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What are working and living conditions like for artists and cultural workers?

Victoria Ateca, Universidad del País Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea; Anna Villarroya, Universitat de Barcelona
In memory of Victoria Ateca.

This article analyses the working and living conditions of workers in the cultural sector in Spain based on the data from a survey conducted among 1,384 artists and cultural workers in the year 2022. The results of the study highlight the particularities of the activities of these workers, accentuated in part by the effects of the pandemic, and how this has impacted on their wellbeing. The research has enabled in-depth study of other aspects, such as the value that cultural workers attribute to their own work or what their perception is of the value that society attributes to cultural activities.
Key points
  • 1
       Just 5% of cultural workers believe that society considers their work essential, despite the key role of culture as an element for inclusion and individual and social welfare.
  • 2
       Over half of the workers perceive difficulties in terms of earning a living from their work and the majority, 80%, think that society is unaware of its precarity and irregularity.
  • 3
       Around 70% of workers in the cultural sector indicate that they suffer from time pressure and not being able to disconnect from their work, against nearly 60% of the universe of Spanish workers who, in 2019, stated that they suffered from this pressure.
  • 4
       Nearly 60% of workers state that they earn under 1,500 euros per month from their cultural activity, far below the average and the median salary. Added to this material precarity is the difficulty in achieving personal, family and working-life balance.
  • 5
       Young people suffer worse material and living conditions than other age groups. Thus, 70% of those aged under 35 years are experiencing financial difficulties and 63% are working or have worked in an irregular manner. They are also the group that manifests a lesser balance between their personal, family and working life, and the one that has most considered abandoning their activity.
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