in News | 27 NOV 18

Nearly 90% of Internships in the Arts Are Unpaid, New Study Finds

In further news: artists take National Gallery to court; Tel Aviv protests over ‘loyalty in culture’ bill

in News | 27 NOV 18

Andy Freeberg, Metro Pictures, 2006, from the series ‘Sentry’. Courtesy: the artist and Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles

New research commissioned by the Sutton Trust – a charity which seeks to improve social mobility in the UK – has shown that 86% of arts internships are unpaid. The Sutton Trust’s report surveyed more than 2,600 graduates between the ages of 21 and 29, with more than a quarter surveyed having undertaken an unpaid internship. The report found that unpaid internships in London cost at least GBP£1,100 a month, with 26% of such interns relying on money from parents, 27% working a second job and 43% living rent-free with family or friends, according to the BBC. The research concluded that the failure to pay interns excludes those from low and middle-income backgrounds, further precluding young people from diverse backgrounds entering the arts sector. Founder of the Sutton Trust, Sir Peter Lampl, described it as a ‘huge social mobility issue that prevents young people from getting a foot on the ladder.’ The Sutton Trust is now backing a parliamentary bill to ban unpaid internships that last more than four weeks. The study also suggested that there was ‘some evidence’ of interns becoming trapped in a cycle of unpaid labour, with more than 70% of those surveyed on their fourth or fifth internship and still going unpaid. While unpaid internships remain rife in the cultural sector, other industries fared better – the report found that just 26% of interns in the IT sector were not paid, for instance. The Chief Inspector of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, recently warned of the ‘relatively poor prospects’ of arts courses offered by further education colleges. Don’t miss Miya Tokumitsu writing for frieze on what it will take to democratize the art world’s workplaces.

A drawing by the eminent Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti that was found on sale for GBP£75 in an Edinburgh bookshop will go on display for the first time at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The chalk drawing from 1868, Ricorditi Di Me, Che Son La Pia, a preparatory study for the artist’s celebrated La Pia De’Tolomei (1881) oil painting, was discovered in a tiny second-hand bookshop in 1956 by Sir Ivor Batchelor, professor of psychiatry at Dundee University, and Lady Honor Batchelor, a collector of fine and decorative arts. ‘It was a red-letter day in 1956 when off the floor in Aitken’s shop, with a windfall of royalties from a book, we bought for GBP£75 Rossetti’s very fine and very large drawing for La Pia’, Sir Ivor said in 2005.

London’s National Gallery has been taken to court by a group of 27 artists and lecturers who claim they were dismissed ‘without consultation or benefits’ because they were classified as self-employed. The case shifts the debate on whether staff members should be considered employees or freelancers to the public sector. The hearing will also scrutinize a new question of law not considered in previous cases – whether workers are entitled to group consultation before the termination of a contract. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Labour MP Stella Creasy have given their public support for the case. Corbyn said: ‘I'm here to support the campaign because I'm very concerned about the number of people in this country who are frankly “bogusly” self-employed.’ A spokesperson for the National Gallery said that the case ‘should not be likened to the gig economy debate’ and that ‘the Gallery has not dismissed anyone as part of this process’, according to The Independent.

The EU’s culture budget is set to double – with politicians adding an extra EUR€1 billion – in its next round of funding in 2021. At a meeting in Strasbourg, France, European officials agreed to an EUR€400m increase proposed by the European Commission as well as recommending this further significant expansion, according to Arts Professional. This means Creative Europe funding will double from EUR€1.4 billion to €EUR2.8 billion for the years 2021–27. The budget proposal will be debated by ministers from EU member states next month. Due to ongoing Brexit negotiations, it remains unclear whether the UK will have access to this funding.

Artists in Israel have burnt artworks in Tel Aviv square to protest the so-called ‘loyalty in culture’ bill. Haaretz reports that organizers of the demonstration invited artists to burn their works ‘to sacrifice them as victims of the loyalty law’. The proposed bill, the vote on which has been postponed, would allow government funding to be slashed from projects which did not show sufficient loyalty to the state, with its definition of what this would entail remaining unclear.

And finally, a new school on the edge of a northern Brazilian rainforest has won the RIBA International Prize 2018. Designed by architects Aleph Zero and Rosenbaum, the building provides schooling and accommodation for 540 children aged 13 to18, many of whom travel from remote areas to attend the school. ‘Children Village provides an exceptional environment designed to improve the lives and wellbeing of the school’s children,’ RIBA President Ben Derbyshire said. ‘It illustrates the immeasurable value of good educational design.’