University of the Arts London: Provoking debate on interns face in the visual arts
Artquest, a project hosted by University of the Arts London and launched in 2001, has collated research on internships and its implications on diversity in the arts.
Intern Culture brings together the research and guidance from 23 reports on internships in the visual arts since 2008. These sometimes conflicting and contradictory guides have served to inform – and confuse – organisations looking to hire interns, as well as interns themselves, leaving low-paid workers vulnerable to exploitation and unaware of their rights, and organisations in danger of breaking national minimum wage legislation.
It aims to provide interns with information on their rights, and organisations seeking interns an understanding of the legal context within which they operate. It also seeks to open a debate on the moral implications of endorsing and encouraging free labour in the visual arts, often supplied by those who can least afford it. It is our view that much-vaunted and well-funded programmes to encourage diversity in the arts can’t succeed without a sea-change in how the arts operate, are valued, and might be accessed by everyone, regardless of their social or cultural background.
Intern Culture is researched and written by Dr. Sophie Hope, Lecturer, Department of Media and Cultural Studies at Birkbeck, University of London and Joanna Figiel, PhD candidate at Centre for Cultural and Policy Management, City University London.
For more information please visit the Artquest website.