Research studies indicate that the working and living conditions of artists remain below acceptable standards, with some artists reporting incomes below the national minimum wage.
As set out in the Arts Council’s current strategy Making Great Art Work, the improvement of living and working conditions — and, in particular, ensuring the fair and equitable remuneration and contracting of artists — is a key strategic objective for the organisation.
As the national development agency for the arts and as a major funder of the arts, we are committed to using our position to influence change. We do not see our role as one of setting rates of pay. Rather, our actions are focused on research, developing capacity, compliance with best practice, and advocacy. In delivering these actions, we embrace the complexity of the issue while also acknowledging the constraints and challenges faced by many organisations and individuals operating in the arts.
We acknowledge that pay is not the only issue contributing to the precariousness of artists’ lives, however, if artists are not appropriately remunerated for their work, a career within the arts is not viable.
The distinct nature of individual artforms and their associated sectoral or industry practices means there are significant variations in how pay and contractual issues manifest themselves across different artforms and arts sectors. This policy will establish key principles that can be adopted across all arts areas and create a framework for future arts-area-specific policies, interventions or campaigns.
This policy complements and builds on existing work regarding dignity and respect in the workplace and the Arts Council’s Equality, Human Rights and Diversity (EHRD) Policy.
Within this Fair and Equitable Remuneration and Contracting Policy, the Arts Council articulates its position and expectations with regard to remuneration and contracting within the arts sector.