The graffiti speaks the truth. (image via

We’ve written before about the plague of unpaid internships in the art world, so we were super excited to see that Arts Council England is launching a £15 million ($24 million) program to help pay arts and culture interns across the UK. Called the Creative Employment Programme, the project will support up to 6,500 apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, and paid internships in the arts for 16-to-24-year-olds.

Andrea Stark, executive director of the Arts Council, told The Stage that she hopes the program will help combat unpaid internships and decrease the arts sector’s reliance on and acceptance of them:

In our strategic framework — Great Art for Everyone — we have a goal dedicated to creating fairer entry routes into the workforce, as a way of making the sector more diverse and fit for purpose. We’ve had that as a long-term ambition. Our worry is that we’re simply going to lose a generation of talented young people if we don’t support the sector really practically in creating more opportunities.

The council won’t administer the program directly and is instead looking for a national organization to do so. It will provide up to £15 million to cover the period from December 2012 to March 2015. (Applications here.)

Stark added, “We want to create fair routes and to do that, frankly, we need to offer a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.” We couldn’t agree more.

Jillian Steinhauer

Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art...