An independent arts researcher and writer, Dr Susan Jones has particular knowledge of the social and political environment for contemporary visual arts. Her writing and opinion has appeared in Arts Professional, Art Review, Corridor 8, Sluice, Engage Journal, The Guardian, The Double Negative, TransArtists, a-n The Artists Information Company, Thames and Hudson, the Cultural Value Initiative and CVAN (Contemporary Visual Arts Network).
She is an advisor and contributor to artists’ development programmes including Aspex Artists' Associates, Castlefield Gallery Associates, CAMP, Mark Devereux Arts, New Bridge Project, Social Art Network Norfolk, S1 Sheffield and SteamHouse. A collaboration with artist Anna Best in 2018 created Prospecting: exploring directions and territories for artists’ practice as a dynamic model for artist-centred development for Somerset Art Works.
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 extremely good at helping them to unpick, explore and resolve difficulties in life and career planning and in the execution of exhibitions, commissions and residencies.
She contributes to discourse within UK and international peer networks and to conferences, symposia and think-tanks including Work and Social Justice in Art, Craft and Design, UAL (2022), 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), ELIA NXT Making a living in the arts (2017), VASW (2016) and Warwick University Cultural Values Initiative (2013).
As Director of a-n The Artists Information Company (until 2014), she instigated research to inform the Paying artists advocacy campaign, on the impact of arts policy changes on artists’ employment and examination of BA art and design professional practice strategies. 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 to better support to artists’ to pursue livelihoods through art practices over a life cycle.
Informed by this research, the Covid19 portfolio of texts published on this site since March 2020 evidenced and advocated for the need for more nuanced, individualised support to artists during and beyond an emergency period.