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Support for artists’ liveli­hoods in a Covid-19 world

This submission was made in June 2020 to the DCMS Committee consid­ering the impact of Covid-19 on any sectors under the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s remit. It contex­tu­alises artists’ livelihood frame­works and sectoral artistic and economic oppor­tunity, highlighting key challenges and barriers faced by this particular sub-section of the creative indus­tries. It evidences the distinctive limita­tions of short-term emergency measures from Government and the Arts Council to alleviate immediate Covid19 circum­stances. Although arts policy margin­alised support for artists’ liveli­hoods after the 2008 recession, the examples of artists’ individ­u­alised resilience strategies illus­trate the scope and value of supportive inter­ven­tions by policy relevant to forecasting new strategies for amelio­rating the medium and longer-term effects of the pandemic on this vital, distinctive creative indus­tries sub-section. The rationale for struc­tural changes in imple­men­tation of arts policy and funding is to remove known barriers and better in future capture and amplify the assets that artists create for their own resilience and bring to social well-being over a life-cycle. 

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An excep­tional case: visual artists and self-employment

Although 77% of visual artists are regis­tered as self-employed (CCS, 2012), this bald statistic belies the nuance of how liveli­hoods are made up. This short text in the Covid19 portfolio contex­tu­alises artists’ income sources and concludes with a call for arts funders, arts organ­i­sa­tions and the Higher Education sector to advocate strongly to ensure visual artists receive the support they deserve during the Covid19 emergency and in future. 

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Negoti­ating better — seminar for artists

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.

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Artists work in 2016

This Research paper commis­sioned by a‑n The Artists Infor­mation Company is part of a series which first began in 2007 as a means of providing on-going evidence and insight on the context for, and nature of, employment for visual artists. By refer­encing data from prior years, Artists work in 2016 identifies the impli­ca­tions of changes in the condi­tions for artists’ employment and liveli­hoods and proposes some areas for consid­er­ation by those charged with formu­lating policy and measuring the economic and social impact of the arts.

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