Jeanie Scott, new Director of AN, talks about her new role and her approach to additional consultation with the visual arts sector over the campaign.
You are new to the role of Director of AN, joining the organisation as the Paying Artists Campaign is gaining momentum. How do you plan to work with the sector to address the issues in the campaign?
Yes, I’ve joined a-n at an extremely interesting time! Picking up the reins as Director in October has meant inheriting a campaign already in full flow, so I’ve spent some time getting up to speed and thinking about how best I can take it forward. The goal of the campaign is simple and I believe correct – artists should be remunerated for exhibiting in publicly funded galleries. Making this a reality of course is more complex.
The public-facing campaign is building and will continue to do so. We will be publishing support materials for our members to help them advocate around key campaign messages in the run up to the May election – securing artists pay is fundamental to us being able to properly discuss cultural value as a society and now, with imminent funding cuts on the horizon, we all need to be able to be able to make a compelling and convincing case about the value of art and artists.
Alongside the public campaign we are of course continuing our consultation with galleries, artists and other representative bodies on an exhibition fees framework and how that can best be implemented. ACE is supportive of our approach, and we very much appreciate CVAN’s assistance in helping us secure conversations with exhibiting venues across England. This has to be an open, productive conversation to explore the issues and find the best solution for both artists and publicly funded venues in the UK.
These are incredibly difficult financial times for both artists and galleries that exhibit artists, yet all agree that the payment of artists is important. What opportunities will exhibiting venues have to discuss proposals and negotiate a position that meets both the artist’s needs and their own financial restrictions?
There will be a number of ways venues, practitioners and curators can contribute to the consultation, which will be ongoing until March 2015. We will post a timetable and ways people can engage both with the Paying Artists campaign and the consultation on the Paying Artists website in December. We’ve had a few public consultation events already, but we’ll be discussing with CVAN how we schedule remaining conversations across your network and will post details of these as we have them. (CVAN East is hosting the next one at firstsite in Colchester on 11 December.)
If people can’t get to an event but still want to input to the consultation they will be able to do so on the Paying Artists website (www.payingartists.org.uk) from December. I would urge people to get involved and contribute in whatever way they can.
What timescale do you plan to adopt to for your consultation?
We’ll be publishing consultation event dates on the Paying Artists website and if you’ve signed up to the campaign at www.payingartists.org.uk you’ll receive regular campaign progress reports and information about new events or discussion opportunities from December.
The consultation period with the sector will run until March 2015 when we’ll publish findings and a draft set of exhibition fees, based on evidence from the best practice case studies (available on our website now) and information gathered through the consultation process.
From March to December 2015 we aim to test this draft framework with some galleries across the UK and we aim to publish a final, agreed framework with guidelines and support materials in December 2015.
Jeanie Scott is Executive Director of a-n The Artists Information Company (www.a-n.co.uk, firstname.lastname@example.org, @LaZucc).
For more information and updates on the campaign go to www.payingartists.org.uk.