The peak body protecting and promoting the Australian visual arts sector

I Don’t Work For Free: Tensions In Artist Run Initiatives

A participatory discussion on NAVA’s Fair Pay for Artists campaign and what it means for ARIs as part of the HOBIENNALE arts festival HB17.

Photo by Tanja Bruckner, 2017.

In early 2017, NAVA renewed its Fair Pay for Artists campaign to gain recognition for the rights of artists and other art professionals, including the right to be paid. In this conversation, we dissect the tensions between volunteering vs not working for free, new models for ARIs and their survival in Australia.


Involved in the discussion were ARIs who have created and adopted new models for paying artists; creating spaces for new works and developing networks for coordinated activism and change. By looking at the impact of these models, this event asked:

  • Is there a different pressure on those ARIs to perform, or deliver on KPIs?
  • How have we valorised success and is there greater freedom to experiment when you’re not afraid to fail?
  • Why volunteer, contribute your own money, and manage the red tape when other ARIs are getting paid?

Facilitated by NAVA's Deputy Director, Brianna Munting and General Manager, Penelope Benton, 'I don't work for free: tensions in artist run spaces' was held on Monday 6 November, 2017 in Hobart, as part of Hobiennale 2017. 


A live recording of the event can be viewed via RealTime facebook video.


A write up of the conversations and take-aways from the festival and forum from NAVA's Brianna Munting can be read on the NAVA website.


Penelope Benton and Brianna Munting were interviewed for the Contemporary Arts Tasmania podcast, What are you looking at? and can be found here.


Find more information about Hobiennale on their website.

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I don't work for free

Photos by Lucy Parakhina.

I don't work for free

Photos by Lucy Parakhina.

I don't work for free

Photos by Lucy Parakhina.

I don't work for free

Photos by Lucy Parakhina.