I just read in a-n with great sadness that the Gomperts Trust will not have enough income to award grants this year.
I have received two grants from the trust and have found it such a supportive organisation. This is probably due in part, to the very personal and genuine reasons for the family setting up the trust – in memory of their duaghter and sister. It is also because of Natasha Gomperts, an artist herself, who takes a personal interest in the artists' work and allows a relatonship to develop. The last grant I received was also thanks to Greg Daville, an artist who sadly passed away last year. A previous recipient himself, he interviewed me with Natasha and I am grateful that for a short time before his death we were able to have conversations, swap reading lists and discover common ground via email.
The Juliet Gomperts Trust for me, is a model of how funding would be given in an ideal world: without preconceptions about what will be funded, what outcomes should occur and with a real down-to-earth bent that is not impressed by hollow words. Their recent residency at the Torriano meeting house seemed like a very forward thinking turn for the Trust, who also fund artists undertaking a residency in Italy. I sincerely hope they are able to improve their income in the future and carry on the good work.
The Government have said that Arts Council need to cut admin costs by 15% by next year:
Might this be the start of a mini-revolution where artists begin to adapt, cut out the middle men and sort out their own affairs a la direct holidays and direct line car insurance? Well, perhaps not, but we could shed some brokers could we not?
I have an image in my head of a cake in need of flour and plenty is being poured in to the mix, but as it goes through numerous sieves it is gradually siphoned off and clogged up until the cake is hardly left with enough to rise.
I'm not saying the flour doesn't need sieving – it does, but you can go overboard.
A new article on knowledge bank – For those who would like to read more about volunteering to view up the pros/cons and who perhaps prefer a more objective point of view!
As with all areas of my life, I have a lot to say (regarding this blog), but seem to be unable to articulate it how I would like. This comes partly, I suspect from having no authority in this area (I feel I should be supported by facts, figures at al) and also because the very last thing I want to do is moan.
Above all, I want to take responsibility for my own situation rather than simply complaining about what makes it difficult.
It seems a central resource (perhaps from an audit of artists) would provide a step from which to argue our case. If there were reliable statistics to hand it might be easier to speak eloquently and with conviction about payments and working conditions. Currently I find it is a cloudy area to say the least, where I find few people on the outside (of arts) who fully understand the breadth and quantity of contemporary artists' practice.
I have just had a read through the comments on this blog and it has given me a lot to think about. I also feel very glad not to be alone!
One comment reminded me of something that used to anger me greatly when I had just graduated; Elizabeth Haider relating her experiences of schools expecting her to work for nothing/little. As a graduate I tried to be realistic when looking at opportunities, but even then I was absolutely incensed by the (mainly private) schools looking for artists in residence, to teach up to 12 ish hours a week, given a studio and accomodation granted, but often accompanied by some measly bursary such as £3-4,000 per academic year. Shocking. What other industry would accept these conditions? Why do these schools even want someone in classes with their children (and wards) who is paid so little? Do they not value the staff they are placing into teaching positions? A friend from ECA added to my argument when she went into a residency at one school and had left by January, being very ill-equipped to cope with classes of children and given little support, not to mention having no time to do her own work and being incredibly stressed.
I wrote to a few schools one year to tell them what I thought of their 'residencies', but I only ever received one reply. They, in their defense, seemed to believe they were giving an invaluable opportunity to an emerging artist. Plus, they felt they were only offering what everyone else was. If they hadn't had any applicants I suspect they would have thought again, but of course, they had plenty.
Anyway, I try not to look at those adverts these days and to put my energy into more useful endeavors. I did have a good laugh at my younger, angrier self though. What this also make me realise is how important it is not to simply blame those offering the opportunities/the administrators etc (although they could be better educated about rates!) – but to look a bit deeper and try to address the problems where they begin, rather then where they are manifested.