The instigation and organisation of this project was created through the collaborative work of artists Chris Biddlecombe (Glasgow) and Guðrún Gísladóttir (Copenhagen). Both have a background in the support and development of artist working conditions and rights. The projects on this site promote their shared aims to: gather data to improve understanding of how European artists work; act as a catalyst to instigate genuine reform; encourage change to happen through collective artist bargaining; support cross-border networks and exchange of information between artists and creative managers.
This first collaborative project was established to explore the current situation of how visual artists are contracted and remunerated for their work through out the broader Nordic region. Research was carried out to: collect data about the artist’s situation in different countries; compare working conditions; understand common issues; and discuss methodologies to combat problems.
2016 hóf SÍM, Samband íslenskra myndlistarmanna, herferðina Við borgum myndlistarmönnum. Kjarninn í herferðinni var að fá framlagssamning um greiðslur til listamanna fyrir sýningar sem íslenskar menningarstofnanir setja upp.
Back in 2016 artists in Iceland launched a campaign to promote fair payment for their creative work. The We Pay Visual Artists Campaign was set up through the Association of Icelandic Artists (Samband íslenskra myndlistarmanna, SÍM). At the core of the campaign is the Contribution Contract outlining the participation and support of artists in exhibitions drawn up through a working group of Icelandic cultural institutions.
An Icelandic representative was invited to be part of EARight’s original working group discussions on artist payments and a key reference point for the group has been the Swedish MU contract. The MU contract, as discussed at our original workshops, has been the basis of comparable contracts in Norway and Denmark, and has been referred to in the initial research of the Paying Artists campaign in the UK.
EARights continue to follow the good work of Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) in The United States. W.A.G.E. Certification was launched in 2014 as a national programme that publicly recognises those nonprofit arts organisations demonstrating a history of, and commitment to, voluntarily paying artist fees that meet W.A.G.E. minimum payment standards – see certification info.
In the Budget Bill for 2018, the Swedish Government is increasing the budget for culture by SEK 745/EUR 77 million per year. This includes SEK 275/EUR 26 million to be invested in libraries and SEK 115/EUR 11 million per year in freedom of the arts. In addition, further investments will be made on democracy policy and anti-discrimination policy. The Budget Bill for 2018 is based on an agreement between the two government parties (Social Democrats and the Green Party) and the Left Party.
As a collaborative partnership project, EARights are currently looking for artist led initiatives in Europe that are investigating artist economies at a grass roots level.
A good example of this investigative work is the ‘In Kind’ research project by visual artists Janie Nicoll and Ailie Rutherford. In April/May 2018 the two artists explored the hidden economies of Glasgow International and the “below the water-line” economy of the arts – debating artist precarity and issues of unpaid labour. Glasgow International is Scotland’s largest festival for contemporary art, taking place over three weeks every two years across the city of Glasgow.
The Norwegian government is currently investigating a reform that aims at paying artists for their work with exhibitions and has the potential to become the biggest investment in the artist economy in the country since the 1970s.
The state pilot project is now under review and it will be decided whether exhibition fees will be a permanent scheme on the state budget from 2019. A reference group consisting of representatives from artist organisations and 24 museums and gallery venues has followed the pilot project and contributed to the evaluation.
In 2015, a collective discussion took place in Belgium, organised by Flanders Arts Institute, IETM and deBuren. Participants were policy makers and researchers. At the panel discussion, Pascal Gielen, Professor in Sociology of Art and Cultural Politics at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, presented the main insights of the research report “The Value of Culture” prepared in collaboration with sociologists, economists, philosophers and psychologists.
During the last two decades many reports on the economic importance of the Creative Industries have been published throughout Europe. This classifying and measuring of the Creative Industries has continually produced many debates and discussions, and some have had productive outcomes.
Fra Dansk Kunstnerråds Nyhedsbrev: I marts stillede Socialistisk Folkeparti et beslutningsforslag i Folketinget om en udredning af kunstnernes økonomiske vilkår.
Mange skabende og udøvende kunstnere er udfordret økonomisk, men den seneste redegørelse for kunstnernes økonomiske vilkår er fra 1997 – og kan derfor med rette betegnes som forældet. Dansk Kunstnerråd er derfor meget positiv overfor, at der netop er blevet stillet et beslutningsforslag til Folketinget om en udredning af kunstneres sociale og økonomiske forhold. Læs beslutningsforslaget.