a-n and AIR have published several new pieces of research as part of the Paying Artists campaign. Dany Louise’s Paying artists: Related texts brings together material that is being widely shared across social media and peer networks, providing fascinating insights around the broad topic of the working conditions and pay of freelance arts professionals.

Louise reviewed the range of issues being discussed and made her own additions. The result is a selection of some 60 items from the UK and beyond – classified into four sections and annotated for easy access.

Highlights include Bryony Kimming’s blog post You Show me Yours, an honest discussion of real-life earnings and expenses in ‘the false economy’ of touring theatre, which addresses the difficulties of negotiating with venues and earning a living as an artist. Who feeds the Artist? by Xenia Pestova, explores the advantages and disadvantages of unpaid opportunities for young concert musicians.

The broad range of material continues with the Artist Opportunities blog by Alistair Gentry, featuring two angry satires of the common types of advertisement for unpaid work in journalism and the visual arts.

Review of existing literature

The material complements a more traditional Literature review that has been produced by DHA Communications. This short paper looks at some of the existing literature – research, resources and approaches to artists’ terms and conditions in exhibition practice – which has either been referenced or provided useful context and comparison for the Paying Artists Study.

The Literature review does not seek to offer a comprehensive appraisal of the discussions and approaches taking place, but provides a useful starting point in terms of gathering together views, evidence and approaches which are relevant.

Examples featured in the review include the BOP study of crafts practitioners, Craft in an Age of Change (2012). This looks at the stage and duration of practice, costs and working conditions, and approaches to income generation, including the role of exhibitions in these approaches.

Other useful data from beyond the UK comes from New York-based Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.). The organisation undertook an initial survey in 2010 and is continuing to gather information on demographics, income and payment/expenses/costs from exhibitions. This ongoing process involves partners in institutions and organisations.

Read Paying artists: Related texts in pdf format

Read Paying Artists Research: Literature and Approaches Review in pdf format