Artists as Workers: a report

10 November 2021

At a glance:

  • This report offers a comprehensive outline of working conditions within the UK’s visual arts sector.


  • We foreground an understanding of the ‘artist as worker’, emphasising the labour in artistic labour, and highlighting the sector’s interaction with wider trends, such as the gig economy and marketisation in education.


  • Drawing on extensive interviews with a diverse range of workers within the UK’s art industry, it highlights the levels of precarity and inequality endemic within the sector.


  • The Covid pandemic often reinforced many of these trends. We hear powerful testimony about the impact of the crisis from a range of artists, activists and sector representatives.


  • Based on our findings, we identify a range of recommendations to protect artist-as-workers going forward, particularly in the context of a Covid recovery. These include:
    • Universal Basic Income
    • Studio space subsidies
    • Revitalised artistic education
    • Public works programmes



Charlotte Warne Thomas