The Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller has added his voice to a-n and AIR’s Paying Artists campaign. Deller, who represented Britain at the 2013 Venice Biennale, has pledged his support in a statement that draws on his own experience as an artist and stresses the importance of “proper and fair payment” for those exhibiting in publicly-funded galleries.
He said: “Our vibrant visual arts culture is built on diversity and social mobility – on the premise that young people from all walks of life can gain access to art school and go on to become the artists of the future. It is wrong therefore that some publicly-funded galleries expect artists to exhibit work for free, because without paid opportunities, only those with a private income will be able to afford to make art in the future.
“Some of my best opportunities as an artist came through commissions from publicly-funded organisations, so I understand the vital importance of proper and fair payment. If we want our culture to accurately reflect the society we live in, then we need to pay our artists. That is why I wholeheartedly support the Paying Artists campaign.”
Speaking in response to Deller’s support, AIR Council’s Joseph Young said: “I first met Jeremy after a talk he gave at Brighton Festival in May, when I approached him to ask for his support for the Paying Artists campaign. What struck me was his eloquence and thoughtfulness as a public speaker (as well as his understated humour).
“Having been a fan of his work since The Battle of Orgreave, I instinctively felt he would be a supporter of fair pay for artists. I am therefore delighted that he has chosen to lend the weight of his reputation to our campaign.”
Next phase of activity
A number of Paying Artists events are taking place this month. On 16 September, Metal Billboard in Peterborough is hosting a discussion with Susan Jones (a-n) and Pauline Tambling (chief executive, Creative & Cultural Skills). This session explores the value of the arts to the UK economy, individual rates of pay for artists and freelancers, and how to negotiate your worth.
Taking place on 19 September, PRIMARY in Nottingham is hosting an event through a partnership with EMVAN. Featuring contributions from Susan Jones (a-n) and Joseph Young (AIR), this informal session will explore how fairness and equality of opportunity within artists’ pay can best be enshrined in working relationships, both in publicly-funded galleries and across all visual arts opportunities. This free event is open to members of a-n and EMVAN – places are limited, so pre-booking is essential.
In addition, a number of Paying Artists presentations are taking place, including in Stockholm at a seminar discussing the Swedish MU (Memorandum of Understanding) agreement, in Glasgow at the Scottish Artists Union AGM, and at a Visual Arts South West consultation. More events will be announced in due course.
Book tickets for Paying Artists Peterborough at www.metalculture.com
Book tickets for Paying Artists Nottingham at www.eventbrite.com
For more information on the Paying Artists campaign, visit www.payingartists.org.uk