Showing all posts tagged: arts

Artists may struggle with changes to income support payments

22 June 2022

There are fears upcoming changes to the eligibility criteria for receiving unemployment benefits, or income support payments, will impact negatively on those seeking work in the arts sector. To continue to qualify for support payments, jobseekers will need to earn one hundred points each week, as opposed to applying for a certain number of jobs.

Points can be gained from a number of activities, including taking courses, doing volunteer work, or attending a job interview. However, many of the sanctioned activities fall outside the usual income generating endeavours of arts professionals, says the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA).

Professional arts practitioners are likely to actively seek opportunities in a number of different forms and from a wide variety of sources. This includes undertaking residencies, applying for grants and funding, meeting with curators, sitting on boards, attending industry events, and making artwork for sale, exhibition, and to enter into prizes. Thousands of independent artists and arts workers currently rely on JobSeeker benefits. Without changes to what is recognised by Centrelink as ‘seeking employment’, many will find it near impossible to lodge the work they’ve been seeking as artists to comply with the requirements under the new points system.

The new arts minster, Tony Burke, who is also employment and workplace relations minister, has expressed a desire to do more to help artists and arts workers, so it can only be hoped he is able to adjust some of these requirements.

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Degree course pricing unfair to humanities and arts students

31 May 2022

The Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (DASSH) is calling for reform to higher education fee structures, which appear to be skewed against students wishing to study humanities, arts, and social sciences degrees. DASSH says recently released statistics show the cost of arts degree is up to three thousand dollar more per annum (PDF), compared to medicine or dentistry courses.

81 per cent of the nearly 14,000 Year 12 students interviewed for the report said passion would guide their choices for further study. The Universities Admission Centre Student Lifestyle Report shows only 35 per cent of students consider the cost of education when choosing their degree, and only about 40 per cent consider employment outcomes. These statistics fly in the face of the face of claims fee increases would guide student preferences under the former Government’s ‘Job Ready Graduates Package’.

Given many students are making study choices based on their passion, or what they’re really interested in, rather than the cost, or potential employment outcome, of tertiary education courses, DASSH wants to see more equitable degree course pricing.

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Mental health, well-being, prime concerns for music workers

30 May 2022

A recent survey of people working professionally in the Australian music and live performing arts industries makes for grim reading. Conducted in March by Support Act, a charity assisting artists and workers in the Australian music industry, the findings reveals many are fearful for their livelihoods and mental health:

  • 66% of participants had high/very high levels of psychological distress, more than four times the general population
  • 59% experienced suicidal thoughts, which is over four and a half times the proportion of the general Australian population
  • 29% reported having a current anxiety condition and 27% reported currently having depression, both more than twice that of the general population
  • Over one third of participants reported incomes from their work in music/live performing arts as less than $30,000 per annum, which is below the poverty line
  • Just 15% said they felt safe at work all of the time, with 35% saying they were exposed to unsafe working conditions in the last year
  • Over 47% lost their jobs due to the pandemic

The full summary of survey findings (PDF) can be read here.

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New Australian arts minister promises more focus on sector

30 May 2022

The recent change of Federal government in Australia has raised hopes the arts sector will receive more economic support, with incoming arts and industrial relations minister Tony Burke keen to address insecure work and unreliable pay issues.

Burke has also long advocated for addressing issues of insecure work and unreliable pay, claiming Labor would launch a senate inquiry into insecure work if elected. The arts and cultural sector has the dubious title of being an industry leader in insecure work. And it is at the intersection of cultural and industrial relations policy where our new arts minister could dramatically reshape the sector.

I think Burke has a task and a half before him, but a closer focus on the arts is long overdue.

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Arts and culture polices in the 2022 Australian election

20 May 2022

Australians go to the polls tomorrow, Saturday 21 May 2022, to choose who will govern the country for the next three years. While issues such as climate change, the pandemic, and regional security have dominated the election campaign, matters arts and culture have been largely absent from the spot light.

In terms of policy in this area, the incumbent Liberal National Coalition government appears to offer little, while the present opposition party, Labor, has policy that Ben Eltham, a lecturer at the School of Media, Film, and Journalism at Monash University, describes as “surprisingly modest.” Eltham, together with four other policy experts, have compared the proposals of both major political parties, and graded each of them.

Meanwhile, Ben Francis has set out the difference between the Greens, Labor, and the Liberal National Coalition, arts and culture policies in slide format.

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Artists incomes takes a hit from the COVID pandemic

16 October 2021

A lot of people have been doing it tough as a consequence of the COVID pandemic, and its impact on jobs. But artists incomes, which often hover mere dollars above the poverty line at the best of times, have had a particularly difficult time, says Anna Freeland, writing for the ABC.

According to new research conducted by the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA), one in two visual artists experienced an income decline of between 20–100 per cent last financial year. A sobering four in five artists and one in two arts workers earned less than $25,000 over the year, which is more than $100 a week below the poverty line for a single person with no dependents. “That figure of $25,000 may be a misnomer in itself if people are being paid a fee for commissions and those commissions are being delayed, which has happened to artists for over a year,” says NAVA Co-Director Mimi Crowe.

And from Freeland on Twitter: arts audiences are getting jabbed at a faster rate than the general population. Arts audiences includes artists’ patrons. Hopefully this bodes well for artists planning to exhibit in the near future, when lockdowns wind back.

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