An independent arts researcher and writer, Dr Susan Jones holds specialist knowledge and insight about the social and political environment for artists and contemporary visual arts.
Writing and opinion has been published by Arts Professional, Art Monthly, Art Review, Corridor 8, Sluice, Cultural Trends, Engage Journal, The Guardian, The Double Negative, TransArtists, a-n The Artists Information Company and Thames and Hudson.
She has advised and contributed to artists’ research and to development programmes including Aspex Artists' Associates, Bradford Producing Hub, Castlefield Gallery Associates, CAMP, Creative Land Trust, East Street Arts, Mark Devereux Arts, New Bridge Project, Original Projects, Social Art Network Norfolk, S1 Sheffield, Somerset Art Works, SteamHouse and Visual Arts South West.
In her role as mentor, advisor, critical friend or coach to individual artists and artists’ initiatives, her starting point is to understand artists’ motivations, social circumstances and human needs. Artists she’s worked with describe her as warm and approachable, as putting their needs uppermost and being good at helping them to reflect, unpick, explore and resolve difficulties in life and career planning and in the execution of their art practices.
She contributes to UK and international peer networks and discourse through conferences, symposia and think-tank presentations including Is artists' exploitation inevitable? Aberdeen mini-summit, Gray's School of Art (2023), Razing the agenda, Original Projects (2023), HIVE/East Street Arts (2023) Social Role of Artists, Centre for Cultural Value (2022), Work and Social Justice in Art, Craft and Design, UAL (2022), a-n Assembly: Blackpool (2021), Contemporary Visual Arts Network Equity Group (2021), Desire Lines: Proforma (2021), Temporary Contemporary (2021), Powering up: SameSkies (2121), Another Artworld: Manifestations and Conditions of Equity in Visual Arts (2020), What we don’t talk about when we talk about the artist-led ERS/LJMU (2020), WTF symposium Creative Factory Middlesbrough (2018) and ELIA NXT Making a living in the arts (2017).
As Director of a-n The Artists Information Company (until 2014), she instigated research studies on the impact of arts policy changes on artists’ employment, examination of BA art and design professional practice strategies and the research portfolio informing the Paying artists advocacy campaign. She was a Board member of Redeye: The Photography Network 2015- 2018.
Her doctoral thesis Artists livelihoods: the artists in arts policy conundrum, Manchester Metropolitan University 2015-2019, exposed baseline flaws in the interrelationship between arts policies and artists’ livelihoods over the last 30 years and articulated a unique new rationale for better support to artists that could enable many more to pursue livelihoods through art practices over a life cycle.
Informed by this research, the Covid19 portfolio of texts published on this site from March 2020 and by Arts Professional, CAMP and Cultural Trends in 2022/23 provide in-depth evidence of artists' contexts, illuminating the pressing need for nuanced, individualised support to artists during and beyond emergencies and external crises.