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Living wage for artists 2

Page history last edited by Alison Croggon 12 years, 7 months ago

Dear Alison,

 

In echoing the comments and suggestions made by Carolyn Connors I would like

to urge all participants in the 2020 arts summit to consider the option of

creating a living wage for Australian artists. I believe such a system,

similar to the French Intermittent, would provide an immediate and

far-reaching boost to the arts in Australia. Such a system would be of more

lasting and profound benefit than extra spot funding for this or that

project.

 

In the last few years, I have done a number of gigs in France, and have met

many French musicians and artists whose livelihood is dependent on the

intermittent. That is, they work full time as artists, doing gigs, producing

theatre, rehearsing etc., without having to hold down other jobs. Where

these gigs are well paid, their wage comes from that. In the critical,

unseen development time between projects or performances, their wage comes

from the intermittent. The result is that the work these artists produce is

incredible; it bears the hallmarks of the strength, skill and profundity

that comes from being able to devote time to a practice.

 

For myself, I juggle three casual jobs with periodic, well-paid, sometimes

high-profile artistic jobs. Without the casual jobs, I could not survive.

With the casual jobs, I often find myself working 18 hour days, 7 days a

week, just to fulfill a particular artistic brief to a level where I am

satisfied. Of course casual employers are rarely flexible enough to allow

you to take 6 weeks off in order to work in on a project in another city, or

to tour overseas for a month. So, having made the choice that my arts

practice supersedes a regular income I go from casual job to casual job. The

result is a superannuation that basically goes backwards because the system

presumes you work a single job and an annual wage that is increasingly

inadequate in the face of dramatically rising rents.

 

As an artist who is facing forty, with many ideas to fulfill and lots of

exciting projects in the offing, the guarantee of a basic living wage would

make all the difference to my life and, well, to use the parlance, my

artistic product. I would be grateful if you and the other participants in

the summit, would seriously consider the option of creating a living wage

for Australian artists.

 

regards,

Natasha Anderson

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