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From myths to motility: doing better by artists

This is a moment fraught with possi­bility.” Isabelle Tracy, Parallel State: State of the Nation podcast 27 March 2020

This text in the Covid19 portfolio is on the future of artists’ liveli­hoods. It starts by evidencing the impact of external trends on visual artists’ liveli­hoods. It then identifies some of the policy misas­sump­tions and struc­tural barriers that limit artists’ livelihood prospects before demon­strating that visual artists as a special case’ within the arts workforce are deserving of individ­u­alised attention within arts policies. It concludes by outlining the core qualities for pursuit of liveli­hoods through art practices that enable many artists to contribute to society over a life-cycle as a point of reference for policy-making during the Covid19 emergency and into the uncertain decade ahead. 

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The chance to dream: why fund individual artists?

Although not a major aspect of artists’ liveli­hoods, grants and awards to artists are a vital contributor to sustaining art practices over a life-cycle. This paper starts by outlining the benefits of direct funding to individual artists, describes differing arts policy perspec­tives on this in England over the last thirty years and provides a case study of Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts Scheme 2003 – 14 before making an argument for new, nuanced, localised approaches to nurturing and supporting the wider constituency of visual artists and diversity of art practices in future.

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Rethinking artists: the role of artists in the 21st Century

This essay for the 2014 Seoul Art Space, Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture Inter­na­tional Symposium briefly covers UK arts policies for support to artists’ devel­opment, comments on their impact on artists’ social and economic status and suggests a rethinking of the artists’ intrinsic role in society as a vital part of securing and sustaining contem­porary visual arts in the future.

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Bite the hand that feeds you

This provo­cation commis­sioned by Stoke Airspace for an Artists’ Soup Kitchen addresses and confirms the impor­tance of the role and value of artists within cultural and social change. The four sections are designed to open up a discussion on what now?’ and – more impor­tantly – what next?’ for Airspace and artists and future artists located in Stoke.

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A case for the arts

In reaction to government arts funding cuts, Leeds Metro­politan University in partnership with Culture Vulture and the Audience Agency, initiated a public debate at which a panel of industry experts debated what arts funding is for and who is most deserving of it. A short provo­cation by Susan Jones argued for more recog­nition and resources for artists and individuals to counteract the slow, ponder­ousness of insti­tu­tions whether for the arts or otherwise. View the whole event including the audience question time’ at the end using the link provided.

Read “A case for the arts” in full