Artists' work in 2011

a-n The Artists Information Company has published a research paper which forms part of a series that looks specifically at the nature and value of openly-advertised work and opportunities for visual and applied artists.

Drawing on data published on, this series set out in 2007 to track on an ongoing basis the key categories of awards/fellowships, academic posts, art vacancies, commissions, exhibitions, residencies and competitions/prizes, and by doing so, to identify any trends arising, and provide commentary and contextual evidence and analysis from other related sources, to contribute to arts and cultural consultations and policy.

Key facts from this study:

  • In 2011, the overall value of work on offer to artists was only marginally better than the 2008 recession year in which the total value of openly-offered work to artists dropped by 60% against 2007 figures.
  • Only 36% jobs and opportunities in 2011 offered to pay anything to artists, in comparison with 57% doing this in the recession year of 2008.
  • In 2011, commissions provided 18% of the value of all work, with an average budget of £20,961: comparator 2007 (pre-recession) figures were 62% and over £100K.
  • Jobs in Higher and Further Education including lecturing, research and technical salaried posts amounted to 27% of all paid work on offer in 2011 (34% in 2010).
  • Residencies that make up 2% of the value of all work offered in 2011 paid an average fee of less than £2,000, in contrast with £5,600 paid in 2010 and £6,342 in 2007.
  • 10% of the value of all work in 2011 came through local authorities, mirroring 2010 figures.
  • In 2011, nearly half of all work openly offered to visual and applied artists came from the public sector arts and higher or further education, all facing further cuts and squeezes in 2012.


For more on this from Susan Jones, Director of [a-n] writing on the Guardian online