Symposium: WORK AND ART: HOW ARTISTS MAKE A LIVING
Symposium: WORK AND ART: HOW ARTISTS MAKE A LIVING
Tatiana Baskakova, Emma Braso, Collaborative Research Group, Sam Curtis, Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, Susan Jones, Hurley and Thornton, Sarah Jones, Shama Khanna, Robert Laycock, Jasmine Pradissitto, Holly Rogers, Angus Sanders-Dunnachie, Tania Skakun and Carlos Noronha Feio.
With a reading room & exhibition* consisting of publications, films and artwork by:
Rose Parish (Legendary Jobs publications & research material); Alice Kemp (publication/essay); Jason Haynes (publication); Sophie Mallett (publications & work survey results); Catterall/Martin - installation
Film works by:
Antonia Meile; Fani Bitou
Thursday 26 March 2015, 10:30 - 5:30pm
At UCA Canterbury, New Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 3AN
Listen to audio clips from the symposium here:
This symposium will investigate and examine the multiple ways in which artists, curators and writers sustain themselves economically.
Very few artists work solely as artists and this symposium will focus on the variety of ways in which artists supplement their incomes, looking at the relationship between economic activity and creative output. The symposium provides a space for considering the backsatge aspects of being an artist/arts practitioner, considering the various ways in which artists earn money or labour (as non-artists) to support their artistic careers, and what it means for artists to occupy these multiple roles in society. We aim to sample a breadth of current artistic economic activity, and have invited practitioners to present innovative approaches to survival as an arts practitioner.
The event is the culmination of Collaborative Research Group, a post-academic programme focusing on the practicalities and pluralities of contemporary visual arts practice.
Collaborative Research Group is funded by European Inter-regional Culture-led Regeneration and Kent County Council, with support from CRATE Studio and Project Space in Margate and University for the Creative Arts.
£10, concessions £5 (full time students, jobseekers allowance)
To book a place please click here to redirect to the eventbrite booking page
Schedule & Summary:
10.30-10.50 - Introduction
10.50-11.20 - Susan Jones,
Ways and means: artists’ livelihood strategies 1984-2014
The UK’s economic recession from 2008 when combined with escalating costs of living have impacted more on those, including artists, who are predominantly self-employed or who are subject to short-term contractual arrangements. Susan's presentation will consider this current climate for artists’ and their ability to make a living. Drawing references from evidence and insight from a range of arts and cultural sources over the last thirty years and from future forecasting, it will propose some approaches and strategies that may expand artists’ ability to maintain their practice in the next decade.
Susan Jones is a published arts researcher and writer. Polemic and published essays include Artists’ low incomes and status an international issue, The Guardian, 2015; Rethinking artists: the role of artists in the 21st Century, ‘Working Artists Aspect of Arts and Labour’, 6th Seoul Art Space International Symposium 2014; A feast for sore eyes, provocation for the Art Party, 2013; What are artists really worth? National Photography Symposium 2013 and published The Guardian; Where is the place for art? Engage conference 2011 and published The Guardian; Are there too many artists? Market Project 2011 and Instrumentality or artistic autonomy – the pursuit of cultural value, Cultural Value Initiative Warwick University 2012. She was Director of a-n 1999-2014.
www.a-n.co.uk/susanjonesarts - blog serialising 'Measuring the Experience' research
www.a-n.co.uk/collections/susanjonesarts-a-n-texts-and-writing for selected writing published by a-n.
11.20-11.50 - Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt
There is an Alternative
The neoliberal project – which implies a withdrawal of the state in favour of market forces – has had a detrimental effect upon the cultural field; art has become synonymous with commerce and its role within society has been systematically eroded. One of the most notorious exponents of neoliberalism, Margaret Thatcher, famously claimed that 'There is No Alternative’, but history shows us that this is not the case. Immediately after the 1959 Cuban Revolution, culture was placed at the heart of society, artists were valued as social producers and access to creative practice was democratised. Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt will draw upon her extensive research in and around Cuba to present a counter example to the prevailing ideology.
Having worked as a curator in the UK, US and Europe, Dr. Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt receded from direct participation to concentrate on research into the socio-economic infrastructure of the cultural field. Increasingly deploying an investigative methodology, she has scrutinised the privatisation of cultural provision and exposed the corruption inherent in certain forms of organisation. Ongoing research into cultural policy under neoliberalism led her to seek alternatives in the immediate aftermath of the 1959 Cuban Revolution. Rebecca’s book – entitled To Defend the Revolution is to Defend Culture: The Cultural Policy of the Cuban Revolution – will be published by PM Press in spring 2015.
A selection of her other writing is available at
11.50-12:10 - Tania Skakun
How artists make a living in France
Tania Skakun will introduce the French case for how artists make a living. She will present information on the historical and contemporary context, with a specific focus on Paris, then present a closer look at what’s going on through a panorama of patterns, looking at the different ways artists function and the different roles they take on, considering economical, social, personal and geographical aspects.
Tania/Tetyana Skakun is co-director of Synesthésie, contemporary and digital art centre (Paris/Saint-Denis, France), organiser and producer of art projects, lecturer and also collaborator of the artist Stéphane Trois Carrés. She has an extensive experience of working with artists and on art projects, as well as in French culture and art institutions (such as Pompidou Centre, Giacometti Foundation, Quai Branly Museum, Nuit Blanche, Grand Palais, Ministry of Culture), and a broad knowledge of the underground art scene. She will co-curate digital art part of Jeune Création 2015. She has an MA in Culture and Art Management from Sciences Po Paris and an MA in Law from Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University.
12.10-12.25 - Carolyn Wright, a-n PAYING ARTISTS CAMPAIGN
PAYING ARTISTS campaign, artists newsletter.
Over time, more and more artists are questioning the time and resources they spend on their art – and are giving up on art altogether. If there are fewer artists, we will lose the diversity and innovation that is so fundamental to visual arts. We will lose the massive tourism benefits and the £1.9 billion that visual arts brings to the UK economy. Above all, we will lose the benefit of what art does best – help us see the world from other perspectives and give a voice to different communities.
The Paying Artists campaign aims to secure payment for artists who exhibit in publicly-funded galleries. We believe paying artists for the work they do will mean that, in years to come, we’ll still be able to access quality art which reflects the broadest possible spectrum of human experience.
Caroline Wright is an artist based at Wysing Arts Centre near Cambridge and living in rural Suffolk.
Recent works include Out of Water, a performance produced by Artsadmin for the London 2012 Olympiad Festival, PsI19, San Francisco and Edinburgh Festival, On Tides and Fathoms, a film exploring spaces as historical archives and My Home is my Museum, a performance and collection of objects for Curating Cambridge. In September 2013, Wright curated the inaugural PILOT Festival in coastal Brightlingsea, Essex and is currently working with Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, The Scott Polar Museum and UCL Museums on Sawdust and Threads, a project that explores the deaccessioned museum object through drawing and deconstruction. Wright is course leader for Fine Art at post- and undergraduate level for Open College of the Arts, is a member of the artist collective Live Art Collective East (LACE) and a founder and council member of AIR.
12.30-13.30 - 60 MIN - lunch (ATRIUM SPACE)
12:35-13:30 - Hurley Thornton
A Lexicon of Labour Movements
Through a series of workplace meetings and demonstrations, A Lexicon of Labour Movements investigated the physical movements associated with selected tools and trades across the city of Bristol, as well as the meaning of labour for different workers. The project culminated in an exhibition, book work and performance, the latter of which is being re-presented for the symposium with the book work available for sale. A Lexicon of Labour Movements is a collaborative project created by Paul Hurley and Clare Thornton; in its presentation at the symposium the operatives will be Paul Hurley and H Ren.
Paul Hurley and Clare Thornton have been occasional collaborators since 2012, although have worked around and alongside each other since 2006. Both have interdisciplinary practices engaged with performance, installation, bookworks, collaboration and participation. Clare and Paul have both presented work internationally, and undertaken residencies in the UK and further afield. Alongside their respective art practices, both undertake teaching and research across different subjects in HE, and Paul also currently works in a café.
Photo: Aine Belton 2015
Carlos Noronha Feio
The Artistry of Job Hunting, A day-long action around the UCA campus. More information to be announced on the day.
Carlos Noronha Feio has a diverse practice that includes actions, performance, video, drawing, painting, photography, rug works and installation. He consumes, manipulates, juxtaposes and performs or re-sites media as research into systems of power, cultural, local and global identity. Noronha Feio frequently adopts culturally significant images, locations and symbols as a form of creative interference with meaning, and demonstrates the almost arbitrary nature in which cultural significance is adopted or interpreted.
Noronha Feio’s recent shows include Matter of Trust at Nottingham Contemporary, The Flag: Instruction manual #2 at Sazmanab Platform for Contemporary Art in Tehran, This This Monster This Things at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, You Are Now Entering_______ at CCA Londonderry~Derry in Northern Ireland, Image Wars at Abrons Art Center in New York, Da outra margem do Atlantico at Centro Cultural Helio Oiticica in Rio de Janeiro, NCCA-National Centre for Contemporary Art in Moscow and Fundacao EDP in Lisbon.
His work can be found in several private and public collections as Coleção de Arte da Fundacao EDP in Lisbon; MAR-Museo de Arte do Rio de Janeiro and the Saatchi Gallery in London. You can find his work published at The Art of Not Making: The New Artist/Artisan Relationship as well as Nature Morte: Contemporary Artists Reinvigurate the Still Life Tradition both by Thames & Hudson.
13.30-13:50 - Sam Curtis
Stealth Art Practice: the day job as studio
Sam Curtis will discuss the concept of stealth art practice and how turning his day job into a studio and space for artistic production enabled him to continue practicing.
Sam Curtis is a London-based artist, curator and fishmonger. Coming from the ground-up, his projects and works evolve from lived experience of socio-economic dilemmas. Recent work has revolved around answering the question: What does creative work look like? Through a diverse practice he seeks out ways to retain autonomy whilst negotiating a place within life’s systems and structures. Sam's personal investment creates the conditions whereby solidarity and a sense of agency can form.
Sam is the director of the Centre for Innovative and Radical Fishmongery, an organisation concerned with innovating fishmongery by drawing on artistic strategies and concepts. He is a founder and member of Seymour Art Collective, a group of artists who are or have been homeless. He is also a curator at the Bethlem Gallery situated in the Bethlem Royal Hospital, working with artists with lived experience of mental illness. His work is represented by Division of Labour.
13:50-14:10 - Angus Sanders-Dunnachie
How I learnt to stop worrying and love the spirit level
Angus Sanders-Dunnachie is an artist and has worked as an Art Handler/Technician for a decade in various contexts. The talk will relay various observation he has made about the world of teching over the years.
Angus Sanders-Dunnachie is an artist living and working in London. Immediately after graduating from his BA in 2004, Angus began doing gallery technician work to support his practice and post graduate studies at the RA Schools. For approximately five years this was largely freelance and he worked for small galleries, museums, artists, independent curators and art fairs. Since then Angus has worked full time for a major UK museum in their art handling department, whilst keeping his practice going. Apart from day to day supervision of art handling his role entails recruitment and managing the pool of technicians, giving tours of the art warehouse, presenting training sessions to international delegates and travelling with artworks all over the world.
14:05-14:25 - Holly Rogers
What does £10 look like?
This is a list of the things Holly does for her Nan in return for ten quid and the agreement that she will sit for a portrait:
6 cups of tea (3 white, tip of a spoon of sugar, cup and saucer, 3 strong, no sugar, mug)
2 pancake lunches
1 lot of washing up
1 pat of butter put in the butter dish
1 crossword clue solved
1 phone call to Apple Customer Services
1 episode of Judge Rinder
1 round of biscuits offered
1 door opened (too hot)
1 heater turned on (too cold)
1 2 litre container of urine sample delivered to the doctor
1 portrait photograph taken, just as foot is out of the door, leaving (shyly given)
1 follow up phonecall when you get home (did the urine sample leak in the car? No)
Holly Rogers is an artist and student living and working in the South East, investigating the relationship between domestic life in Kent and how this can be aligned with ‘contemporary art’. I’m a graduate of UCA (BA Fine Art, 2014) and currently studying for an MA at the Canterbury campus. My most recent works explore the particular emotional territory of my Nan’s flat and the surrounding area of Gravesend through installation, photography and film.
14:20-14:40 - Sarah Jones
At Risk of Falling
At Risk of Falling: a 15-min lecture in which a stripper discloses the risks of falling from 12 inch heels and inviting artists to your barbecue. An artist will then respond with the dangers of positioning oneself within economies of precarity and desire when flirting with the performance of art at the 1:1 scale
Sarah Jones, (b. Australia,1982) is an artist, writer and curator. Through first person narrative, both written and performed, Sarah is interested in the desire for the dissolution of the perceived self in the spaces between the landscape and the body. Sarah was awarded her Masters of Fine Art by the Dutch Art Institute in the Netherlands, June 2014, after completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Tasmania in 2007. She will continue her research as a PhD candidate with the University of New South Wales School of Art and Design this year. Her most recent exhibitions include: ANARCHEOLOGIES: Hypotheses of a Lost Fragment, Ygrec, École nationale supérieure d'arts de Paris Cergy, Paris 2015; Felt & Fa(c)t, Ormston House Gallery, Limerick (IRE), 2014; The rise and fall of the continuous cycle, DeServiceGarage, Amsterdam (NL), 2013; Come to Life at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston (AUS), 2012; You’ll Always Be My # 1 at INFLIGHT ARI, Hobart (AUS), 2012.
14:40-15:00 - Q&A
15:00-15:20 - Break
15:20-15:40 - Shama Khanna
Logistics of a Sustainable Practice
Shama will present an overview of the decision-making process after graduation and strategies to prioritise and sustain artistic practice. She will present recent examples of self-organised initiatives - their methods and the alternative value systems they represent, which may not be what the market, or university seeks to promote.
Shama Khanna is a curator and writer based in London. Her current focus concerns Flatness, an ongoing research project engaging with the screen-based image in relation to internet culture. Originating as the thematic program at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival 2013, entitled ‘Flatness: Cinema after the Internet’, Flatness currently operates across multiple platforms including flatness.eu which features contributions by artists, writers and technologists engaging with the possibilities and limitations of the web as a creative site and a space for viewing. Over the last year she has presented screening and discussion events relating to Flatness at venues including Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Chisenhale Gallery (London), Western Front (Vancouver) and Moderna Museet (Malmö). Previously, Khanna has worked with Showroom Gallery, E:vent and LUX / ICA Biennial of Moving Images in London, amongst other collaborations. She teaches at Goldsmiths College, University of London and the University of the Arts, London and is a contributor to Art Review, Art Monthly and frieze magazines.
15:40-16:00 - Jasmine Pradissitto
Ruby Slippers, USP’s and why the Future belongs to Creative Thinkers
In the Wizard of Oz, it was only at the end of her journey that Dorothy realised she had had the ability to go home all along…. simply by tapping her ruby slippers. Artists are the same but we forget how powerful we are because even ‘creative’ people aren’t creative at everything. Although we apply innovative thinking to our creations, seldom do we look at ourselves in the same way. I was forced to find a new perspective as I fell between the two worlds of physicist and artist. We are coming into the 4th Revolution where automation and abundance mean new skills are required: empathy, pattern recognition, cross connective thinking and really ‘seeing’ things. These are things which artists do naturally and which will become highly valued.
Each of us has a ‘USP’ and it’s through collaboration, consciousness and creativity that we can almost create our own jobs. I will be talking about my journey to find my own niche and how I have been helping others to do the same.
Jasmine Pradissitto has a PhD from UCL on the doping of semiconductors for use in fibre optics and has also studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths and Sir John Cass. She now combines experimental methods and innovative techniques with traditional art forms, as a practising Quantum Artist painting in light, with pieces in collections worldwide. Using the skills she has developed over the years, she has worked with many Institutions, such as The Science Museum as well as companies such as Dulux, Glaxo and BIS. She has taught teachers, undergrads and school children to think creatively about science during her 18 years as Director of Proeducation Ltd which also supported her art practise. Currently she is working with Derby Silk Museum on STEAM prototypes and the visitor experience; The RSC on Chemistry with Art, LSBU on creativity in Engineering and is preparing for a show curated by Richard Hore called ‘The Empathy Circuit’ in May.
16:00-16:20 - Robert Laycock
Artist Business (Social Aesthetic Economic) Modelling
Artist, consultant and trustee Robert Laycock presents the latest iteration of his 21-year project to realise a sustainable integrated Whole Practice.
Robert Laycock started out in financial services (chartered accountancy), went to art college in 1989 and grew his hair.
He has since founded, managed and administered an artist-led group; made work for commission and galleries; devised and led participatory arts projects and practice development workshops for artists in academic and other settings; led a participatory arts organisation (http://www.helixarts.com/); Sat as a chair for an arts studio for good mental health and a media arts college (http://www.mardenhigh.net/); created a new consultancy practice (http://www.peoplepurposeplanning.co.uk/) and co-created a new network for leaders of social change (http://www.ncl.ac.uk/kite/socialrenewal/netogether.htm).
He currently develops independent and collective arts practices; supports the development of artists and arts, cultural and third sector organisations and supports small organisations through non-executive roles.
16:20-16:40 - Tatiana Baskakova (Co-operative working)
Case for co-operation
Ceramics Studio Co-op was set-up at New Cross, London in 2014, and it now gives regular income to 2 artist-founders and one regular contractor. It is a space that provides services to ceramics makers and hobbyists who do not have access to equipment. It runs an educational programme and provides desks to new ceramics makers who need space to work on their production. What does it mean to co-operate and co-run a company with strong ethics as artists? What does it mean to have more control of our lives and resist precarity institutionally? What are the values co-operatives can give cultural workers, and what difference in values may mean to our working conditions, art practices and how we make a living? What are the problems that become apparent, and why do we still think that utopia is not in the past? This short presentation will present the case for co-operation among artists and a co-operative model of economical organising, and will reflect on my new position of artist and social entrepreneur.
Tatiana Baskakova is a visual artist and activist based in London. She studied on Art Practice and Art and Politics programmes in Goldsmiths College. Her practice explores relation of politics and aesthetics, institutional critique and labour relations in contemporary art institutions, and more recently craft and activism. She is one of the founders of Ceramics Studio Co-op.
16:40-17:00 - How-to, Q&A
17:00-17:15 - Emma Braso
For Despite Efficiency: Labour the guest design studio Aberrant Architecture collaborated with UCA Interior Architecture and Design students to transform the Herbert Read Gallery into a stage for (in)efficient work. Over a 3-week period, the transformed gallery hosted a number of live performances, videos and other time-based projects presented by a group of international artists interested in situations and models of unprofitable, futile or ineffective work.
Emma Brasó is an art historian and curator. She holds a BA in History and Theory of Art (Universidad Autónoma, Madrid, 2005) and a MA in Modern Art: Curatorial Studies (Columbia University, New York, 2007).
From 2008 to 2010, she acted as Visual Arts Advisor at the Spanish Ministry of Culture. She has also carried out an independent career as critic in diverse media (ExitExpress, Flash Art International), and as curator of concept-oriented exhibitions. In 2012, she was appointed curatorial fellow at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow and organized a six-month cycle of exhibitions on art and empathy at the Youth Art Space of Madrid.
Currently, she is developing a PhD-level research at Royal College of Arts, London with the support of the Fundación José María Sicilia. From October 2013, she is the Cultural Programme Curator at University for the Creative Arts (UCA), in charge of the programming of the Herbert Read Gallery (Canterbury) and Zandra Rhodes Gallery (Rochester)
Collaborative Research Group
Collaborative Research Group are Aine Belton, Dom Elsner, Toby Huddlestone, Louisa Love, Alex Parry, Trish Scott and Charley Vines.
top Image:Tatiana Baskakova, Co-Operate or Die, 2014 (photo: Tristan Lathey)