7 January 2015

Ageism in the Arts

I am doing this research project with artist Pam Foley for Artists Union England, AUE.
http://www.artistsunionengland.org.uk/
We are collating material which we will summarise and plan to use for a social media campaign with AUE to raise awareness and tackle this issue, and basically burst that limiting bubble of thinking in the arts.

Ageism in the Arts

Ageism is discrimination or unfair treatment based on a person’s age, and is evident in many opportunity listings for artists’ exhibitions and competitions.

·         From the Turner Prize (cut off age 50) to bursaries, residencies and unpaid exhibition opportunities, arbitrary age limits of 50, 35, 24, and so on are applied which is not acceptable practice in other areas of the arts or work.

·         Ageism is endemic in the arts in a way which is unheard of in other industries.

·         While it is essential to encourage and assist young people and new graduates, age discrimination goes way beyond that, especially in the arts where:
§  There are a higher proportion of older graduates and adult returners.
§  People, especially women who take family breaks, are further disadvantaged.

·         Artists of any age will find themselves too old for some opportunities, and if not now, soon.      
·         Artists are expected to invest years of experience and education in their practice to mature as artists and build expertise, only to find themselves ineligible for opportunities because of their age.

·         In a climate where working life is being extended, many artists continually add to their qualifications and professional development while working and maintaining an art practice. It’s a long process, with fewer opportunities available for people who happen to be older but who may be new or newly returned to the industry, or ready to expand their practice.


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Some source material and links so far:

Age UK: What is Ageism                                                                                                     http://www.ageuk.org.uk/work-and-learning/discrimination-and-rights/what-is-ageism/

Artists Newsletter: article – Old Artists Need Not Apply                                                                         https://www.a-n.co.uk/news/question-of-age-old-artists-need-not-apply

Artists Newsletter- Applying the age discrimination law 
https://www.a-n.co.uk/p/343859

Guardian: article and discussion - Is the Art World Ageist http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/artblog/2006/nov/30/istheartworldageist

Michael Freedman: Ageism in the Art World                

NY Arts: Art and Ageism: The Decisive Eye of Fellow Artists
http://www.nyartsmagazine.com/?p=10956

Age Bomb: Turner Prize – Why the Daft Age Limit                    
http://agebomb.com/2010/05/05/the-turner-prize-why-the-daft-age-limit/

Rose Wylie wins John Moores Painting Prize aged 80
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-29281142

Artists over 50: Better late than never?

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