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LUX Artists' Moving Image Survey 2010 - Summary Findings

LUX, 3rd Floor, Shacklewell Studios, 18 Shacklewell Lane, London, E8 2EZ

Introduction This paper summarises findings from an online survey LUX ran for two months from March - April 2010 aimed at professional artists working with the moving image. The survey was publicised solely online through LUX mailing lists, facebook and twitter as well as specialist lists aimed at artists' working with the moving image such as Film London Artists Moving Image Network, Artquest and the mailing lists of organisations which had studios or associate artists. A competition prize was offered to encourage people to complete the survey and they were also asked to put their names forward if they would be interested in taking part in more detailed focus based research which will explore further some of the themes of this survey. The purpose of the survey was to attempt to take a snapshot of the current state of moving image practice in the UK, primarily for LUX to use for in terms of thinking about how it might serve the sector better, but also to share the data with peer organisations to generally create a better understanding of the area as a whole. The questions were devised mainly by LUX staff with some input from external colleagues, for example some of the financial section was devised to mirror similar micro-finance research undertaken by Artquest into artists' income in 2009. This report presents summary data collected from the survey with the top percentages rounded out to the nearest full number, with some accompanying analysis of the data About respondents In total 267 responses were received, of these 168 completed the finance section fully (incomplete surveys were discounted in this section), in terms of amount of time as practicing artist the largest group have been practicing 5-10 years (26%) followed by 2-5 years (25%) then more than 15 years (21%). The largest area of respondents by far was London (70%) followed by South East and South West England (both 7%) then Scotland and Wales (both 3%). Respondents from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland made up 7%. Finances 58% of respondents earned less than £15,000 per year, followed by 18% earning £15-£25,000 and 11% earning between the £25-£35,000.


The largest part by far of that income came from non-arts related salary (31% of respondents total income came from that source). For 70% of respondents only 10-20% of their income came from sales or commissions. Similarly 59% of respondents' received only 10-20% of their income from bursaries and awards. However 30% of respondents said 80-100% of their income came from arts-related salaries. The largest majority of arts-related income came from teaching in higher education (44%) followed by working in moving image production (arts sector) (32%) and then arts administration (23%). When asked what the production cost of their last moving image work was 20% had production costs of between £1000-£5000, 18% costs of between £5000-£20000 with 7% having production costs in excess of £20,000. The next question asked what artists' fee was received for the last production and for what period worked, the responses here varied wildly. The highest fee was £20,000 but for 200 days work, the best fee in terms of hours worked was £7,000 for 25 days work. The average fee was between £1-3,000, however the majority of responds suggested a great disparity between fees and hours worked, for example one of the worst being £500 for 150 days work. In terms of funding sources the largest number of respondents (44%) have applied to Arts Council England with 40% reporting success, 35% have never considered applying. The next most popular funder was the Film London Artists Film and Video Awards (now called FLAMIN Productions) with 43% applying and a success rate of 14% of respondents (although this is a far more limited fund than grants for arts). Trusts/ foundations were the next most significant funding source (33% with success rate of 28% of respondents), with The Elephant Trust and the Wellcome Trust being the most popular sources. University research funding was also fairly significant at 26% with a success rate of 21% of respondents. The majority of respondents (66%) had never sold work, of those who had sold work the main way this happened was directly with the buyer (18%) followed by a sale as part of a commission (11%), while sales through a representing gallery being the smallest percentage (7%). 81% of respondents did not feel confident about how moving image works are brought and sold. Production Image Capture Film remains a significant production medium with 52% of those surveyed using it as a capture format (with 16mm being the most popular). Standard definition video is still more widely used than HD, and is generally the most popular image capture format. Cameras


The majority of respondents use their own camera (78%), with loans from friends (32%) and college (23%) being other significant sources, commercial hire was slightly more popular than non-commercial hire. Editing 90% of respondents use their own desktop editing system, followed by college facilities, again commercial post-production facilities are slightly more popular than non-commercial ones. Exhibition formats DVD is by far the most popular exhibition format (90%), followed by file playback from computer or hard drive. Film is also fairly significant (25%) primarily 16mm. General comments about what support is needed for production • Critical forums • Drop in technical support • Artists’ friendly training • Small scale production funding • Subsidised support for lighting and sound • Subsidised studio for shooting • Subsidised16mm equipment • Database of artist-friendly technicians • National production funding schemes outside London and Scotland • A funding system that acknowledges production costs • Non-commercial facility for playing out to tape • Specific capital grants for equipment Exhibition and Distribution 68% of respondents did submit their work to festivals, the most referenced festivals which supported artists’ work were: Most referenced - international • Rotterdam International Film Festival, Netherlands • Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Germany Most referenced - UK • Aurora, Norwich • Kill Your Timid Notion, Dundee • London Film Festival Other festivals mentioned (more than once) • Courtisane, Ghent, Belgium • Ann Arbor, USA


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impakt, Utrecht Transmediale, Berlin, Germany Videoex, Zurich, Switzerland Images, Toronto, Canada Media City, Winsor, Canada EXIS, Seoul, Korea Onion City Film Festival, Chicago Migrating Forms, New York

66% regularly submit their work to open call screenings and exhibitions, in the last year respondents applied to an average of 10 calls. Key venues for artists’ moving image in the UK Most referenced • Whitechapel Gallery, London • Chisenhale Gallery, London • ICA, London • Tate Modern, London • LUX, London •, London • Tramway, Glasgow • Matts Gallery, London • BFI, London • Picture This, Bristol • FACT, Liverpool Other popular venues • Star and Shadow, Newcastle • Dundee Contemporary Arts • Close-Up, London • Vivid, Birmingham • Spike Island, Bristol • Sketch, London • CCA Glasgow • Parasol Unit, London • Gasworks, London • Site Gallery, Sheffield • Lisson Gallery, London • South London Gallery, London • Artsway, Sway, New Forest • S1, Sheffield • Raven Row, London • Form Content, London


Events • Olsen, Leeds • AV Festival, North East • Aurora, Norwich • Kill Your Timid Notion, Dundee Online exhibition 76% have exhibited work online, most popular on own site 62% followed by 42% on exhibitor site, most popular video site is Vimeo 38%. Main reasons for not showing work online were • Youtube etc are not serious 'venues' to exhibit work • Works are specific to installation • Compression compromises work too much • Devalues the work • Copyright issues • Importance of the live presentation What would help exhibition/distribution? • More information about artist-friendly festivals/orgs/venues • Commercial representation • Distribution/ distribution advice/ mentoring • Financial support for promotion/ website • More commissioning opportunities • Help with contacting exhibitors • Exhibition technical support • Screening/exhibition fees • Networking opportunities • More support structures outside of London Sector What are the key organisations for support of AMI in the UK Most referenced • Arts Council England • Film London • Film and Video Umbrella • LUX • Also referenced • BFI • Four Corners 6

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Tate Picture This Animate Artprojx Scottish Arts Council

What are the key international organisations? Most referenced • UbuWeb, USA • Electronic Arts Intermix, NY, USA • MOMA, NY • Video Data Bank, Chicago, USA • Re:Voir, Paris, France • DAAD, Berlin, Germany • Argos, Brussels, Belgium • Light Cone, Paris, France • Canyon Cinema, San Francisco, USA • Anthology Film Archives, NY, USA • Light Industry, NY, USA • Office for Contemporary Art, Oslo, Norway • Pompidou Centre, Paris, France What are the main sources of information about works, exhibitions and screenings • • • • • • • • • • Ubuweb website Experimental Cinema website LUX mailing list/ website Secret Cinema mailing list eflux mailing list Artquest mailing list/ website an magazine Film London mailing list frameworks newsgroup Shooting people newsgroup/ mailing list

Main source for info on opportunities for moving image artists The top three from those listed were • LUX newswire 78% • Film London Artists Moving Image Network 54% • [an] magazine 37% What are the main issues for the sector? 7

• Cheap access to facilities and training • More showing opportunities for emergent artists • Promoting artists moving image as something accessible to the general public and not so elitist • Copyright issues • Lack of funding • Preservation issues • Lack of standards for exhibition fees, sales etc • Lack of market for sales • Limited distribution opportunities • Lack of regular programmes of historical and contemporary work • Lack of screening venues • Lack of critical language • Lack of dedicated facilities/ screening/ funding outside london • Education of curators in history of the area • New technologies • Too many organisations focused on commissioning work • Lack of networking/ showing/discussion spaces Summary Analysis Finance The income findings were roughly in line with the micro-finance research of general visual artists undertaken in 2009 by Artquest, the majority of respondents income came from non-arts related salary with sales and fees making up around 20% of income. Moving image production in both the arts and commercial sectors is an important part of arts-related income, which hints at the complicated interplay of skills and equipment access which characterises artists' production routes (this needs more research) Production costs are relatively high in relation to general incomes and grants/fees being received. There is a great disparity between the amount of time artists are spending on production and the fees they are receiving for this work, particularly problematic when considering the prospects for eventual sales of the work are very low. (this needs more research) Arts Council England Grants of Arts is the most significant funder of artists' moving image production, with a surprisingly high success rate in terms of similar analysis from the Artquest research (this needs more research). Film London Artists Film and Video Awards is also significant especially considering it is limited to artists in Londonhowever as much more limited fund than Grants for Arts, so this is to be expected.


There does seem to be a need for more production-orientated funding like Film London and the Scottish artists film and video awards considering the relative high production costs and low returns artists are receiving and these should be available nationally (not just in London and Scotland). Sales of works are very low, which is to be expected considering that the market for artists' moving image work remains fairly undeveloped. However the survey also suggests that there is a widespread lack of knowledge about how sales of moving image works are made, which is something LUX has seen reflected across the arts sector as a whole. Increased knowledge in the process and mechanisms of sales could only improve confidence in the market and potentially lead to more sales activity. Production summary analysis The use of film remains strong as a capture format, but not as an exhibition format. Standard definition video use is still more widespread than HD, this could be because of the costs involved with upgrading equipment. The majority of respondents use their own production equipment, but those that do hire equipment surprisingly access commercial facilities slightly more than non-commercial ones. This could be because of the quality of the equipment available (commercial facilities more able to re-capitalise their equipment on a regular basis) or because commercial facilities may have more latitude to offer discounted rates to artists (needs more research). In the comments there were lots of requests for subsidised equipment which at least in London and some other UK cities is theoretically available, but this is obviously not the perception. (more research is needed into what specific equipment/ production support artists might need) In terms of funding in relation to production – once again respondents expressed the need for specific production funding especially nationally (outside of the geographically specific schemes that currently exist), smallscale production support and specific capital grants for buying equipment thus allowing artists to keep up with new technology such as HD. Exhibition and Distribution It was interesting that only 68% of respondents submitted work to festivals, this was a key dissemination channel but perhaps reflects the general shift away from more traditional film exhibition networks in artists’ moving image practice. (more research needed)


Unsurprisingly the long established Rotterdam and Oberhausen film festivals were most referenced as key film festivals, but surprisingly in the UK the most referenced festival was the now defunct AURORA festival in Norwich. The range and diversity of key venues for moving in the UK point to the fact that artists’ moving image is solidly embedded into the contemporary visual arts, surprisingly the list only includes one cinema, The Star and Shadow in Newcastle. Attitudes to showing work online have changed dramatically in the past 5 years, with 76% of respondents having shown work in that way. Generally exhibition remains dispersed mainly across individual artists and physical exhibitor (such as gallery) sites, so visibility of works is probably an issue. Surprisingly the most popular platform site is Vimeo rather than the better known youtube – this could be to do with the perceived higher quality of the site and the sense of it being slightly more ‘professional’ than the ‘amateur’ dominated youtube. In terms of resistance to online exhibition the main reason is really one of context – many respondents just felt it wasn’t appropriate to work which was dependent on a more specific context. In terms of general exhibition/ distribution needs a large number of respondents said they needed more distribution advice/ information and practical support. Other points raised included artists’ funding specifically for promotional/ dissemination work (for example to build a website), and opportunities for artists to network directly with curators and programmers. In terms of larger scale issues many raised the need for artists to receive payment for exhibiting their work, and the general need for more artists’ moving image support structures outside London. Sector In terms of key organisations for support of artists’ moving image in the UK, of those cited only two, Picture This, Bristol and the Scottish Arts Council are based outside of London, once again making the point about the lack of support structures outside of London. In terms of where respondents got their information from about works key sites and mailing lists included the US website Ubuweb which streams a huge amount of film and video and the Spanish website Experimental Cinema as well as a number of film and artists’ moving image mailing lists. In terms of opportunities the most popular source of information was the LUXNEWSWIRE and the Film London Artists Moving Image Network mailing lists. Conclusion


While there are not any huge surprises here there is definitely some gaps in provision for artists working in this area at the moment, some of which LUX intends to address. LUX will now be organising more in-depth group-based research with some of the respondents to explore some of the issues raised in more detail. Thank you to everyone that took part in the survey.