30 November 2011

Action on artists’ pensions

Today many workers are taking part in the TUC Day of Action, rallying against the Government’s proposed changes to public sector retirement age and pension entitlements, that will reduce their income on retirement and impact on the quality of their elderly lives.

The Big Artists Survey conducted by AIR and a-n in June 2011 reveals that pension savings are particularly low amongst visual artists, with the vast majority having no private pension plans, and just 16% paying into a private pension.

Findings from the Pensions for Artists research commissioned by Arts Council England in 2007 showed that 70% of artists (across all artforms) didn’t have a private pension. In the UK working population as a whole, 44% don’t have a private pension. Given that 50% of artists nowadays are self-employed, this presents a significant question as to how professional artists will be able to support themselves once they reach retirement age.

AIR Co Chairs Paul Scott and Sally Sheinman say: “Artists make a life-time’s contribution to the vibrancy of British cultural life –through exhibitions, community engagement, teaching and public art. AIR believes this should be properly acknowledged in the levels of remuneration on offer for artists’ work and services, ensuring in future that their incomes enable artists to afford to save for the pension they need to support them in their elder years.”

AIR is committed to campaigning for artistic, legislative and economic measures that enhance artists’ working lives and their professional status. During 2012, AIR and a-n will be collaborating on research designed to identify how artists can build suitable pension funds and be supported on retirement.


[email protected] – for interviews with AIR Council members

[email protected] – AIR Communications

About AIR

Founded in 2006, AIR – Artists Interaction and Representation is a professional body for visual and applied artists with 17,000 members. It works in partnership with the Scottish Artists Union to further research and campaigns. AIR is a member of the European Council of Artists (ECA) and a DACS appointed organisation for collective licensing. For more information including Mission and current activities go to www.air-artists.org

Download press release in rtf format: Campaign for artists pensions