“This is a moment fraught with possibility.” Isabelle Tracy, Parallel State: State of the Nation podcast 27 March 2020
This fourth text in the Covid19 portfolio is on the future of artists’ livelihoods. It starts by evidencing the impact of external trends on visual artists’ livelihoods. It then identifies some of the policy misassumptions and structural barriers that limit artists’ livelihood prospects before demonstrating that visual artists as a ‘special case’ within the arts workforce are deserving of individualised attention within arts policies. It concludes by outlining the core qualities for pursuit of livelihoods through art practices that enable many artists to contribute to society over a life-cycle as a point of reference for policy-making during the Covid19 emergency and into the uncertain decade ahead.
Two podcasts within the Parallel State series discussing the immediate and sustained implications of the Covid19 lockdown and isolation on artists and the arts. They brought together virtually on 27 March 2020 Rose Butler, Jon Dovey, Tim Etchells, Adrian Friedli, Susan Jones, Simon Poulter, Isabelle Tracy and Hwa Young Jung.
“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.
After an introduction to the specific economic circumstances of visual artists and, mindful of the wide and extensive impacts of the Corona virus pandemic on their work prospects and livelihoods, this text in the Covid19 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.
Presentation for CAMP (Contemporary Art Membership Plymouth) 13 February 2020
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.
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
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.