Precarity in the Australian cultural labour force - Bodies of Work project

Project: Research

Project Details

Project Description

Vitalstatistix’s Contemporary Communities initiative produces multi-year projects that commission new art around contemporary issues, experimentation and deep social engagement (recently Climate Century, 2014-2018). Our latest project, called Bodies of Work, is exploring the broad territory of labour, labour organising, artists as workers, and the future of work.

Precarity, the contemporary experience of labour, labour rights and just economic transition are all critical concerns in the face of the triple global existential threats of environmental, neoliberal economic and health crises. There is also a rich body of work by artists globally in this area including the ‘Art and Working Life’ initiative of the 80s and 90s in Australia.

Vitalstatistix has engaged Dr Ben Eltham to undertake a research project to map structures of precarity in the Australian cultural labour force. The report will draw on Ben’s existing research in cultural labour and present a qualitative and quantitative overview of labour market precarity for the Australian cultural workforce. The research method proposes a mixed methodology including 10 semi-structured interviews with contemporary artists and cultural workers, as well as a quantitative component featuring analysis of ABS Census micro-data for the ABS 4-digital cultural industry labour force data.

The report will be published by Vitalstatistix as part of the Bodies of Work project documentation, and will also be available as a Working Paper at Monash University’s Culture, Media, Economy research focus group web page.
Short titleBodies of Work
Effective start/end date22/04/211/07/21


  • Vitalstatistix: A$2,727.27


  • Precarity
  • cultural industries
  • cultural policy
  • cultural work
  • insecure work