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Artists’ emer­gency: arts policy’s role in the future of artists’ livelihoods

We must see the cul­tur­al ecosys­tem in which every per­son, every organ­i­sa­tion, every cul­tur­al expres­sion, has a legit­i­mate place.” Fran­cois Mataras­so, Let’s use this breath­ing space wise­ly, 25 March 2020

Strate­gic arts pol­i­cy fund­ing inter­ven­tions premised on equal­i­ty and co-oper­a­tion are key to sus­tain­ing visu­al artists’ liveli­hoods over a life-cycle. This text in the Covid19 port­fo­lio com­bines sec­ondary data analy­sis with cross-ref­er­ences to pri­or and new research to offer six ref­er­ence points for the eco­nom­ic val­ue of artists’ prac­tices with­in the arts and cre­ative indus­tries includ­ing indi­ca­tion of their income sources in broad terms. It con­cludes with an argu­ment for vital new struc­tur­al arts pol­i­cy and advo­ca­cy mea­sures to ensure that many visu­al artists – not just a few — sur­vive through the imme­di­ate peri­od of the Covid19 emer­gency and dur­ing what is like­ly to be a sus­tained peri­od of eco­nom­ic reces­sion beyond. 

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Do it all, for artists’ sake, now

After an intro­duc­tion to the spe­cif­ic eco­nom­ic cir­cum­stances of visu­al artists and, mind­ful of the wide and exten­sive impacts of the pan­dem­ic on their work prospects and liveli­hoods, this text in the Covid-19 port­fo­lio includes a four-point hope­ful pro­pos­al’ that sets out how to ensure artists sur­vive the fall out, and can bring their mul­ti­ple val­ues to ben­e­fit the arts and soci­ety in the decade ahead. 

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Explod­ing myths: the future of artists’ livelihoods

Pre­sen­ta­tion for CAMP (Con­tem­po­rary Art Mem­ber­ship Ply­mouth) 13 Feb­ru­ary 2020 that address­es some of the myths about artists’ prac­tices and liveli­hoods, the con­di­tions most con­ducive for sup­port­ing the per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al lives of many artists over a life-cycle and pro­vides some rad­i­cal propo­si­tions for achiev­ing them.

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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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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’ liveli­hoods: the artists in arts pol­i­cy conundrum

Doc­tor­al research 2015 – 19 that gath­ered qual­i­ta­tive evi­dence from artists in North West Eng­land to define con­ducive con­di­tions for pur­su­ing art prac­tices and liveli­hoods over time. Includes cri­tique of arts poli­cies in Eng­land 1985 – 2015 intend­ed to be sup­port­ive of artists and new insights into bar­ri­ers to sus­tain­ing artists’ liveli­hoods in future.

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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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Nobody wants you but every­one needs you”

A provo­ca­tion around the role and val­ue of and expec­ta­tions for artists with­in cul­tur­al and social change. Rather than expect­ing oth­ers to artic­u­late artists’ val­ue on their behalf, I am propos­ing that artists take respon­si­bil­i­ty them­selves for this and for advo­cat­ing for and trans­lat­ing their val­ue to others.

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Are the cre­ative indus­tries good for artists?

Ever since the ear­ly days of New Labour in 1997, it’s been gov­ern­ment and arts pol­i­cy to inte­grate and progress devel­op­ment of the visu­al arts through the cre­ative indus­try umbrel­la and to embrace its eco­nom­ic imper­a­tives. As this sit­u­a­tion is like­ly to con­tin­ue for the fore­see­able future, through my new research I’m address­ing some key ques­tions. Do these indus­tries pro­vide a con­ducive envi­ron­ment in which visu­al artists can make a liv­ing and devel­op their careers? Are the con­di­tions and employ­ment prac­tices more favourable to ways of work­ing by some artists while oth­ers lose out?

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