Waging Culture 2012: the socio-economic status of Canadian visual artists

The rumours are true, we are redoing the Waging Culture survey.

The first Waging Culture survey was undertaken in 2008, and covered the 2007 calendar year. Covering the social and economic conditions of Canadian porfessional visual artists, it was the most comprehensive study of artists in Canada since the Statistics Canada Canadian Cultural Labour Force survey of 1993.

Five years on, and it is time to return to gauge how artists are doing now, and compare their situation to five years ago. While the survey has retained many of the important questions regarding demographics and finances, the extended section on career benchmarks has been excised to streamline data collection.

For those that have already participated in the survey:
Our great thanks. We appreciate your participating. Without your generosity, the survey could not happen.

Key Methodological Points:
Data collection began June 26th with the first wave of invitations. As responses come in, additional waves of invitations will go out. One of the key difficulties of measuring artists is that there is no central list of professional artists in Canada. Thus, to get a representative sample, we have to turn to a method newly developed by Douglas Heckathorn of Cornell University called Respondent Driven Sampling (see http://www.respondentdrivensampling.org for more information).

Following this system, participation in the survey is by invitation alone. After an initial set of invitations, respondents to the survey give a list of ten references of people whom they know in the field. These referrals are tracked, and the resulting cascading chain of invitations is used to establish the weighting that each respondent is given. Without this referral process, the sampling technique does not meet statistical relevance. Thus, if you are interested in participating, you have to wait to see if someone who has already participated invites you.

And …
Stay tuned for updates on the progress of the survey. When the data collection ends (sometime this fall), we will be turning to the analysis of the data. At that point, we will turn to data analysis and a series of reports will be released on this website letting you know how well we’re all doing.

For an overview on socio-economic research in the visual arts, please see the Bellavance report, located here.

Results from the 2007 study are located here.

This is one of a series of mini-reports on the results of the 2012 Waging Culture survey, a study of the socio-economic conditions faced by Canadian-resident professional visual artists. Supported by the Art Gallery of York University, it is an undertaking of Michael Maranda. This is the second iteration of the survey. For other mini-reports, and for the full 2007 report, click here. Comments and questions may be directed to wagingculture@theagyuisoutthere.org