2022 Countess Report

Edited by Miranda Samuels and Shevaun Wright

Join Co-Editors Miranda Samuels and Shevaun Wright who will present the methodologies and findings of the 2022 Countess Report

︎︎︎ ACCA 6pm Thursday 2nd May 2024

︎︎︎ Griffith University Brisbane, 5pm Wednesday 8th May

︎︎︎Artspace Sydney 130pm Saturday 11th May 2024

The 2022 Countess Report is here, our third comprehensive report on gender representation in the Australian art sector. Co-edited by Miranda Samuels and Shevaun Wright, the report continues Countess’s long standing inquiry into the structures and frameworks that govern artistic production and legitimation in the Australian contemporary art world, and has been expanded to include analysis of First Nations representation.

The report analyses gallery and museum exhibition data as well as data on artist education, prizes, funding, organisational governance, collection acquisitions, and commercial gallery representation from across Australia in the calendar year of 2022.

Data on approximately 22,000 artists across more than 450 galleries and arts institutions was manually counted and verified, while data on acquisitions and exhibitions was provided directly by state and territory galleries, allowing for closer scrutiny of asymmetry in acquisition methods, including the Cultural Gift Program. We looked at institutions of all sizes and budgets: artist run initiatives, contemporary art spaces, commercial galleries, public galleries, Aboriginal-owned art centres, university art museums, major museums, and state galleries.

The report aims to not only hold arts institutions accountable to their representational claims and ongoing diversity strategies, but to contribute to and, at times, challenge existing research and reportage around value and artistic success, especially where the impact of gender, race, and class dynamics is obscured or downplayed. Our adoption of the corporate and bureaucratic language of a museum annual report is in service of counteracting and interfering with cultural narratives premised on capitalist and colonial wisdom, and our use of quantitative data is similarly strategic.

Findings from our previous two reports, which analyzed data from 2014 and 2018 respectively, have been widely cited and circulated, and while we welcome the broad use of our research, we also understand that findings in the form of aggregated data run the risk of oversimplifying complex historical, political, and economic dynamics affecting artists today. A focus only on representation can also conceal issues of exploitation, gaps in earnings, and tokenism.

We have designed this report with these contradictions in mind, and have sought to incorporate them into our methodology by: weaving findings from relevant existing research projects into our analysis, and including qualitiative to include interviews with artists.

The 2022 Report has drawn on the expertise of numerous advisors, consultants, and interviewees from across the sector, as well as from the broader Countess.Report team.

We thank and acknowledge the SHEILA Foundation who have been a longterm supporter of The Countess Report. Their financial support, advocacy and enthusiasm in championing our work has allowed Countess to continue.

We thank the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) for their in-kind media support and ongoing advocacy for The Countess Report, since 2016.

The 2022 Countess Report project has been assisted by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body.

This project has also been financially assisted by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

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