Brendan Dawes
The Art of Form and Code

On Valuing Artists

This morning a friend of mine sent me a link to something she thought would be of interest to me — a Computational Arts Residency at Goldsmiths. To be honest I'm too old for something like this as I think these type of initiatives should always be about young upcoming artists.

Anyway, I followed the link, read about what was being asked for and then stared at my screen for quite a while, convinced that what I had just read was a typo or my eye sight was failing me. But no. Apparently in return for being their artist in residence for three months, Goldsmiths would pay you the sum of £500. Yeah that's right — £500.

I re-read it again and again, thinking that OK, maybe you only show up for a few days in those months, but no, it clearly states that what they want from you is to show-up, seemingly a lot, so you can be a full and active part of the programme. Now I'm not sure how anybody can exist — in London — for three months on £500. This makes me come to the conclusion that the only people that can apply are the people that can afford to apply — namely people who don't ever need to worry about money.

To give you some context, if you guest lecture at a University in the UK you can expect to be paid between £250 to £350. That's for about an hour's lecture. Goldsmiths are offering double that for three months work.

Just what is happening here? Do Goldsmiths really not value the work of artists or am I missing something? Have I read this wrong?

For me, this just perpetuates the idea that artists just do this stuff for the love and will exist on the poverty line just to make their art. How are upcoming artists meant to exist when they being paid so little — I doubt this fee would even cover the three months of travel costs? They say all art is useless, yet for some it seems that it's also valueless too.