In 2011 VAI initiated research into The Social, Economic, and Fiscal Status of the Visual Artist in Ireland. One of the results of this research was the creation of the campaign Ask! Has the Artist Been Paid? which resulted in the Arts Council placing equitable payments for artists as part of their funding conditions. This campaign continues to grow in its impact, and is joined by commitments from local authorities and central government in terms of policies that ensure that artists are treated as professionals.
We review opportunities that are advertised through our eBulletin and print publications. Each opportunity is assessed for a commitment and evidence that artists are being treated according to best practices. In certain cases, and in keeping with the decision taking by VAI members, a note may be added to an advertisement which highlights that artists may need to make a personal decision as to whether or not that they consider an opportunity to be in their particular interests.
VAI will not publish exhibition opportunities from publicly funded, private, and commercial organisations who do not pay artist’s fees with the following exception:
- We will advertise opportunities which do not offer a fee only when they offer substantial supports in lieu of payments.
- Our definition of substantial is an opportunity that provides funding such as: Production, Shipping, Insurance, Marketing, and Expenses, and offers a percentage of sales cost in excess of 60% to the artist. We do not include nor assign any value to exposure type opportunities.
- We will advertise these opportunities from the following types of spaces: Funded Not for Profit Programmes; Established Commercial Spaces who offer significant Supports for Artists as part of their programmes; and Not for Profit Programmes where it is clear that nobody is paid.
- We will err on the side of caution, reserve the right to mark such opportunities with a caveat, and may make a value-based judgement which allows artists to make a decision based on their own specific opinions and circumstances.
Visual Artists Ireland will not advertise calls for unpaid work in the following areas:
- Unpaid Internships;
- Calls for Volunteers from Commercial or Publicly Funded Spaces;
- Requests for donations of money/art works;
- Crowd funding requests;
- Any opportunity in a funded/commercial space that asks artists to provide their work/services for free.
We will advertise Internships only when they are paid or, at a minimum, that equitable expenses are covered and the internship complies with our best practice policy.
We will only advertise Job Vacancies that meet the minimum rates of pay for adults or over this amount.
We will advertise Open Calls who do not pay artists who offer prizes only when there is a clear description of the prizes and the judging process.
We will advertise Publications which seek to publish or feature artists work with no fee only when all publication costs are covered and artists receive other forms of support.
We will advertise Academic Calls for Papers only when the paper(s) will be published in recognised academic journal or proceedings.
We reserve the right to request further details on advertisements if we are not satisfied that the job or opportunity does not treat artists in an equitable manner, and require such advertisers to supply details of their Equitable Treatment of Artists policies as part of their advertisement.
We do not undertake personal missions nor engage in campaigns outside of the visual arts. This is in keeping with our obligations as a representative organisation with charity status under the Charities Act 2009. We are open to providing input from a visual artist’s career point of view, and engage with researchers and policy makers working in this specific area.
We will continue to provide organisations, festivals, projects and events with free advice on how they can comply with policies concerning the equitable treatment of artists.