The Arts and Media industries often use the rhetoric that if you love the field/want the exposure you should work for free and that somehow it will pay off in the end. However, research into art and media internships by the US NACE found that 60% of paid interns received a job offer, almost double that of unpaid interns, because employers who paid their trainees valued the work more. Unpaid labour is just unpaid labour, no matter how its prettied up.
I’m an arts graduate, long-term unemployed and I am so disheartened at the minute with regards to finding work.
Last week I applied for a weekend job in their book/souvenir shop, where they advertise the Sunday rate as about €26.00 per hour. This is not ideal work but the pay is appealing. This week I was looking at the gallery’s internships page and they are looking for a Documentation Intern. Although this is ideally the field in which I would like to work I am annoyed to think that I would not be paid (not even JobBridge) for 2-3 full days work a week. This is not an isolated case within the arts industry in Ireland, and I can rhyme off several more places advertising similar in recent times. I am aware of all the arguments about the funding difficulties within the arts, both in smaller and nationally established institutions, but I really do feel stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to finding relevant, paid work experience here in Ireland.
Anyways, I’ll leave it there for now.