Ambitious and Fair: Strategies for a sustainable visual arts sector
Ambitious and Fair is a three-year Australian Research Council funded Linkage Project that aims to strengthen the visual art industry’s economic ecosystem. The project brings together existing economic data with an updated analysis of cultural value chains in the visual arts sector, alongside new socio-cultural and policy research to address these questions of why artists incomes are declining and what we can do to improve economic conditions in the sector.
In a context where artists’ incomes are low and falling, commercial galleries are financially vulnerable and public galleries face funding challenges, the project addresses barriers to the sector’s economic health and the challenge of improving artists’ incomes. The precarity, entrepreneurialism and adaptivity of the contemporary visual artist aligns with the realities of work across an increasing number of deregulated sectors of the Australian economy. Despite the efforts of visual arts advocates and industry peak bodies, the incomes of Australian artists and arts professionals are low and falling. These issues have been amplified by the uncertainty and unprecedented job and contract losses witnessed in the wake of the 2020 bushfire season and currently with COVID-19. The economic, cultural and social consequences of the disaster and global pandemic are only just starting to unfold; however, it is clear that the visual arts industry, which was already characterised by precarity and uncertainty, has been deeply affected.
Leading organisations in the visual arts sector including NAVA and AMaGA join us in this research project to contribute to recovery through sector consultation, expansion of the evidence base and innovation thinking for testing and recommending industry interventions.
The project will generate a set of practical interventions to support both the private market and the state to improve income equality and working conditions in the visual arts sector in Australia.
Partners include RMIT University, University of Melbourne, National Association of Visual Arts (NAVA) & Australian Museum and Galleries Association (AMaGA)
Chief Investigators Dr Grace McQuilten, Dr Marnie Badham (RMIT), Associate Professor Kate MacNeill, Associate Professor Jenny Lye (University of Melbourne), and Partner Investigator Esther Anatolitis (Test Pattern)
To apply or access the job description for the research assistant position, please click here.
To find out more information on the PhD Scholarship in 'Artist-led approaches to new forms of social & economic organisation in the visual arts sector', please click here.