COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Norway/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.9 Employment policies for the cultural sector

Norway has a generous public artists’ policy, including direct scholarships for artists and permanent employment in several performing arts organisations. The proportion of artists who are members of unions is also relatively high, and such unions traditionally have quite strong corporatist influence on the government’s artists’ policy. These characteristics of the Norwegian artists’ policy reflect a more general “socio-democratic” welfare state.

The concerns on policy levels for the artists’ income conditions have resulted in the commissioning of several studies on this topic. The latest was commissioned in 2014 and published in 2015, as part of the report on the Artists’ Economy (link: https://www.telemarksforsking.no/publikasjoner/filer/2631.pdf). According to this study, the total number of Norwegian artists was estimated to be 23750 in 2014. The artistic population in Norway has grown considerably during the past decades. According to the latest report, the number of Norwegian artists has had an annual growth of 2,76 % between 2006-2013.

While the number of artists has increased radically, the market for their products and services has not increased proportionately. Thus, there is a considerable surplus of workers in the cultural sector in Norway. Even if the scope of artists' policy schemes has increased in real terms, the increase has not been so great that it has been able to meet the rise in the number of artists.

From 1993 to 2006 the real artistic income of Norwegian artists only increased by 18 %, while the real income of the entire work force increased by 40 %. The last estimates on the income levels of artists from 2014 show that artists' income declined by 15% from 2006-2013, while the rest of the population experienced a growth in real income by 23%.

The average annual artistic income of Norwegian artists was NOK 186 000 in 2013. The total income (including both art related income, and other income) was NOK 408 000. The average income of all Norwegian employees in 2013 was NOK 407 000.

The study further indicates that there are considerable variations between the categories of artists concerning income. While interior architects, playwrights and actors were among those with the highest artistic income level, visual artists, crafts people, dancers and art photographers were among those with the lowest income level. Compared to the salary level of other sectors, artists earn considerably less than other professionals such as doctors and lawyers. Instead, the typical income level of artists is parallel to that of the lowest level of industrial workers. Generally, there are large differences in income distribution among artists.

Table 1:     Population, change in population, artistic income and change in artistic income for Norwegian artists.

 

Population 2013

Population change 2006-2013 (%)

Artistic income 2013 (1000 NOK)

Real artistic income change 2006-2013 (%)

Visual artists

2566

31,4 %

89

-9.0 %

Arts and craft artists

587

-11,5 %

106

-15.0 %

Artistic photographers

308

108,0 %

123

73.0 %

Designers and illustrators

732

-7,0 %

283

6.0 %

Interior architects

196

-33,2 %

405

29.0 %

Fiction writers

682

37,2 %

218

-12.0 %

Playwrights

197

64,3 %

338

31.0 %

Translators

188

21,2 %

208

-22.0 %

Non-fiction writers (freelance)

478

90,5 %

196

-12.0 %

Art critics

112

-6,4 %

139

-17.0 %

Actors and puppeteers

997

5,9 %

289

-4.0 %

Stage directors

228

28,7 %

283

-1 %

Scenographers etc.

145

51,6 %

251

- 8 %

Film artist/movie makers

739

51,2 %

275

6.0 %

Dance artists

535

7 %

124

-22.0 %

Musicians, singers and conductors

7126

45,0 %

208

-13.0 %

Composers

299

-20,6 %

198

4.0 %

Popular composer

504

-17,4 %

204

-46.0 %

N/all artists

17703

24,3 %

186

-15.0 %

Source:     Telemark Research Institute, 2015.


Chapter published: 20-03-2017

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