In 2009, the Swedish government adopted a new agreement for remuneration to artists for the display of work. The MU agreement – a ‘participation and exhibition remuneration agreement’ – which covers payment to artists for display of work, as a kind of ‘rent’. This is additional to other kinds of financial compensation for an exhibition, such as transport, installation, publication, etc. The agreement makes it clear that all work the artist undertakes at exhibitions – before, during and after the show – is to be governed by a written contract and remunerated outside the framework of the exhibition fee.
The MU Agreement comprises a framework agreement (MU Framework Agreement) and a standard agreement (MU Standard Agreement). M (medverkande) – refers to remuneration for contribution/participation, i.e. remuneration for the artist’s time. U (utställningsersättning) – refers to exhibition fees and constitutes payment for exhibiting artwork and the experience it generates.
The MU Framework Agreement is an agreement established between several national visual art organisations and the Swedish State. The MU Framework Agreement forms the basis for individual agreements to be made between organisers and artists and specifies which terms and conditions to include.
The MU Standard Agreement is an agreement template which, in accordance with the MU Framework Agreement, is to be used when an organiser and an artist conclude an agreement concerning the artist’s participation in an exhibition.
The agreement was signed by the Swedish Arts Council, as the representative of the Swedish state, and the Swedish Artists’ Association (KRO), the Association of Swedish Craftsmen and Industrial Designers (KIF), the Association of Swedish Illustrators and the Swedish Photographers’ Association (SFF). It is binding on all public institutions with an exhibiting role, and provides guidance for all professional exhibition organisers in receipt of public funding.
Finer details to assist management were amended in the agreement in 2014. Both agreements are here below.
The MU agreement is now being considered in all regional cultural plans in Sweden with on going network discussions between artists, museum directors and curators.
Article originally published in January 2015.