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Supporting artists with proper pay

In the UK, many artists face challenges related to low fees for their work, often receiving inadequate compensation for their time, talent, and expertise.

In 2020, Industria and a-n The Artists Information Company published a report titled "Structurally F–cked," which sheds light on the prevalent underpayment of artists within the UK's public art sector. Based on data gathered from the Artist Leaks survey conducted by Industria, the report reveals a culture of low fees and unpaid labour, with a median hourly rate for artists at £2.60. The survey, initiated after a large UK based arts organisation rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for artist fee breakdowns, received submissions from artists contracted by publicly funded galleries across England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. The report includes proposals for reforming the relationship between publicly funded institutions and artists. Additionally, it features commissioned texts by Lola Olufemi, Juliet Jacques, and Jack Ky Tan, offering insights into their experiences in the creative sector.

Read the full report here:

This issue is particularly prevalent in sectors where freelance and contract work are common, leading to financial instability and barriers to sustainable careers for artists. Factors contributing to low fees include budget constraints of arts organisations, competition in the market, and a lack of standardised payment structures. As a result, artists may struggle to earn a liveable income, forcing them to take on additional jobs or compromise on the quality of their work.

In 2022-23, MKAC spent £90,430 on programme, of which 71% was on artists’ fees. We pay a minimum of £30 per hour to artists delivering workshops (including planning time) and for experienced project artists £250–£300 per day.

Our socially engaged ethos means our work is increasingly focused on supporting social cohesion, wellbeing, and skills development, collaborating with artists and cross-sector organisations to address local and global issues through creativity. Dedicated to inclusivity, the Arts Centre has provided multiple entry points for diverse communities to engage with the arts, offering life-enhancing skills through collaboration with professional artists; as a result, we have become one of the largest employers of artists in Milton Keynes.


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