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Although negotiated relation­ships forms one of the three core condi­tions enabling artists’ pursuit of liveli­hoods over a life-cycle, the over-compet­itive and disparate nature of contem­porary visual arts acts as disin­centive to achieving them. This seminar on offer to artists aims to provide rationale and tactical tips for achieving a win-win’ situation.

Achieving negotiated relation­ships forms one of the three core condi­tions for artists’ pursuit of liveli­hoods over a life-cycle. However, in a busy, highly-compet­itive visual arts climate, where good practices and industry knowledge aren’t always shared or under­stood, it can seem hard for individual artists to negotiate suitable condi­tions including contractual arrange­ments and payment for projects and exhibi­tions that’s commen­surate with their particular needs and experience and so the artistic expec­ta­tions of artist and commis­sioner are realised to a high quality.

The diverse forms of the visual arts range from community activism to festival fringes and permanent commis­sions to exhibi­tions and exper­i­mental socially-engaged and partic­i­patory practices. The higher inter­na­tional profile of the visual arts brings inter­na­tional compe­tition for UK work and oppor­tu­nities. Commis­sioners and employers – whose experience and under­standing of artists’ practices and liveli­hoods varies consid­erably –come from the commercial, public and social enter­prise sectors. 

Alongside artists striving to make a living from art practice, many people artists encounter when seeking oppor­tu­nities are working freelance in galleries, museums, festivals and biennials and community projects. Some are artists who combine their own practice with freelance project management, education or arts consul­tancy and who have to navigate the conflicts. In this complex, compet­itive climate, if artists aren’t able to negotiate terms and condi­tions to suit their particular needs and circum­stances they can find themselves losing out econom­i­cally and artistically.

In response to this environment for artists’ practices, we’ve developed a seminar especially for artists. Led by an experi­enced arts adviser and mentor, Negoti­ating better has been described as“entertaining, inspiring and infor­mative”. It aims to improve artists’ under­standing and appli­cation of negoti­ation processes. It covers contexts for artists’ work, sifting oppor­tu­nities on offer and tackling thorny issues including no and low budgets, unreal­istic commission briefs and expec­ta­tions and over optimistic time-scales, whilst pursuing an overall devel­opment plan. 

It includes tactical tips to enable artists to retain integrity and by assessing their specific needs, ensure they get terms for oppor­tu­nities reflective of their profes­sional status and experience level, and can say no’ and retreat from poor offers. Whether negoti­ating work, contracts, projects, oppor­tu­nities or other aspects of profes­sional life, this seminar inspires confi­dence amongst artists and demon­strates how to achieve a win-win’ situation – the best solution.

To discuss or book this seminar, in the first instance send a tweet to @SusanJonesArts