The Arts Research Monitor dives into "The Situation of Artists"


(Liz Forsberg) #1

Clearly the situation of artists is on the minds of many. Just after I had posted the introduction to our #thrivinginculture theme I received the monthly Arts Research Monitor published by Hill Strategies in my inbox and it summarized 4 recent reports exploring the working lives and financial situations of artists and culture workers. This is great background reading to get a sense of some of the common themes emerging in our sector and across disciplines.

Check out the research summaries here:

2017 Arts Professionals Survey (Calgary Arts Development)

Diminishing Returns: Creative Culture At Risk (Writer’s Union of Canada)

The Equity Census: Staging The Future (Canadian Actors Equity Association)

Making Art Work: An Economic Study of Professional Artists in Australia

Common threads:

  • median artist incomes fall far below median incomes of the general population
  • artists are supplementing their incomes with other work (and thus may not be captured as arts professionals in general census data)
  • incomes are lower for arts professionals who are women, racialized folks & those who identify as D/deaf &/or disabled

How does this research square with what you are experiencing where you live? We’d love to hear from you!

(Kris Erickson) #2

Thanks so much for all this Liz. I’ve been thinking about the models and strategies of local economic development and workforce development in the context of arts and culture professionalization, and I am eager/anxious to see where some of these initiatives are leading; for example, Arts2Work by the Alliance for Media Arts+Culture [ 1, 2 ], who have developed a nationwide (US) apprenticeship program in media arts, and Creative & Cultural Skills (UK) [ 1, 2 ] who set a high standard for disseminating labour market information for the creative industries.
I see both advantages and disadvantages to codifying and standardizing dimensions of artistic labour, but I am convinced at least some of this is necessary if we are committed to greater social equity and inclusion, and perceive art as a key force to drive us there.

(Liz Forsberg) #3

Kris - you’ll be excited to learn that the Ontario-focused labour market insights research that WorkInCulture has been doing (led by @LisaFiorilliWIC) is in the process of wrapping up and I think they should have a report ready to share sometime in the spring!