Prospecting 2018 Photo By Leonie Hampton 2

Negotiating better - seminar for artists

Although negotiated relationships forms one of the three core conditions enabling artists' pursuit of livelihoods over a life-cycle, the over-competitive and disparate nature of contemporary visual arts acts as disincentive to achieving them. This seminar on offer to artists aims to provide rationale and tactical tips for achieving a 'win-win' situation.

Achieving negotiated relationships forms one of the three core conditions for artists' pursuit of livelihoods over a life-cycle. However, in a busy, highly-competitive visual arts climate, where good practices and industry knowledge aren’t always shared or understood, it can seem hard for individual artists to negotiate suitable conditions including contractual arrangements and payment for projects and exhibitions that's commensurate with their particular needs and experience and so the artistic expectations of artist and commissioner are realised to a high quality.

The diverse forms of the visual arts range from community activism to festival fringes and permanent commissions to exhibitions and experimental socially-engaged and participatory practices. The higher international profile of the visual arts brings international competition for UK work and opportunities. Commissioners and employers – whose experience and understanding of artists’ practices and livelihoods varies considerably –come from the commercial, public and social enterprise sectors.

Alongside artists striving to make a living from art practice, many people artists encounter when seeking opportunities are working freelance in galleries, museums, festivals and biennials and community projects. Some are artists who combine their own practice with freelance project management, education or arts consultancy and who have to navigate the conflicts. In this complex, competitive climate, if artists aren’t able to negotiate terms and conditions to suit their particular needs and circumstances they can find themselves losing out economically and artistically.

In response to this environment for artists' practices, we've developed a seminar especially for artists. Led by an experienced arts adviser and mentor, Negotiating better has been described as“entertaining, inspiring and informative”. It aims to improve artists’ understanding and application of negotiation processes. It covers contexts for artists’ work, sifting opportunities on offer and tackling thorny issues including no and low budgets, unrealistic commission briefs and expectations and over optimistic time-scales, whilst pursuing an overall development plan.

It includes tactical tips to enable artists to retain integrity and by assessing their specific needs, ensure they get terms for opportunities reflective of their professional status and experience level, and can say ‘no’ and retreat from poor offers. Whether negotiating work, contracts, projects, opportunities or other aspects of professional life, this seminar inspires confidence amongst artists and demonstrates how to achieve a ‘win-win’ situation – the best solution.

To discuss or book this seminar, in the first instance send a tweet to @SusanJonesArts