Dreams of a new future:
What if venues programmed less work and invested more time, money, audience development and care in the work they did programme?
What if everyone involved got to say what they really wanted out of this relationship at the start, and this was built into the contract and partnership?
What if everywhere used Emily Williams & Alice Tatton Brown’s Contracts of Care model?
What if artists had all the producing and touring money, and venues had to pitch to present the work they wanted to show?
What if venues had to take responsibility for all the touring costs?
What if visiting artists understood the actual overheads of running the venue they’re working with?
What if there was a MASSIVE RED BUZZER that went off whenever anyone tried to go for ‘cheapest’ rather than ‘best possible’ in any negotiations?
What if there was no such thing as “artist development” and only ever “production development”?
What if venues cared as much about marketing studio shows as “main house” shows – even if the main house show had a bigger box office target?
What if there was a clear, workable industry standard for artist daily rates that acknowledged overheads and the value of growing expertise? Like THIS A-N ONE for visual artists.
What if venues paid for artists’ time, every time they were invited in for a meeting?
What if the norm was that venues travelled to artists for meetings rather than artists being expected to travel to venues?
What if good practice case studies were easily available to point to and crib from?
What if there was a kitemark for organisations who negotiate to a standard of fair practice?
What if freelancers were always paid on time?
What if there was a standard figure you could put into an Arts Council grant application to cover the time to write the bid?
What if there was a “fundraising” pot that independents could apply to, to cash-flow time to write funding bids, whether successful or not? Perhaps a portion of successful fundraising could be paid back to the fund?
What if there was a way to expose bad practice (on whoever’s part) as a way to learn and move forward, rather than to shame and vilify?
What if Arts Council England required that funded venues spend a minimum proportion of their subsidy on paying artists?
What if venue-based fundraisers had to commit a proportion of their time to fundraising for independent artists?
What if venue-based marketers had to commit a proportion of their time to audience development for independent artists?