists across all art forms, enabled by National Lottery funds, were valued at £25,000 for individual artists who have already made an important contribution to their field. The new Pizza Express national contemporary art competition offered a national prize in the form of a London exhibition with launch party, a study trip to Paris, £1,000 in cash and £250 in restaurant vouchers along with ten regional prizes of an exhibition, £250 and £100 in vouchers. The Hunting Art Prizes for 2000 now boasted £21,000 overall and a finalists show at the RCA. The BP Portrait award was worth £10,000. The Wales National Eisteddfod gave £5,000 prizes for fine art and craft along with a £1,500 scholarship for a young artist/craftsperson under 25. The Althorp Fund for Young Artists (We buy art from young people) had a first (purchase) prize of £5,000 from a prize pot of £17,000. The Turner prize had doubled in value over ten years to £20,000 and Tracey Emin popped up again in 1999, this time on the Turner prize shortlist.
The volume of commissions promoted through a-ns pages increased to 10% of all opportunities and 20% of the value. The millennium seemed to play a large part in the uplift. The average value of a commission to the successful artist was £6,325. Unlike the exhibition opportunities that revealed little about the financial reward, commissions tended to state either a figure for the artists fee or the total commissions budget, and to indicate the level of experience required.
Examples include a writer and letter carver sought, fee £4,000, to produce a Wall of Words in Dorset County Hospital, funded by the Millennium Festival Fund. An environmental sculptor at Black Park Sculpture Project, Buckinghamshire commanded a fee of £4-5000, to create a new work for the woodland trail and run educational workshops for young people, the Chinese Artists in the Park Festival offered £2,000 millennium funding to lead workshops to create a site-specific public art works in London and a budget of £50,000 was available for a water feature in Cannizaro Park, London to mark the new millennium, with three £1,000 prizes for shortlisted artists. Public Art Leicesters Cultural Mapping programme promoted commissions ranging from £17-40,000, Cumbria County Council offered £200,000 through three commissions to artists and craftworkers with experience of developing large-scale site-specific works, whilst West Lancashire Council had a total budget of £300,000 from SRB to spend over three years on a public art programme for Skelmersdale. Major public art programmes were also promoted to artists and makers on waterways, cycle paths, tramways and other transport systems, linked with lottery, millennium or regeneration schemes, gateways were often a key feature.
By 1999, awards and fellowships only accounted 5% of all opportunities and 14% of the value of them, with an average value of £8,186. The Clarke Digital Bursary at Watershed was worth £5,000 plus £6,000 production budget. Arts Council Film and Video Production Awards offered a maximum of £20,000 to established or emerging artists in England. It also offered bursary awards of up to £5,000 for artists with disabilities who wish to develop multimedia digital technology work. In promoting awards across all visual arts forms, London Arts Board usefully listed previous winners and advisers panels, so that potential applicants for awards between £500-£2,000 check career-stage positioning in awards made.
In design and applied arts, the Peugeot Design Awards in six categories were valued at £1,000 with two £500 runner-up prizes, The Theo Morsman Trust for Weavers gave grants for equipment purchase, sabbatical time or other development to those graduating at least two years previously.
The Rootstein Hopkins Foundation provided a range of artists involved in painting and drawing practice with grants for study, travel and sabbatical time. The Royal Bath & West of England Society offered an artist between 22-35 a £2,000 scholarship for a work on the theme of landscape or rural life in the UK. Pier Arts Centre in Stromness offered £7,500 plus £750 for materials in for a six-month artists fellowship. Women artists were invited by Kettles Yard to apply for the 2000/01 artists fellowship at one of three womens colleges in Cambridge, worth £13,000 plus studio, accommodation and meals. New opportunities were emerging for practice-based fine art research. Cheltenham and Gloucester offered £7,600 plus £700 for a ten-month contract and the Chadwick Fellowship of £16,802 pro-rata plus £1,000 for materials as a two-year fixed term contract for a researcher in sculpture. A research fellow in textiles at Surrey Institute was provided with £8,000 for an eight-month stint. University of Dundees two-year Fellowship in Sculpture, funded by the Henry Moore Foundation, open to innovative sculptors of outstanding ability carried a stipend of £15,000.
Although residencies were due to be the main feature of Year of the Artist in 2000, the number openly advertised in 1999 was just 7% of the total volume of opportunities (compared with 6% ten years previously). Residencies accounted for 4% of the value of opportunities that year, with the average fee to selected artists dropping to £1,738 (from £3,321 ten years ago).
Artists Agency (now Helix Arts) offered a one-year residency for an artist working in steel in Tyne and Wear at £16,000 plus possible £500 relocation fee, stipulating this to be three days a week for forty-six weeks. The artist-in-residence at Gloucester Cathedral would get £10,300-£14,300 plus accommodation and studio in a one-year contract, and a residency programme attached to the new lottery-funded Irwell Sculpture Trail sought community-based artists to work with local groups, run practical workshops and create site-specific works over the next three years, for budgets between £15-£20,000.
The New Gallery Walsall launched its first three-month residency for £3,000 with further funds for materials and expenses to be negotiated. Photoworks in Brighton offered a residency attached to its digital archive open to applications from experienced artists for nine months, worth £4,500 plus travel and expenses. Crucible Theatre offered £4,000 each to two artists for six-month residencies to develop issues around a new play Disco 2000, based on Sheffields pop industry.
Educational and healthcare residencies included £7,985 plus £1,000 materials and accommodation at St Peters School York for an artist to teach 8-18 year olds for one academic year, a £8,000 fee for working with the South Asian Crafts and Visual Arts Network, based at Tameside College and Salisbury Healthcare Trusts 30 hours a week post aimed at artists with previous experience in a related healthcare setting at pro-rata of £17,195-£20,121.
1999 saw a surge of professional development schemes that offered a package to artists, including awards or bursaries, with skills or business training and related opportunities to develop and show work. These included new schemes in Buckinghamshire (£4,500 grant, studio, projects and opportunities and training) and the North West Arts Board Setting Up scheme for designer makers (£6,000 a year maintenance grant, two years free studio, £1,000 business/equipment grant and training and professional support). Alongside, new training programmes such as City Universitys The Business of Being an Artist presented with Hales Gallery provided insights over ten weeks into UK and international art markets, funding advice, types of galleries and their relationship with artists, fashions and trends and a development plan for setting up a gallery.
2003 themes and focuses
By 2003, we had prioritised Development of strategies to support and enhance artists networking, delivered through partnerships with others, not only in the UK but internationally. Our own research had revealed that 78% of artists saw networking as a priority in developing their practice. In March 2003, we launched our initiative to Network artists networks with the Self-assembly artists critical debate. Held in partnership with artist-led Castlefield Gallery, participant Karen Guthrie commented: Successful networks are generated and sustained from within' they may be transient, they may last decades, and neither timescale nor the number of nodes dictates their success. We regularly reported on artists ventures ranging from London-based Area 10, a non hierarchical group with experiment, communication and collaboration at its core, to Blast Theory, an inspirational performance and new media artist-led company, and Shetland-based Veer North whose formation was coloured by the nature of life in a small, rural, island community with distinct culture and its own language.
With Gillian Nicol now a-ns Editor, international contexts for artists practice were high on the agenda, and a-n Magazine regularly reported on artists experiences, initiatives and developments beyond the UK, as an aid to UK artists mobility and development strategies. Examples included glass, Jonathan Andersson reported the stark contrast between prices: Pieces that I struggle to sell for £500 in the UK sell for $3-4,000 in the US; Judith Staines revealed Sanskrit Kendra on Delhis outskirts as an ideal venue for short artists residencies; Carolyn Black gained much from undertaking a residency advertised previously in a-n Magazine in Java, Karen Guthries report on the New York art scene discussed the impact of community engaged practice and Graham Parker and Edoardo Malagigi set out two different angles of the Venice Biennale.
V3 of our website launched in June 2003, with themes and focuses defined through extensive consultations and discussions with artists, curators, commissioners and gallerists across the UK, was created by a new team of Commissioning Editors Brigid Howarth, Manick Govinda and Deborah Smith. By addressing artists strategies for Making a living, gaining Profile and promotion and locating Time and space to do their work, augmented with Professional development material including the newly-published Code of Practice for the Visual Arts, the site was designed to complement the month-by-month coverage of artists practice in a-n Magazine, whilst also providing an online, searchable and archived version of it. Significantly, it also changed the nature of data collection on artists jobs and opportunities forever, as we phased in a weekly-updated online jobs and opportunities section for subscribers.
In April 2003, the newly-cobbled Arts Council England a strategic national office and nine regional offices launched opened-ended grants to individuals across England with no deadlines. Grant-giving would be designed to reduce bureaucracy and have a lighter touch. But whilst a rolling deadline enables applications to be made at a more suitable time for the work' it leaves questions about how well the money will be managed throughout the year and how individual art forms will fare with no earmarking of specific funds, commented former RAB officer Helen Parrott in a-n Magazine. Meanwhile, Peter Hewitt confirmed ACEs belief that the arts have the power to transform lives and that dynamic arts experiences offered by schools have a lasting impact on young people.
Three conferences focusing on artists workspace and open studios heralded the prioritising by ACE of studio development within capital lottery funding for 2003-07. Two were held at lottery-funded Persistence Works Yorkshire Artspace in Sheffield and created a focus around networking amongst studio providers and open studio event organisers.
The Scottish Arts Council published its Artists audit to highlight its pivotal position, aware of to the Scottish Executives moves for direct involvement in arts funding. Amongst other things, the audit revealed the internationalism of Scottish artists a third had shown outside Scotland whilst issues of low overall income were re-examined. Devolution impacted on the Venice Biennale with Scotland, Wales and England having individual presences there for the first time. Arts Council of Northern Ireland got a £10 million funding uplift, with £1 million going to the programme to support individual artists.
Professional development provision in the form of mentoring, advice and training programmes had burgeoned since 2001, with over thirty organisations actively participating in the Artists Professional Development (APD) network. APD became the visual arts partnership group of CreativePeople the UK cross art form professional development network founded in 2001 that by 2003 had 100 participating organisations, and eight art form or geographical partnership groups.
Following a successful campaign by the music industry and a three-year pilot, a New Deal for Musicians scheme was established that would spend £4.5 million annual to help unemployed musicians to improve skills and gain work as musicians.
Curatorial sensibilities and interventions into the traditional, agency-led field of public art were highlighted in the Inhabited spaces articles running across 2002/3: Art is anything you want it to be, said freelance arts consultant and writer Jes Fernie. After thirty years of flailing around in the dark (when art in the public domain was hijacked and used by politicians, administrators and bad artists as a pawn in the regeneration game) it seems that a growing number of artists are sliding adeptly between the two worlds of the gallery and the public domain. We also provided insights into the mutuality between artists and their professional collaborators in the Crossing over and Co-relationship series, including examining Rob Kesselers relationship with funder NESTA: Suddenly you are answerable to someone who is constantly asking How is the public benefiting from this?.
Commissioning approaches and intentions got a thorough airing, from the artists perspective, through Jane Watts Navigating Places series. These provided an intelligent interface between artists concerns and the continual need for artists to respond to regeneration agendas where the representatives of the public sector are numerous and include councillors, planners, architects, community members, private business, and when you throw into the mix a dash of funding criteria, the result can be a heady, sometimes explosive, cocktail.
And, demonstrating the mixed economy and portfolio working of most artists, during 2003 aided by the Commissioning Editors team, we investigated the commercial market for artists work and corporate collectors with an editorial commenting that Banks and law firms who appear dull and unattractive to young people look to art and design as potent symbols in recasting their image.
Amongst institutional developments in the autumn of 2003 were the opening of the Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester as a new national British flagship exhibition centre for Chinese contemporary art, the Hub in Sleaford, Lincolnshire as Britains largest crafts display centre, FACT in Liverpool, The Triangle, Spaces new studio and training facility in Hackney, London and London-based Cockpit Arts second studios and workshop for 80 designer-makers in Deptford. Axis changed its name to Visual Associations and launched the Open Frequency initiative curated by Kay Pallister.
The Frieze Art Fair Londons first international art fair was launched, its status immediately secured by a £100,000 Tate acquisitions fund. Scotlands second international festival of live art took place in Glasgow. Bids were in train to host City of Culture in 2008 with Liverpool, Oxford, Belfast, and Newcastle-Gateshead in the running.
2003 opportunities analysed
By 2003, although the overall volume of opportunities offered to artists through a-n Magazine had risen by 9%, their value had increased to £6.2 million a rise of £3.6 million over a decade.
|Breakdown of opportunities in 2003|
|Awards and fellowships||88||£2,030,370|
Commissions made up 15% of the volume of opportunities and 40% of the value. The average value of a commission usually stated in terms of overall budget rather than artists fee was £19,615, compared with £6,325 in 1999 and £4,204 in 1989. Examples range from the Cultural Mapping programme of Public Art Leicester that welcomed artists registration on a database for news of forthcoming commissions and was looking for: Artists of all disciplines and at varying stages of their careers who are innovative, challenge the boundaries of their practice, a range of art and craft opportunities to make work for the national cycle network Sustrans, South & East Belfast Health and Social Services Trusts healthcare commissions of £1-£25,000 in value, a £30,000 budget for a sculpture in Chepstow High Street and £300,000 for three major commissions organised by the Combined Universities in Cornwall for new HE buildings.
Awards made up 10% of all opportunities, and specific schemes such as the DACS distribution of over £750,000 in copyright fees explain the significantly uplifted awards figure, that rose to almost £2 million 33% of the total value of all opportunities. The newly-acronymed ROSL Arts (aka Royal Over-seas League) continued to offer a travel scholarship of £3,000 to artists up to 35 years, through a slide submission and The Royal Bath & West of England Society offered an artist between 22-35 a £2,000 scholarship for a work on the theme of landscape or rural life in the UK, the same rate as in 1999. Creative Scotland Awards, now worth £30,000 each, went to Jim Buckley and Ian Hamilton Finlay.
New award givers included the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award, worth £4,000 intended to subsidise an artists time, facilities or materials necessary for a new body of work for exhibition at Standpoint Gallery, London and Pulse from the Wellcome Trust: A new funding scheme for arts and educational professionals that aims to encourage young people to engage with biomedical science and to tackle complex, emotive issues, with grants up to £3,000, £10,000 and £40,000. Northern Arts Encore programme spent £100,000 on ten artists, across all art forms, giving them the freedom to reflect on and develop their practice. British Council grants offered were: Open to professional artists in the UK who have received a firm invitation to exhibit overseas and could be used to cover transport, packing and insurance of work to and from Britain. AHRB offered a £35,000 pot for 6-12 month fellowships hosted by HE institutions for individuals working in the creative and performing arts who want to engage in collaborative work with scientists.
The 2004 Gilchrist-Fisher Award for landscape painters under thirty had a £3,000 first prize and £1,000 runner-up. The BOC emerging artist award valued at £20,000 was offered annually to a UK artist under thirty. Live Art Development Agency provided seven £8,100 One-To-One bursaries for live art to be made available to artists to undertake self-determined artistic and professional development strategies. Comme Ca PR launched the £10,000 prize for a North of England artist attracting an all-male shortlist and some adverse media attention accordingly.
Arts Council Englands new open-ended, no deadline scheme was not always included in the a-n Magazine month-by-month listings. A breakdown of figures subsequently awarded to individual visual artists during 2003/04 was not available at the time of this analysis, but as an example of the scope of the scheme, ACE North East office had a budget of £575,000 for Grants to individuals across all art forms in that financial year, or the equivalent of 115 grants of £5,000.
Exhibitions retained their key role in opportunities publicly offered to artists, accounting for 38% overall. The marked lack of mention in these listings as regards financial benefits for exhibiting artists means that the value of exhibitions opportunities was a mere 1%, or an average of under £200 per exhibition. Indeed, often galleries expected some income from the artist in the form of submission fees or hire charges, plus commission on sales. A welcome exception was artist-run RED Gallery, Hull, offering a £300 fee to selected artists, (although this was not a common feature in voluntarily-run artist-led ventures).
Bristol-based Arnolfini offered three exhibition commissions for research and development of live art work (£5,000 inclusive each) and for a science/live art work (£9,000 inclusive). ITEM a FACT/NESTA project offered to support a small cluster of research projects that bring together artists and technologists to explore future directions in new media for exhibitions. More prosaically, Newcastles Laing Art Gallery invited submissions from emerging artists for four solo exhibitions. On the open exhibitions front, the Mostyn Opens prize had increased to £6,000 and the John Moores Liverpool exhibition linked with the Liverpool Biennial retained its position as the major painting survey show.
Although competitions and prizes only accounted for 7% of all opportunities, the average value was over £4,384, providing incentives for artists to get involved. Jerwood Foundation now the biggest sponsor of prizes for artists and makers deserved a profile in the Prizes and awards section of the new www.a-n.co.uk for prizes including £15,000 for applied arts, £5,000 first prize for drawing, the new Photography Award worth £10,000 and the £25,000 sculpture prize (2003 winner Gereon Krebber, 90 submissions). The Oxo Peugeot award of £16,000 went to Helen Murray for her innovative sculptural fabric with a three-dimensional surface. The Bombay Sapphire prize for glass design was worth £15,000 to the overall winner. Becks Futures £24,000 winner in 2003 was Rosalind Nashashibi. The fourth Pizza Express Prospects award of £10,000 went to James Pyman who would use the cash to spend more time on my work and pay off my huge bank loan.
Despite the emphasis on residencies created by the arts funding bodies for Year of the Artist, the volume of residencies offered publicly in 2003 was 9%, or 6% of the total value of opportunities. The average value of a residency became £4,700, representing the equivalent of 23% of Arts Council Englands then suggested rate of £20,000 a year for artists residencies. These range from Artsways two-month Production Residencies offered a £3,000 fee plus £3-5,000 for production and marketing and accommodation and travel, the Great North Runs £10,000 offer for up to three months with completed artworks suitable for display in an outdoor location or adjacent to the runs route, four, ten-month craft residencies worth pro rata of £12,000 plus studio fees in the Ayrshire and Arran Craft Development Project.
Encouraging artists own initiatives, Cywaith Cymru/Artwork Wales advertised for artists to propose their own residencies in business or community settings in the broadest sense, with funding up to £5,000 available for realisation and social-engagement agency, Littoral (formerly Projects Environment) sought proposals for residencies/commissions for artists to work on visual arts, photographic or digital projects documenting and re-imaging British farming and helping farmers to communicate their work and life to new urban audiences.
The emerging network of Creative Partnerships across sixteen areas in England each involving 15-25 schools and focusing on art and education projects involving including artists residencies, did not necessarily advertise their opportunities in a-n magazine. Amongst the plethora of residencies offered in 2003 in independent educational settings were Marlborough Colleges three-term opportunity at £4,750 plus accommodation and catering, in exchange for up to eight hours teaching weekly, a series of workshops or open studios and two exhibitions and £3,600 plus board and lodging at Bootham School, York and two, one-year residencies at Christs Hospital, Horsham, with a salary of £10,592, £1,500 for materials, accommodation, studio and meals for up to thirty hours teaching weekly in small groups and individually.
The emphasis on practice-based fine art research led to increased coverage of academic opportunities such as University of Sunderlands New Media Art Curator/Researcher at £21,125 p a for two years and a PhD Research Studentship in the same topic for £9,000 a year for three years.
Professional development schemes that offered a package of benefits to artists included Yorkshire Artspaces Starter Studio Programme for visual and applied artists providing two years free studio space, a business training programme, mentoring, exhibition, promotional and workshop opportunities, and access to IT for research and communication, University of Wolverhamptons Makers Dozen workspace in the city centre with business development support, enabled by European Union funding and arts and disability organisation Art Houses £4,000 bursary and residency with young people plus exhibition.
For portfolio artists, keen to exploit their transferable skills, Art vacancies in 2003 represented 15% of the value of all opportunities. Included here were salaried posts including for lecturers in Higher Education, research-based consultancies, project coordinator posts, art technicians, local authority arts development and public art officers, and curatorial posts.
Although what we are publishing here does not represent an exact science, because the analyses provided have compared like-with-like over three, twelve-month periods, and the information contained in a-n Magazine is drawn from a range of material pertaining to contexts and situations occurring across the UK, it can be argued that the figures provide a useful indicator of the changing face and value of opportunities and jobs for visual and applied artists 1989-2003.
In broad terms, the analyses reveal a number of key strands that are worth consideration by practitioners themselves, and also by those developing new public strategies that seek to support artists career development and livelihoods whilst also addressing the broader concerns about developing audiences and new markets for art and meeting targets for social inclusion.
The breakdown of advertised opportunities demonstrate the growing role of public art commissioning in terms of providing artists with opportunities to generate what are often major one-off pieces in complex circumstances. As the report Artists fees and payments by University of Newcastle reveals, the fees offered to artists undertaking public art commissions tend to acknowledge the requirement for higher skill and experience levels. Commissioning also provides realistic additional sums for artists expenses and materials costs, something that is less common in other situations.
Clearly, however, many public art commissions do not provide artists with the kinds of visibility and critical framework that they require to attract art world and curatorial recognition. Similarly, artists residencies over the years have become shorter and less valuable in financial terms, with less clearly defined space within them for artists to do their own work alongside community or educational interaction. And although for some artists such as Pope and Guthrie, Ella Gibbs and Anna Best social engagement with people is an integral part of the process of art making, their projects also tend to be re-presented within galleries, to ensure that the artists gain access to the peer exchange and critical appraisal that moves their practice on.
The analyses bring into sharp focus the parallel paths that artists follow nowadays as they seek to develop their visibility and sustain their businesses. They must decide between participation in exhibitions that provide little-or-no tangible financial support but offer a much-needed critical framework for their practice (and thus move them up curatorial ladders), and the lure of fee-paid commissions and residencies that pay the bills and provide a different kind of artistic recognition.
a-n has given ongoing coverage and support over a period of twenty-four years to the ever-growing patchwork of artists initiatives and networks. Artists ventures have impacted on the cultural life in major cities and rural communities across the UK. These provide the artists involved with a mechanism both to challenge traditional routes, to whet the appetite of new commissioners and enablers and opportunities to effect change.
With an estimated half of all artists now classed as self-employed, a serious issue to be addressed now by all those who believe in the value of artists and their work is just how artists in the future will be able to financially sustain their practices; how they will afford studio space; access to specialist facilities; pay for training and professional development; cover necessary research time, and at the same time, maintain quality in their work through having time for experiment and exposure to critical interchange.
But although artists, armed with the conviction of their practice, are eminently capable of surviving and thriving, regardless of the complexion or shape of government and of cultural infrastructures and the subsequently short-term planning cycles, there are some stark contrasts between 1989 and 2004 in the situation for artists. Nowadays with an ever-growing artist population, at one end of the scale there are the new artists kicking off their careers with a mountain of student debt and at the other, the established artists facing a lengthy retirement period with no personal pension in sight. At the same time, awareness of the pivotal role of artists is higher than ever before within arts council and cultural industries agendas, in formal education within social change frameworks, and across into the fields of health, science, communications and technology. It is question perhaps of making the exchange more equitable.
Opportunities compared 1
Expressed as % of overall volume of opportunities offered to artists in that year.
|Awards and fellowships||17%||5%||10%|
Opportunities compared 2
Expressed as % of overall annual value of opportunities offered to artists in that year
|Awards and fellowships||46%||14%||36%|
Susan Jones is Director of Programmes at a-n THE ARTISTS INFORMATION COMPANY. Between 1980-1999, whilst maintaining a studio-based practice as an artist, she contributed to the company's work through commissions to undertake research, critical writing and editing and leading specific development initiatives. In 1995, she instigated and gained funding from a range of public and private sources to undertake the first ever national study of the scope and value of artists' organisations, including seventeen case studies and publication in 1997 of Measuring the Experience and Roles and reasons. Data collection for this research study was undertaken by Anne Padwick.
A former artist, Susan Jones is a published writer and researcher on the visual arts and Director and Publisher, a-n The Artists Information Company.
First published: a-n.co.uk December 2004
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