Episode 52: Toby Dennett

In this podcast, Esther Anatolitis is in conversation with Toby Dennett from the Arts Council of Ireland about their Paying the Artist policy released earlier this year.

Blue postcards that say Paying The Artist

We're thinking about the developmental approach certainly, and within that we're really trying to develop, I suppose, the tools and resources, the points of reference, the transparency around how and what people pay and what that is for. Because I think often people just want to know, "What do you pay? What's the amount?" And I don't really understand that question, "What is the amount?" because it's always linked to something. It's like, "What is it for?"

Released last month, Paying the Artist is a policy from the Arts Council of Ireland to improve the living and working conditions of artists.

Highlights from the policy’s key principles:

  • a helpful distinction is made between ‘best practice’ and ‘minimum standards’, and the Arts Council of Ireland makes explicit its priority on the former;
  • while the viability of artists’ careers is what sustains the entire ecology, artists’ personal subsidy of their own practice is in fact a personal subsidy of the entire industry that is ‘unfair and unsustainable’;
  • and as its very first stated principle, the policy says with confidence that ‘Arts Council Ireland values artists: we value the work that artists create, and the way in which they represent and contribute to the cultural life of the nation. This value must be better reflected in how we pay artists.’

In this episode of NAVA in conversation, Esther Anatolitis meets with Toby Dennett, Strategic Development Manager of the Arts Council of Ireland to discuss the background of the policy, the condition for artists and organisations in Ireland and the next steps for the Paying the Artist strategy in 2020 and beyond.