Madeleine OReilly - 11 October 2017

Artist Economy

How do we survive Financially in Hull post Hull 2017


• After the year of a lot financial input into the city, how do we as artists continue to work with less financial resources?

• Is it about sharing resources or talking about money?

• Do we need to re-examine our models and expectations and create different systems to make sure we’re more sustainable going forwards and beyond?

• Could we redefine how we operate and be the leaders of a better model across Yorkshire and beyond?

• How do we take the power back of what, when and how we’re paid?

Issues raised and discussed

Value of our work and Transparency Artists value their work differently. There are concerns about how artists having to justify the value of their work. Some artists end up working for free whereas others are being paid and to what extent is a mystery. There are few conversations about money both amongst artists and from the top down, who is being paid what and who are taking the risks? Highlighted at the No Boundaries conference by Paula Varjack.

What are the expectations amongst artists and institutions if there is no clarity? There seems to be a great divide between those who have and those who don’t. Is there a way we could talk about it so everyone could benefit? There are some conversations happening by artists like Bryony Kimmings about Living Wage but how do we put these things into practice?

Individuals versus Organisations – There are different payments scales between individuals, and institutions. There are concerns about how artists are paid to make the work or are just supported. The difference between actual money and in kind space. Furthermore, there are questions about safeguarding the future financially? Organisations paying into pensions whilst individuals are in the riskier position of how to afford a pension etc. There are different scales of organisations and the cost of organisations versus the work produced for audiences.

Unions - there are bigger unions with different pay scales from equity to the living wage. How do rates reflect the ecology, particularly in Hull and support artists of different scales and how sustainable is this model going forwards? The cost to live in Hull versus the costs to live in Leeds or London? Do rates help us make work or act as a barrier especially on the Fringe.

Changing economies and sustainability – there were broad observations about how things have changed economically and whether the industry and expectations have changed. The change of the dole system, the rise of staffing within institutions, changing audiences and touring are going to affect the future for artists, companies and audiences. Artists can no longer survive on the dole to create work or have ideas unlike companies such as Frantic Assembly and yet how can artists develop whilst the other pressures of part time work? Is this creating barriers for non-middle class artists to be able to create work? How is this impacting sectors who need more publicity, access and support? Is this something we should accept or something that needs to be addressed? Buildings and NPOs have more demands and therefore more staff to pay for which has a knock-on effect on how much work can be made.

General observations of regional theatres and the amount of work being made 10 years ago compared to nowadays. We have also seen a decrease in touring of mid-scale companies which has been the impact of theatres unable to guarantee audiences, the cost of touring and the financial risks.

Discussion around how organisations with big marketing departments are still unable to sell shows. Big question, does less performances mean less audience? Are we encouraging emerging artists to tour when there is no way for them to grow due to lack of financial resource? Hierarchy – The accepted hierarchy of theatres, where one or two are paid considerably more than the rest of staff. The lack of conversation and scrutiny about who is earning what and where within NPOs or sharing of good financial practice. Should everyone be able to see people’s earnings? How do we value experience and greater responsibility or should we look to models like Slung Low where everyone is on the same payment rate? Challenge Entitlement Culture What are we entitled to earn? Is there an accepted figure? Could we set a figure particularly in Hull? How do we communicate this across the board? Are we seeing a change in expectations of younger artists which is unsustainable?

The difficulty of the increase in courses and a lack of jobs. Again, how companies and artists at different stages of their career charge rates. Is there any time we should work for free? Should artists with more experience and confirmed income explore how they can give back in-kind? Is this also a model to be adopted by institutions, in terms of admin, marketing, accounting support? Living Wage – Do enough people in Hull know about the living wage. Should artists be looking to adopt it? Again we come to questions about how artists value their work.

Legacy - What will be the legacy of Hull 2017 for artists. We have seen a lot of investment will that diminish? How do we as artists find other opportunities and diversify our income streams. ACTIONS Transparency Is there a way we could encourage more transparency and openness in terms of money and pay? Could we get all the artists and organisations in the city to be transparent in terms of money? Networking thinking creatively and collaboratively. Suggestion to keep thinking collaboratively in terms of lobbying for changes or financial support. Creative ideas often will reveal new ways of funding, it’s key to keep the conversations going in terms of how to diversify income. Researching other models of practice, Explore European models, examples cited French system and festivals in the Czech Republic. Can we find examples of good practice we could adopt? Is it worth exploring a Hull Artist Patreon. French Intermittent du Spectacles that pays artists between work

Resources - Can we explore how we can utilise resources locally, Share equipment, space, props etc so we can pay people? Sustain should there be a sustain emergency fund for artists, that everyone pays into? Opportunity how do we share funding opportunites? Could we fund a core producer to work on everyone’s funding bids etc? Structure in place for legacy Could we unite as artists to draw up an artists action plan for the legacy and start having the conversations now with the culture company? Create masterclasses/intermediate sessions with those already here.