Ian Beesley

A fair wage for a fair day’s work, with work of all kinds valued at a fair rate, and decent opportunities open to all.  These seem to me to be fairly basic requirements for any society that thinks of itself as civilised.  They are not being met in our own society.  I would have said ‘Unfortunately, they are not being met’, except that ‘unfortunately’ might imply some sort of accident of history rather than deliberate design, and it pretty clearly is deliberate.  It’s not an accident that the arts sector, which has always been mainly a self-employed economy, has, over the last couple of decades, become more and more dominated by the privately educated and affluent. Cuts to local government funding for the arts, schools, social security, the absence of affordable homes for anyone who isn’t already monied, and economic stagnation have disproportionately disadvantaged those from lower socio-economic backgrounds and deterred them from pursuing artistic careers. One of the more offensive deterrents is unpaid internships: no fees, no expenses, wrapped up in that old lie that doing this work for nowt will be good for your career. So one of the things that a civilised society means to me would be that organisations such as art galleries, museums, media corporations, and universities would value the work and experience of many artists by paying them a reasonable fee for their contributions.

Ian Beesley – Photographer