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 16/01/17.
Subtitled the interrelationship between arts policies and artists’ livelihoods, this new primary research will gather new evidence from artists about the contexts and conditions they need and reflect on arts policies intended to support the livelihoods of artists, with the aim of generating a new rationale for the conducive environments which can better sustain artists in future. Updated 29/12/2017
This audio presentation by Susan Jones at Work and Art, CRATE, UCA Canterbury, March 2015, considers the climate for visual artists’ practice and their artists’ ability to make a living. By referencing evidence and data from arts and cultural sources over the last thirty years and considering insight from future forecasting, it identifies prevailing issues surrounding support to artists 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 that need to be addressed by public funders and the sector alike.
In this paper I am using comparative data as a backdrop to my commentary that is designed to illuminate a discussion on whether there are ‘Too many artists?’, raising a range of issues, questions and (mis)perceptions - in part about the role of artists in life in general and the impact of state intervention and arts policy-making in particular.
Even in countries with well-developed fee and pay systems, artists’ low wages remain a problem few are willing to address.