Lady Kitt April 6th 2022- April 6th 2023
Advocating for permanent roles for social artists within organisations (particularly within the arts, but also in other sectors / fields)
So far, the project includes:
Research (as described and linked to below)
Development of a Job Description for Permanent Social Artist / Incidental Person in Residence (link to Job Description HERE)
Making a jumper and creating image below
Creating the text below, initially shared on social media on April 6th 2022
The aims of the project are:
to gently dismantle hierarchical systems and structures (systems and structures that exclude many people from enjoying the arts and being employed in arts work. Systems and structures which produce work and opportunities that are not supportive of (or relevant to) most people, most of the time in most places)
to work alongside organisations to actually make Permanent Social Artist / Incidental Person in Residence roles available for artists
to successfully apply for one of these roles and start it on, or before, April 6th 2023
#ArtWorkIsMyWork and over the last 9 months i’ve been invited to be part of 20+ “consultations” about what artists currently want and need. some have been thoughtful, useful and open. many have not offered any real opportunity to articulate what I actually require to continue practicing as an artist in a healthy, creative and sustainable way.
i was wondering “what’s a creative and useful way to sum up what i really need ?”
So, i’ve written a job description and made myself a jumper to wear at the(currently) imaginary job i describe:
a permanent, part time, role as a social artist working within an organisation.
an “incidental person” (as experimented with by the Artist Placement Group).
the description is for what i personally need. but it is also based on what I think our sector needs to offer to more artists. this comes from informal conversations with friends, slightly more formal conversations with artists all over the UK (particularly as part of facilitating Social Practice Surgeries with Dan Russell and being part of Social Art Network) research as part of recent projects enSHRINE and Framing Social Art in Collections and looking at relevant research by other people / organisations (like these: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/publication/livelihoods-visual-artists-report https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1360780419895291 )
this job description is currently a work of speculative fiction, but it doesn’t have to be.
if you work for an organisation and want to have a “consultation” about how to actually make this happen, let’s have a chat ( which you’ll pay me for based on these https://static.a-n.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Guidance-on-fees-and-day-rates-for-visual-artists-2021.pdf ) my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
you can read my job description here: https://www.lladykitt.com/permanently-incidental
it’s not a coincidence that i’m sharing this on April 6th, start of the new financial year. i’m giving myself a year to make this happen. i think, if i can’t make this happen in a year, i’ll need a different type of job in a different sector. i need more financial stability than being full time self employed in the arts offers me. i need this for my mental health, i need it so that i can apply for a mortgage ( which monthly will cost half the rent on similar properties).
i need this so i can actually just get on with my job, of thinking and making creatively and supporting other people to do the same. to continue doing this i need to be without the constant terror of work “running out” and the endless unpaid emotional and practical labour of applying for projects and commissions- basically a cycle of applying for a “opportunities” 3-4 times a month, to be successful three or four times a year. spending hours a week working out how these “opportunities” can be practically and conceptually cobbled together to create:
a coherent art practice
healthy working practices
think of all the creative, useful, sustainable stuff i could be doing with that time i currently spend unsuccessfully applying for stuff… that’s basically what this job could be.
think of all the resources organisations spend on administrating a system that forces artists into this deeply un creative , unhealthy cycle of fruitless applications… gently dismantling and wildly re imaging that system is why (and I think, handily, how) organisations can support roles like the one i describe.
Image description: colour photo, interior. Kitt, a white shaven headed person with a wide, crinkly smile, wears a stripy rainbow jumper. Across their chest the text “Incidental Person” is written in bright purple and orange felt text.