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.
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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.