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Artists’ liveli­hoods in freefall

Gov­ern­ment and Arts Coun­cil Eng­land were praised in the Covid19 emer­gency for fast imple­men­ta­tion of ad hoc strate­gies for finan­cial sup­port for arts and cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions and job reten­tion schemes for salaried staff. Despite the equal­i­ty and diver­si­ty rhetorics of the fund­ed arts, analy­sis of respons­es to the DCMS Inquiry into the Impact of Covid-19 reveal that indi­vid­ual free­lance visu­al artists will suf­fer worst unless addi­tion­al reme­di­al actions are taken.

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Treat­ing the rash or invest­ing in a cure: the future of artists’ livelihoods

We can­not be con­tent to go back to what was before, as if all is nor­mal… there needs to be a res­ur­rec­tion of our com­mon life.” Justin Wel­by, Arch­bish­op of Canterbury.

The East­er ser­mon – opined from the Arch­bish­op’s kitchen and dis­sem­i­nat­ed via social media to some 18,000 peo­ple – pro­vid­ed the cue for a dis­cus­sion on how to ensure artists’ sur­vival in an arts and cul­tur­al envi­ron­ment poleaxed by Covid-19

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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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Ways and means: liveli­hood strate­gies 1984 to 2014

This audio of a pre­sen­ta­tion by Susan Jones at Work and Art, CRATE, UCA Can­ter­bury, March 2015, con­sid­ers the cli­mate for visu­al artists’ prac­tice and their abil­i­ty to make a liv­ing. Ref­er­enc­ing evi­dence and data from arts and cul­tur­al sources over the last thir­ty years and con­sid­er­ing insight from future fore­cast­ing, it iden­ti­fies the pre­vail­ing issues sur­round­ing sup­port to artists and their liveli­hoods with­in the pub­lic sec­tor. It con­cludes by artic­u­lat­ing some of the inher­ent issues and chal­lenges with­in the cur­rent and future ecol­o­gy for artists and the con­tem­po­rary visu­al arts to be addressed by pub­lic fun­ders and the sec­tor alike. 

Read “Ways and means: livelihood strategies 1984 to 2014” in full