Knowledge is power!

You're welcome to browse our stuff for insight, commentary and info for and about visual artists and practice.

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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? Updated 11/11/2016.

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Residencies: practices and paradoxes

The terms of reference for today’s artists’ residencies are wide and various. Examples of the polarities artists are now presented with range from a considered opportunity over several months for artists to take stock and reflect with little or no expectation of ‘public’ output, to those residencies in which artists are expected find a solution to a community, education or arts ‘problem’ in a short time, often for a very small fee.

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Artists’ economic status: evidence 1986-2016

This selected bibliography in order of publication date has arisen from initial research into the contexts and conditions for artists’ livelihoods. Although it is not exhaustive, it is designed to aid future researchers in the field. Rather than discursive material it focuses on key studies and quantitative surveys which provide evidence of income or earnings. Much of the material pre-dates the internet and thus is only available in our personal archives as well-thumbed or annotated photocopies and limited publication reports. 

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Enforcement, equanimity and an afterword – thoughts on sustaining fair pay for artists

Introduction to fees to artists for exhibiting in public with examples indicating that sustaining such schemes is dependent on widespread and continued acceptance of the principle and rigorous self-regulation within the sector, and on gaining suitable levels of public subsidy to the visual arts. Three financing options are considered in support of equanimity. An afterword considers whether in a political climate of reduced subsidy to the public sector, some new strategies are needed to finance the arts and artists’ contributions. Updated 16/08/16

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Independent Creative Living - some reading

Think about it: living creatively, for life, was a conference held in Gateshead, 28 June 2016 comprising inspiring presentations and a practical workshop. It was aimed specifically at interested people from the arts, health and wellbeing and housing to explore and debate the issues and strategies and to inform a chain of actions which will lead to development and realisation of the concept of Independent Creative Living as an innovative housing and arts development initiative in North East England. A compilation of some of the resources that those organising this event and furthering the initiative have found informative or inspirational is published here for wider information. Updates added 09/08/2016

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Let’s talk about pricing

Being asked a while back to provide some advice to artists on pay and pricing matters for a new website was the generator of this short text. It begins with summarising some of the issues and ends with a few suggestions for what artists might do to improve their chances of making a living while steadily moving their art practice forward.

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The artists and arts policy conundrum

Subtitled the relationship of arts policies to artists’ livelihood practices, this new research is reflecting on key UK arts policies intended to support the livelihoods of artists and will gather new evidence of artists’ perceptions of the contexts and conditions they feel they need, in order to generate a rationale for conducive environments which can better foster the talents of artists in future. Updated 29/11/2016

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Artists and pay - 20 great info sources

This listing that includes commentary, evidence and advice provides a selected reading list for artists and those who work with them to explore the issues and concerns about artists and pay as part of negotiating the terms of exchange and collaboration.

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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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​Creativity at the heart: the holistic approach

This paper combines arguments first presented by Susan Jones at an engage annual conference in which she questioned the efficacy of our institutionally-driven visual arts ecology with new research and enquiry into future cultural, digital and social environments for the arts. It calls for adoption of a more open, imaginative, lateral, collaborative and responsive approaches to creating cultural value, premised on building relationships and rapport with the different kinds and bandwidths of audiences and with the enablers and the makers of art.

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