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Norway/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.9 Employment policies for the cultural sector

There are no exact estimates of how many people are working in the cultural sector in Norway. In a recent report on artists' activity on the number, labour and income conditions published by Telemark Research Institute (2008) (link: http://www.tmforsk.no/publikasjoner/filer/1312.pdf), the total number of artists was estimated at 19 000. The artistic population in Norway has grown considerably during the past decades, although available statistics concerning this increase are somewhat inconsistent and insufficient. The membership of the artist's unions, however, grew considerably during the 1980s and 1990s. An estimate made by the Institute for Social Research indicates that from 1979/80 to 1994 the number of professional artists increased by 30-40%. This growth has continued, and according to the Telemark Research Institute report, the number of professional artists increased by a further 30-40% over the next 12 years.

The number of students who have completed a formal education in the arts (at colleges both in Norway and abroad) has also grown considerably over the last decades. The number of Norwegian art students studying abroad seems to have increased four-fold from 1986-87 to 1998-99, although this estimate is a little uncertain because the categories of available statistics have changed during this period. In 2007/2008, 1 404 Norwegians (11% of the total amount of students) studied art abroad.

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. As a result, there has been a certain re-distribution of funds from guaranteed incomes to work grants.

The last estimates on the income levels of artists are from 2006 and are produced by the Telemark Research Institute. They indicate that there are considerable variations between the categories of artists concerning income. While actors, stage directors and composers of popular music 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. Some categories of artists earn much less, while others a lot more.

Table 1:     Average and median artistic income for all artists and full-time artists, in NOK, in thousands, N=2.272

 

All artists

Full-time artists

Artistic groups

Average artistic income

Average artistic income, women only

Median artistic income

Average artistic income

Median artistic income

Visual artists

86.4

73.7

38.3

114.9

89.7

Artisans

109.4

105.4

82.7

139.4

127.6

Fine art photographers

61.9

34.8

7.0

110.5

49.5

Designers / illustrators

235.2

221.1

196.0

400.6

384.5

Interior architects

274.9

287.2

306.3

341.6

341.4

Fiction writers

216.6

144.8

164.1

294.3

194.9

Dramatists

225.5

156.5

161.6

313.1

229.8

Translators

233.1

206.9

233.9

309.1

341.0

Non-fiction writers

196.4

203.7

126.9

267.7

302.3

Art critics

146.6

97.0

81.2

183.5

147.7

Actors

263.3

217.3

265.7

292.0

294.2

Stage directors

250.3

143.0

276.7

358.5

355.4

Stage designers

240.3

227.8

262.7

329.3

330.1

Film artists

227.0

185.0

211.1

289.7

237.8

Dance artists

140.1

129.1

116.5

108.5

97.1

Musicians, singers, and conductors

209.5

202.6

193.0

249.1

278.2

Composers

168.2

150.2

158.5

192.0

179.6

Composers of popular music

329.6

184.0

134.9

399.8

175.4

Folk artists

197.3

129.5

171.1

293.8

236.9

Other artistic groups

149.9

133.1

48.0

299.4

232.7

N

2272

1137

2272

828

828

Total

191.1

167.6

154.5

247.1

230.8

Source:     Telemark Research Institute, 2008.
*                           NOK 1000 = EUR 124.2 (2006 average).


Chapter published: 04-08-2011

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              Council of Europe/ERICarts, "Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 15th edition", 2014 | ISSN 2222-7334