Artists’ economic status: evidence 1986-2017

Key studies and quantitative surveys which provide evidence of artists' income or earnings

This selected bibliography in order of publication date has arisen from initial research into the contexts and conditions for artists’ livelihoods in the UK. 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. Updated December 2017.

Brighton, A, Parry J, Pearson N.M. (1986) Enquiry into the Economic Situation of the Visual Artist. London: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Jones, S. (1990) The Visual Arts Survey 1990: Report for the Investment into the Future of Fine Art in Public Places Project. London: London Institute.

Knott, C.A. (1994) Crafts in the 1990s: an independent socio-economic study of craftspeople in England, Scotland and Wales, London: Crafts Council

A Socio-Economic Study of Artists in Scotland, Department of Sociology and Social and Economic Research, University of Glasgow. Edinburgh: Scottish Arts Council, 1995

Shaw, P, Allen, K. (1996) Artists’ Rights Programme: A review of artists’ earnings for exhibitions and commissions: Executive Summary. London: National Artists Association

Summerton, J. (1999) Artists at Work: 1999: study of the patterns and conditions of work in the Southern Arts Region, Winchester: Southern Arts Board

Galloway, S, Lindley, R, Davies, R, Scheibl, F. (2002) Balancing Act: artists’ labour markets and the tax and benefits system. London: Arts Council

Patrizio, A, Catto, A, Law, W. (2003) Making their mark: An audit of artists in Scotland – Summary, Edinburgh: Scottish Arts Council

Jones, S. (2009) Art work in 2008. Newcastle: a-n The Artists Information Company

Antrobus, C. (2009) The funding and finance needs of artists. London: Artquest, University of the Arts

Etches, S. (2011) The Big Artists Survey. Newcastle: a-n The Artists Information Company

Kretschmer, M, Singh, S, Bently, L, Cooper, E. (2011) Copyright contracts and earnings of visual creators: A survey of 5,800 British designers, fine artists, illustrators and photographers. Bournemouth: Bournemouth University

BOP Consulting (2012) Craft in an Age of Change. London: Crafts Council with Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales, Craft Northern Ireland

Simpson, L. (2013) SAU Membership Survey 2013. Glasgow: Scottish Artists Union.

Abbing, H. (2013) Poverty and support for artists, in A Handbook of Cultural Economics Towse R., ed. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar pp344-349

DHA, (2014) Paying artists research: Phase 1 findings. Newcastle: a-n The Artists Information Company.

Jones, S. (2014) Artists’ work in 2013. Newcastle, a-n The Artists Information Company. Accessible at  

DHA. (2014). Artworks survey of Artists. London: Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Accessible at

SAU (2015) SAU Membership survey 2015. Glasgow: Scottish Artists Union.

Kelly, N. (2016). The Social, Economic, and Fiscal Status of the Visual Artist in Ireland 2016, Dublin: Visual Artists Ireland 

Creative Freelancers (2017) London: Creative Industries Federation

SAU (2017) SAU membership survey 2017. Glasgow: Scottish Artists Union

Jones, S (2017). Artists work in 2016. Newcastle, a-n The Artists Information Company. Accessible at 

See also

Jones. S. (2014) Artists' low income an international issue