a-n’s Executive Director Jeanie Scott introduces How We Got Here, a report marking the culmination of a two-year consultation process.


Ensuring our artists are paid equitably for exhibiting is one fundamental step we can all take to make sure we preserve the freedom and diversity of our visual arts for future generations.

It’s been two years since we launched the Paying Artists Campaign. In that time we have extensively consulted with over 1,900 individuals on your behalf. The process has exposed how complicated and nuanced exhibition payment is, but also shown overwhelming support from all corners of the sector and a willingness to see the guidance off the page and into practice.

I’m proud of what we’ve achieved in the last two years – we’ve delivered a rigorous, truly collaborative consultation, and we’ve collated a wealth of insight and evidence which has necessitated appropriate time to do it justice. Contributors to our process have shown great patience as we’ve tackled the issues and I’m pleased to say the final guidance will be available later this year.

In the meantime, we’re entering conversations with Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council Wales and, with our partner Visual Artists Ireland, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland where exhibition payment is already in place. Together we will discuss how best to embed principles of fair pay for artists, and to consider how it can be applied and monitored effectively across national boundaries without creating additional or unnecessary burdens on organisations or artists.

As there is still so much unknown about the effects Brexit will have on cultural budgets, the need to ensure our last two year’s work isn’t side-lined as other policy issues take centre stage, is so important. We are committed to ensuring artists fees are built into the budgets, and planning ethos of our publicly funded cultural organisations and will continue to work across the sector to establish the necessary steps to make this a reality.

Now more than ever we need to ensure that all voices continue to have a platform in our public exhibition spaces. The opportunity to communicate and explore the contemporary human condition, and to be able to respond to it from all perspectives, irrespective of personal or professional background or circumstance, should be open to all, and we’re working hard to make that case at all levels.

I’d like to extend our huge appreciation for your input and support to the Campaign and consultations over the last two years. It’s been a long road, but we’re definitely making good progress along it.

You can read a summary of How We Got Here: Culmination of Paying Artist Consultation Process 2014-16 here, or the full report here.

In the meantime, if you believe in fair and transparent payment for artists and you haven’t yet signed up to the Paying Artists Campaign you can still do so here.

Jeanie Scott, Executive Director, a-n.