Commission of Inquiry's
The Artists and the Arts Industries – an anthology
The Swedish Arts Grants Committee is today publishing an anthology entitled ‘Artists and the Arts Industries’, focusing on the role of the artist in the cultural and creative industries. The anthology includes contributions from well-known international and Swedish writers such as Yudhishthir Raj Isar, Ylva Gislén, Angela McRobbie, Kate Oakley and Klas Östergren. In her introduction, Ingrid Elam, Dean of the Arts Grants Committee Board and editor of the anthology, summarises both the role of the artist in the cultural and creative industries from different perspectives and the relevance of the cultural economy for the artist’s situation.
Download the bilingual anthology here
Artists’ income series - summaries
The Swedish Arts Grants Committee has published three studies on artists´income.
Artists´income, was published 2009. The second, Artists´ income from a Gender Equality Perspective, was published 2010. And the third,
Employment, Labour market, and Income; Time Allocation and Earning Patterns of Swedish Artist
was published 2011.
Commissioners: Statistic Sweden (SCB) and Marita Flisbäck
Download English summaries here
Part 1 - Artists’ income
The Swedish Arts Grants Committee, in collaboration with Statistics Sweden (Statistiska centralbyrån, SCB), has published a study of artists’ income. Within cultural policy, artists are singled out as a professional group whose social and economic conditions have been the subject of several inquiries, reports and analyses carried out by government agencies, universities and artists’ organisations. This study should be regarded as a contribution to an essential survey aiming to clarify circumstances for artistic practice in Sweden today.
The study accounts for SCB’s basic data of income information for the tax years 2004 and 2005 for approximately 21 500 Swedish artists. These have been divided into 22 different professional categories (from visual artists to translators) and in certain cases into seven areas of art.
accounts for the total earned income (=income from work and income from self-employment). In addition, the study charts income from self-employment, capital gains, wealth, net income, income mobility and how income is divided between different types of income (salary, business, transfers, and social benefits). Comparisons are consistently made between artists and the general population.
• Artists have a lower income than the general population. This applies to gross income as well as net income. In 2004, the median income for the artists of the study (aged 20–64) was SEK 183 000, which is 84 per cent of the income of the corresponding age group in the general population. The variation in income is large in the artist group – between different artistic professions as well as within each category.
• The difference between artists and the general population is most prominent in the lower income brackets. Large groups have considerable problems to support themselves. Half of all the artists, i.e. a little more than 10 000 people, earn less than SEK 15 000 per month. One in four earns less than SEK 8 000 and one in ten less than SEK 2 500 per month. Despite this, the artist group does not receive more social benefits, such as housing allowance or economic benefits, than the general population, with the exception of unemployment benefit (30 per cent, compared to 13 per cent for the general population, have received unemployment benefit at least once during the year). The high figures for unemployment benefit are often related to professional groups with short-term employment, such as dancers, musical artists and actors.
• Many artists are self-employed. In 2004, 44 per cent of the artists in the study declared income from their own businesses compared to some 10 per cent of the general population. However, limited companies, economic associations and non-profit organisations are not included in the evaluation of income from businesses as income gained from these activities is accounted for as salary in the tax return. The actual percentage of artists running their own businesses is thus even higher.
• In general, artists are a highly educated professional category. In the selection, approximately two thirds have a university degree (in the statistics labelled “post-secondary education”). In comparison with the general population, the incomes of artists with higher artistic education are considerably lower in every respect. Among the general population, the income for people without further education is on average higher than for artists with post-secondary artistic education.
Download the Swedish report
Part 2 - A Survey of Artists’ Income from a Gender Perspective
- Economy, Work, and Family Life
The aim of the report is to shed light on the current economic gender balance in the arts by analysing the income, assets and transfers of female and male practitioners. This material shows the number of women and men working professionally in the arts, their total earnings from employment and self-employment, the composition of their earned income and how it is distributed according to level of education, plus their income from capital, property and transfers. By showing the average number of children that professionally active women and men in the arts have, the report also exam¬ines the relationship between self-support, work and family life.
Commissioner: Marita Flisbäck
Download the English report here (pdf-file)
Part 3 - Employment, Labour Market and Income
This third and final interim report on the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s research project on artists’ incomes and working conditions in Sweden. The main part of the report presents the results of an investigation into the working patterns and time allocation of professionally practicing Swedish artists: how much of their working time they devote to their principal artistic occupation compared to time spent at work that is non-creative but arts-related and work that is entirely non-arts-related, and how this affects their incomes in each case. In addition, the report looks at artists’ labour market situation, focusing especially on the experience of career interruptions and unemployment among the artists studied.
The main issue examined in this report concerns how artists’ time allocation between different types of work affects their incomes. To examine this, a classification model is used which differentiates between arts work (artistic production including activities related to the creative practice such as research, rehearsal, and preparation), arts-related work (work that involves one’s artistic competence but not artistic production per se), non-arts-related work (other paid work not involving one’s artistic competence), and administrative work (work in support functions necessary for the professional practice of arts such as marketing, sales, fundraising, and accounting). A classification along these lines is necessary to better understand artists’ paradoxical labour market situation in which they, despite their high qualifications and specialist skills, face fierce competition for scarce work and low-paying temporary jobs as well as the necessity of having to often find supplementary sources of income just to make ends meet.
Overall, the artists surveyed devoted 73 per cent of their working time to arts work (their principal artistic occupation and the administrative tasks going with it), while no more than 61 per cent of their total income was derived from that activity. There was, however, significant variation between the different art fields examined as to the proportion of one’s working time devoted to arts work and the share of one’s income derived from this work. The difference between the amount of time spent on arts work and the amount of income earned from that work was smallest in the art field Music, in which it was no more than six per cent. On average, Music artists devoted 79 per cent of their working time to their principal artistic occupation and the administrative tasks going with it, while their income earned from these activities corresponded to 73 per cent of their total earnings for the year. In the field of Theatre, this difference was eight percentage points.
The gap between the proportion of time spent on arts work and the share of total income earned from that work was at its largest among the artists representing Visual Arts & Design (20 percentage points), followed by Word & Literature (16 percentage points).
Download the Swedish resport
Study of the conditions of composers
A survey about the conditions of composers; their number, working conditions, labour market (national and international) and financial situation.
Commissioner: Fredrik Österling
The Swedish report may be downloaded as a pdf-file
Survey of how the exhibition fee functions in the areas of visual and design art
The government agreement that is the basis of the fee has been renegotiated. The Swedish Arts Council and the artists’ organisations have signed a new agreement based on a number of new rules. The agreement was approved by the government in the autumn of 2008 and came into effect on 1 January 2009.
Commissioners: Nils Johansson and Ann Traber
Illustrations: Magnus Bard
The Swedish survey may be downloaded as a pdf file here
Artists and cultural policy
A study of artists, cultural policy and the labour market.
Commissioner: Per Svenson
The Swedish survey may be downloaded as a pdf file here
The reports are available free of charge from
or by calling +46 8-50 65 50 00.