A newly published report commissioned by a-n and AIR shows strong support from both galleries and artists for the aims of the Paying Artists campaign.

The Paying Artists Consultation Report 2015 has been produced by DHA Communications and draws on research undertaken since the launch of the campaign in May 2014.

DHA was asked to report on the campaign’s sector consultation on the remuneration of artists who exhibit in publicly-funded galleries. Included are the findings of the recent Paying Artists online exhibition fees survey, as well as interviews, discussions and case studies with artists, curators, gallery representatives and funders.

The consultation has been designed to better understand the challenges of paying artists and to find concrete ways to ensure artists and the visual arts sector are protected for the future. Its findings will inform the development of a national policy on exhibition pay for artists in the UK.

The report finds that 90% of artists and galleries support the campaign’s key aim that artists should be paid for exhibiting in publicly-funded galleries. It also shows that more than 70% of galleries and 80% of artists want to see national principles and guidelines for exhibition fees. Over 70% of artists and almost 60% of galleries want greater transparency about how galleries work with artists.

There’s also broad agreement from artists and galleries that some flexibility in the approach to artists’ pay should be built into the guidance that a-n and AIR prepare for the sector.

Jeanie Scott, Executive Director of a-n, says: “The campaign is in a very positive place – it’s raising awareness, asking difficult questions and creating conversations around artists’ pay that have been needed for a long time.

“It’s extremely encouraging to see such strong evidence in this report that artists and galleries alike are endorsing the principle of Paying Artists.”

Differences of opinion

While there was consensus in some areas, the report also shows that in others – such as the value of in-kind benefits for artists, the merits and practicalities of ‘kite marking’ galleries for best practice, and the type of guidance and fee structures the sector would like to use – there are differences of opinion that suggest further research is needed.

“The consultation was designed to inform how we develop exhibition payment policy for artists,” says Scott. “We can see clear principles emerging that we’ll incorporate into our guidance in due course but there are clearly areas that deserve more rigorous debate before we have the tested, robust exhibition payment framework we think the sector needs.

“It’s been an open, constructive and collaborative conversation so far, so it would be disingenuous to force a framework that doesn’t quite fit.”

Using the key findings from the consultation, its own body of research and reports, and the experience of other international exhibition pay models, a-n and AIR are developing draft guidance and payment frameworks to test with artists and galleries across the UK.

A second phase of consultation around these will start in August 2015 and a fully-tested set of guidelines and exhibition fee recommendations will follow.

Adds Scott: “The Paying Artists campaign isn’t just about getting a minimum rate as a short-term solution – it’s about achieving fairness for artists in a complex arts environment.

“There is good practice going on and many curators in our consultations talked about what they already do. But we also regularly heard acceptance, by artists and commissioners alike, of no or low pay.

“Changing that ingrained view is going to take time. Funds are always tight in the arts, but artists can’t afford to subsidise the public sector; we need to change the way artists are valued and paid.”

Paying Artists Consultation Report 2015 – The report is part of a body of research and reports feeding into the Paying Artists campaign to secure payment for artists who exhibit in publicly-funded galleries.

More on a-n.co.uk:

See the Paying Artists tag for latest news on the Paying Artists Regional Advocates campaign.