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Artists’ liveli­hoods: my essen­tial reads

The basis for artists’ liveli­hoods is hold­ing agency and capac­i­ty to cre­ate and cap­i­talise on their eco­nom­ic and social assets. But as this text shows, it’s the eter­nal strug­gle between the intrin­sic moti­va­tions dri­ving art prac­tices and the small busi­ness” expec­ta­tions attached to self-employ­ment sta­tus that is root cause of their con­tin­u­al­ly pre­car­i­ous situation. 

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Demo­graph­ics and eco­nom­ics of artists

Pol­i­cy and many of the pro­grammes intend­ed to be sup­port­ive of artists’ devel­op­ment and careers may lack insight into the nuance of artists’ lives and how they pur­sue art prac­tices. By col­lat­ing data from a range of author­i­ta­tive sources, this new inde­pen­dent­ly pro­duced resource pro­vides a demo­graph­ic and eco­nom­ic pro­file of artists as an aid to those com­mit­ted to aid­ing artists’ to sur­vive and (maybe even) to thrive, a bit. 

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Turn­ing the tables: strate­gies for artists’ equity

This pre­sen­ta­tion address­es the prob­lem­at­ic con­di­tions for artists’ prac­tices and lives that define and con­fine their con­tri­bu­tions to con­tem­po­rary visu­al arts and soci­ety. The aim is to inform sec­toral and polit­i­cal dis­cus­sions on future reme­di­al pol­i­cy inter­ven­tions, strate­gies and infra­struc­tures that ame­lio­rate bar­ri­ers to artists’ mul­ti­ple con­tri­bu­tions and secure their social and eco­nom­ic status.

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Grass­roots call for rad­i­cal change

An inde­pen­dent review demon­strat­ing the severe impacts of the pan­dem­ic on the social and eco­nom­ic cir­cum­stances of visu­al artists reveals the diver­gent per­spec­tives at nation­al and local lev­els in Eng­land about what artists and the arts are for, and on how and where future arts pol­i­cy should be made and implemented.

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Crack­ing up: the pan­dem­ic effect on visu­al artists’ livelihoods

Analy­sis of the plight of visu­al artists dur­ing Covid-19 illu­mi­nates the work­ing con­di­tions of a chron­i­cal­ly under-exam­ined sub-sec­tion of cul­tur­al labour. It demon­strates the sever­i­ty of pan­dem­ic impacts on visu­al artists’ social and eco­nom­ic cir­cum­stances, includ­ing from inap­pro­pri­ate cri­te­ria for access­ing gov­ern­ment and Arts Coun­cil Eng­land emer­gency mea­sures. A cen­tral con­cern is con­sid­er­a­tion of how arts poli­cies might bet­ter acknowl­edge and account in future arts infra­struc­tures for the dis­tinc­tive, diverse social con­tri­bu­tions of this work­force ele­ment. The com­men­tary reveals a stark con­trast between ambi­tions at nation­al and local lev­els about what artists and the arts are for, and where and how arts pol­i­cy should be made and imple­ment­ed. It evi­dences an emerg­ing grass­roots appetite for a dra­mat­ic shift from cur­rent hier­ar­chi­cal pat­terns dri­ven by nation­al imper­a­tives to nuanced, localised infra­struc­tures that can ensure artists’ mul­ti­ple tal­ents and assets con­tribute ful­ly to social and eco­nom­ic change for the bet­ter with­in communities.

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Roles and rea­sons: the scope and val­ue of artist-led organisations

The term artist-led organ­i­sa­tion encom­pass­es a diverse and com­plex range of artists’ activ­i­ties and philo­soph­i­cal stances, includ­ing stu­dio groups of all sizes, gallery spaces, groups con­cerned with com­mu­ni­ty action, oth­ers focused on cre­at­ing net­works or increas­ing mar­kets for their work, cam­paign­ing asso­ci­a­tions and prac­tice-led artists’ col­lec­tives that gen­er­ate col­lab­o­ra­tive art in pub­lic places.

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Telling tales: artists’ pan­dem­ic stories

A new qual­i­ta­tive, lon­gi­tu­di­nal study sur­pris­ing­ly demon­strates how the lives and artis­tic prospects of many visu­al artists improved in pan­dem­ic con­di­tions and by doing so, pro­vides clues to the infra­struc­tur­al shifts need­ed to hon­our and sus­tain the tal­ents and vibran­cy of this diverse con­stituen­cy in future.

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