Rates of Pay

updated 31 August 2017

Available as a PDF here

Hourly Rates
£21.04 p/hr new graduate artist
£27.27 p/hr with 3 yrs+ experience
£32.47 p/hr with 5 yrs + experience

Sessional/Daily Rates
£166.24 p/day (£ 83.12 p/ 1⁄2 day) new graduate artist
£218.19 p/day (£109.10 p/ 1⁄2 day) 3 yrs+ experience
£270.14 p/day (£135.07 p/ 1⁄2 day) 5 yrs+ experience

(See below for more detail about pay rates in particular employment situations)

This document is designed to help artists’ and their employers to determine fair remuneration for artists’ labour. Artists should use these guidelines when paying other artists. Artists’ Union England has drawn upon existing documents produced by other unions, especially Scottish Artists’ Union. The rationale and source of each section is explained in appendices.

Artists carry out many tasks that merit fair remuneration and this list is not considered exhaustive. These rates of pay should apply to a wide range of freelance and short contract employment for artists, working within the field of visual art (refer to AUE’s membership criteria for more details) – from consultancy work, project planning and development, exhibition fees and all aspects of workshop delivery (set up, execution, clear up) and other freelance activity. They do not include equipment rental costs, travel costs, publication costs, insurance or shipping, or any other cost associated with art production (or VAT where relevant) – they are compensation for an artist’s time and labour only.

It is important to recognise that these figures do not include commitments for Income Tax or National Insurance Contributions. Self-employed people are recommended to set aside 25% of their earnings to meet these obligations.

In the future AUE aims to produce separate guidelines on exhibition fees and sales. This document applies to work carried out by an artist as an artist. Therefore, these rates may not apply to, for example, front of house work, technician work, teaching in an institution, documentation – artists may want to consult rates of pay guidelines from other relevant unions for these activities.

These Typical Rates of Pay are provided for guidance purposes, artists are at all times free to negotiate rates of pay different to those set out above. Rates assume appropriate professional conduct by the artist themselves.


Section 1 – Labour by the Hour or Day

It is for the artist to assess what a work day/hour constitutes for their practice – for example, a ‘day’ might be spent as consecutive hours in a studio, or may be part of a social practice spread out over several weeks (see section 6). Whatever the practice, the artist needs to ensure they are remunerated fairly for the hours worked.

Hourly Rates, Sessional/Daily Rates (repeated from above)

Hourly Rates
£21.04 p/hr new graduate artist
£27.27 p/hr with 3 yrs+ experience
£32.47 p/hr with 5 yrs + experience

Sessional/Daily Rates
£166.24 p/day (£ 83.12 p/ 1⁄2 day) new graduate artist
£218.19 p/day (£109.10 p/ 1⁄2 day) 3 yrs+ experience
£270.14 p/day (£135.07 p/ 1⁄2 day) 5 yrs+ experience

The variations in rates relate to qualifications/experience, which are defined by ‘years as a working artist’, and would be evidenced by a professional CV, indicating the artist’s art-world track record and/or unique attributes.

(NB – these rates are derived from SAU’s rates of pay guidelines – see appendix 1)


Section 2 – Sessional Rates adjusted according to nature of work

-Presentation would include speaking or teaching about an artist’s own work or any area of expertise associated with the work or one’s life as an artist, leading workshops or tours, speaking to school groups, and so on.

Consultation – Consultation means the giving of advice, input or opinions that might be associated with project development, exhibitions, or commissions concerning the artist’s own production, or participation in a consultative process concerned with, for example, policy development in the cultural arena, or participation in a jury or other selection process.

Installation – Installation means overseeing or participation in the installation or de-installation of works for an exhibition on the exhibitor’s premises. Activities associated with installation may include unpacking or packing of works, placing works in an exhibition space, ordering, hanging, adjustment of equipment, and so on.

Preparation – Preparation is the work associated with producing an exhibition that is done outside the exhibitor’s premises. Preparation might include correspondence, telephone calls, preparing plans or reproductions, writing statements, proof-reading, overseeing packing and shipping arrangements, and so on.

Rates variation is linked to the qualifications/experience of the artist, this is defined by ‘years as a working artist’.

Presentation or consultation (100%) Installation (89%) Preparation (79%)
New Graduate
Per half day, under 4 hours (55%) £91.43 £81.37 £72.23
Per day, over 4 hours £166.24 £147.95 £131.33
3 Years+ Experience
Per half day, under 4 hours (55%) £120.00 £172.83 £94.81
Per day, over 4 hours £218.19 £194.19 £172.37
5+ Years Experience
Per half day, under 4 hours (55%) £148.58 £132.23 £117.38
Per day, over 4 hours £270.14 £240.42 £213.41

(NB – this structure is taken from CARFAC’s document, but with half-day rates increased from 50% to 55% of full day)

Section 3 – Residency Rates

£22,961.90 p/annum (pro rata) new graduate artist

£33,767.50 p/annum (pro rata) with 5 years + experience

All residencies should be calculated on a pro rata basis where the residency is of 20+ working days. The variations in rates relate to qualifications/experience as above.

(NB – these are in line with SAU, plus a 3.9% increase)

Section 4 – Screening Presentation Fees

For a single presentation of a work in a group programme of screened video and/or film works, for example in a gallery or cinema, the artist should expect a fee, excluding expenses of presentation (technical, transport etc) of at least £50 – although artists should negotiate a higher fee if they want.

(NB – this is derived from the LUX collection’s lowest rental rate)

Section 5 – Performance Presentation Fees

Performance fees should be worked out using the hourly/sessional rates above. Artists and employers should consider whether performers other than the artist themselves should be paid in this scale, or another more relevant scale (for example, BECTU’s). Fees do not include general equipment (i.e. lights, projectors, video, audio) that should be provided by the gallery / host. Special equipment integral to the work is the responsibility of the artist. Fees do not include artists’ travel costs.

Section 6 –Social Practice Fees

Artists’ Union England recognise that artists working in social practice may find it difficult to categorise long projects. We suggest that artists use the structures above, but acknowledge that an hourly or day rate might have to be spread over a much longer period of time. For example, 10 days at £270.14 per day might be available to be negotiated with community partners over a period of, for example, 6 months or 1 year. It should be noted that artists working in this manner need to be careful to still charge properly for work carried out.


Appendix 1 – SAU’s rationale for current rates of pay

“SAU Executive Typical Rates of Pay for Visual & Applied Artists in Scotland, 2014 – 15”

The Typical Rates of Pay have been prepared on the following basis:

Hourly Rates of Pay as a comparison to paid employment. To achieve this, these figures are put into the following calculation.

ax(24×48)–7000 =b

37 x 52

The above calculation represents the extrapolation, where a is the contracted hourly rate and b is the equivalent hourly rate of a conventional employee annual salary. (24 x 48) represents the artists maximum earnings multiplier where 24 hrs (65%) is the optimum number of earning hours a week, based on a 65:35 ratio calculation, where 35% of working time is required for research, management and development, and 48 is the maximum number of earning weeks in one year that the artist can have (4 weeks unpaid annual leave). 7000 is the necessary subtraction of the average cost of professional overheads (studio costs, management and admin, research and development etc).

This cumulative total is divided by a conventional salary equation of (37 x 52) where 37 hrs work per week is multiplied by 52 working weeks (paid annual leave) to provide the b equivalent.

If we now apply the salaries calculation to our new Typical Rates of Pay it becomes evident that in real terms what we are proposing remain modest figures that still represent low level artist’s incomes. This is however a further step in the process designed to bring visual and applied artists to an equitable position with their contemporaries in other arts fields and beyond.”

Appendix 2 – Sessional Rates adjusted according to nature of work

The definitions in this section are based on CARFAC’s rates of pay document and are in place to cover the “many tasks artists carry out as part of their career that merit fair remuneration”

The varying percentage rates reflect the different amount of work/input necessary for each activity. The 100% rate is based on our hourly rates of pay which does adjust them downwards for some activities.

On the basis of our hourly rates in line with SAU we could adjust the lowest percentage to reflect minimum hourly pay, or adjust all rates back to 100% whilst still covering the various tasks undertaken by artists.


Appendix 3 – Update 31 August 2017 calculator

AUE has used the Retail Price Index of 3.9% figure as of 31 August 2017 (multiplier is 1.039). For more details on RPI, go to https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/timeseries/czbh/mm23

AUE thanks our sister unions for their research and hard work

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