Internships have largely remained outside the conversation about diversity and equality in museums. Economist Richard Reeves is bent on changing that.
A few years ago I worked at a commercial art gallery on the Lower East Side as the communications manager. In this role I was responsible for interviewing our unpaid interns, hiring them, and supervising their daily tasks.
There’s a saying: “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”
Rejection sure is tough, especially when you’re a white applicant vying for a spot in a museum internship program that’s explicitly open only to minority groups.
The sprawling 19th-century cemeteries whose monuments and mausoleums dot the United States are often short on hands to preserve their heritage.
The British Museum is a flagship cultural institution with 2013 expenditures of £115.4 million (~$186.2 million). It is also, according to a current online listing, seeking free help from experienced coders in the guise, naturally, of an internship or “student placement” with its “Digital Team.”
The Ontario provincial government has begun cracking down on unpaid internships at magazines, shutting down programs at The Walrus, Toronto Life, Fashion Magazine, and Quill & Quire, the Toronto Star reported.
Yesterday over email, Performa publicized a call they’d announced a few weeks earlier, seeking writers-in-residence for 2014. The catch? The positions are unpaid.
Over the weekend, an activist group calling itself Future Interns descended upon the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Hyde Park. Their objection, the Guardian reports, was to yet another instance of the art economy’s exploitative labor model: uncompensated, administrative work under the guise of internship.
When famed film director Spike Lee launched a Kickstarter project for “The Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint” this past summer, we rolled our eyes. But when Spike Lee hires unpaid interns and steals a designer’s work — well, then we feel compelled to say something.
In August and September I facilitated a class focused on labor issues within the arts. Specifically, we looked at how and when artists receive or don’t receive payment for their work, and the broader implications of compensating artists. Because there was such a great mix of students in the class working across fields, as expected, I ended up learning quite a bit myself during the class.
In a big victory for unpaid internship lawsuits, a federal judge ruled last Tuesday that two interns who worked on the movie Black Swan for Fox Searchlight Pictures should have been paid. Federal District Court Judge William H. Pauley III sided with the former interns, Eric Glatt and Alexander Footman, “because they were essentially regular employees,” the New York Times reports. It’s not quite be the nail in the coffin for unpaid internships yet, but it’s progress.