Volunteering

Remember the most important dictum for any volunteer: even if you work for nothing, your time is still worth something.

Consider your time as a donation to an organisation you work for, an investment in your future relationship with them on which you might expect some kind of return, even if not financial, and even if not immediate. It is also an investment into your future experience if you are volunteering in order to move into a different part of the art world.

You might get:

  • Access to contacts within the art world, formally or informally
  • Trust from the organisations you work with
  • Increased reputation in the art world
  • Experience working in different contexts
  • In some circumstances, a voluntary position may lead to a paid post

Remember also that volunteers are among the most important part of the art world, since without their labour most organisations would be unable to function.  You can still ask for a letter of agreement or contract to cover your internship or voluntary period, and can stipulate in this what the benefits to you will be at the end.

Volunteers are not workers as defined by National Minimum Wage legislation. Volunteers offer their time freely and are not bound by employment laws, so are not obliged to work or to undertake specific tasks – if they are, their labour is legally work, and they must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage.

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