The Creative Society is an arts employment charity that helps young people into jobs in the creative and cultural industries.
There has been widespread shock at the sacking of all the arts critics at the Independent on Sunday. It is difficult to see how a newspaper can expect to be taken seriously without a respected culture section, but the editor has finally broken cover to justify the decision. Using Slipped Disc, the blog of the respected music critic and novelist Norman Lebrecht, Lisa Markwell cited “the economic state of all of Britain’s newspapers, and the Independent titles in particular”, in mitigation. Here full response can be seen here: http://www.artsjournal.com/slippeddisc/2013/08/editor-who-sacked-all-arts-critics-submits-her-reasoning.html
The piece immediately sparked a discussion on Twitter about this unprecedented situation, where every single critic on a national newspaper has been shown the door. People also raised the issue of unpaid internships at the Independent titles and elsewhere in the industry.
The Creative Society has worked hard to persuade arts organisation to stop this practice. The Arts Council and Creative & Cultural Skills should be congratulated for building our Fair Access Principle into the new £15 million scheme to create 6,500 employment opportunities. The Creative Employment Programme is a model for future government procurement – not a penny of public money should go to organisations that use unpaid labour.
Media organisations should also raise their game. The use of unpaid labour should be considered as shameful as fraud. We welcome the intervention of rock journalist Barney Hoskyns and his Stop Working for Free campaign: https://www.facebook.com/groups/263804607094399/?fref=ts.
Let’s just hope that arts writers who contribute to the Independent on Sunday in future insist on being paid a fee for their work. That’s if they can bear to work for a publication prepared to indulge in such a brutal act of philistinism.