CLAIRE POWER CONSIDERS THE INCREASING RELIANCE OF VISUAL ARTS ORGANISATIONS ON INTERERNSHIPS, AND REPORTS ON THE FINDINGS OF AND ISSUES AIRED BY A RECENTLY-FORMED DISCUSSION GROUP ON THE SUBJECT.
Writing an article on the current debate about internships is daunting, especially when you wear an institutional hat, purport to represent the views of a wider group and acknowledge that most galleries / institutions play a role in the dilemma. There are a broad range of viewpoints on internships and this article is intended to serve as a starting point, to highlight key issues and stimulate further debate. I aim to highlight new initiatives and current debates at a timely point when unpaid internships are becoming more common for a new generation of young arts workers.
In reviewing the literature that has been written on the subject, mainly by UK research and policy bodies, one statement struck a chord with me, as having some truth: “… the deployment of unpaid interns is fast becoming in many cases a structural necessity for companies and organisations. There is a suspicion that interns and volunteers may be de facto masking the collapse of the European cultural sector, hiding the exodus of the public resources from such activities and thus preventing the general public from perceiving the unsustainability of the situation.”¹ [Read more…]