Calling artists and organisations to take part in a new sector-wide survey to collect essential data and produce a benchmark for Exhibition Payment.


a-n has launched the Exhibition Payment Survey 2018, a new sector-wide survey to collect essential data and produce a benchmark for Exhibition Payment.

Aimed at both artists and organisations (with different sets of questions for each), the survey is the next step in securing fair payment for artists and the latest focus of a-n’s Paying Artists Campaign which established sectoral support for exhibition payment with the publication of the Exhibition Payment Guide in 2016.

a-n’s Exhibition Payment Guide sets out best practice for establishing and agreeing exhibition payments for artists. For use by artists and organisations, it is endorsed by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and Arts Council of Wales and was published following a two-year consultation.

Last year, a-n set up the Paying Artists Working Group to implement and develop exhibition payment over the next four years, and outcomes of the survey will inform both the work of the group and a-n’s continued advocacy around fair payment to artists. Partners from the Paying Artists Working Group are encouraging artists, gallery directors, and curators to complete the survey to ensure both artists and organisations experiences are taken into consideration.

Artist and Paying Artists Working Group member Rachel Maclean said: “If artists are not paid or paid properly then public art institutions have to rely heavily on individuals being from wealthy backgrounds or having a significant market value.

“This is having and will have a damaging impact on accessibility and diversity in the visual arts and increasingly means that the market dictates who and what will be shown in public institutions. Public art institutions should reflect the whole of our culture, not an elite subsection of it.

“Artists pay must be addressed as a matter of urgency, before too many more great artists are broken or disheartened by an expectation that they can perpetually work for free. Please find time to complete the survey and help gather crucial information to support the need for artists pay!”

Peter Heslip, Director, Visual Arts and London for Arts Council England commented: “Paying artists is essential to the diversity and sustainability of the arts and culture sector in the long term.

“The Arts Council has a commitment to ensuring that everyone who works in the arts is paid fairly. We hope a broad range of artists and organisations will participate in the survey in order to play an active role in shaping the next edition of the Payment Framework.”

And speaking on behalf of Working Group member Plus Tate, Modern Art Oxford Director, Paul Hobson, added: “All publicly funded visual art organisations showing contemporary art have a responsibility to champion best practice in relation to artists.

“The Plus Tate network welcomes the opportunity to participate in this initiative and to advocate for artists to be properly remunerated for the cultural, social and civic capital they create.”

Outcomes of the Exhibition Payment Survey 2018 will, for the first time, establish a benchmark for actual payments made to, and received by artists, from exhibitions across the UK. The data collected (and that from a follow-up survey to be run in 2020) will mean future editions of the Exhibition Payment Framework within the Exhibition Payment Guide reflect artists’ experiences, and the capacity of organisations to make fair payments informed by regional and national data and practice.

Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts, Creative Scotland, said: “Creative Scotland welcomes these important next steps in the Paying Artists Campaign. In the longer term this work will have a positive impact on the financial context in which artists develop and make their work. We would encourage all those working in the visual arts in Scotland to participate in these surveys and support a-n in taking this work forward.”

Seonaid Daly, Director of SCAN and Paying Artists Working Group member added: “This survey and the planned follow ups are essential in helping the Working Group develop informed guidance. Gathering data from both artists and organisations will ensure that we can continue to work together as a sector to improve working conditions and champion best practice.”

And a-n Executive Director Jeanie Scott said: “We’re on the way to Exhibition Payment becoming the norm – some big steps have been taken, but there’s still a fair way to go. But with the continued support from our artists, exhibition commissioners and funders, we will see a stronger and more diverse sector emerge.  We encourage as many as possible to take part in the surveys to shape the future of artists payments.”

To encourage contributors to the surveys to be as open as possible in their responses the data collected will be aggregated and anonymised to protect both individuals and organisations.  General findings from the survey will be published later in 2018.

Click here to take part in the survey if you are an artist.

Click here to take part in the survey if you are an organisation.

The survey closes on Friday 18 May 2018.

Support Paying Artists www.payingartists.org.uk/signup/