Guidelines for Critics and Commissioners

These guidelines aim to provide an helpful framework for negotiations surrounding the commissioning of work from freelance critics and writers. Endorsed by the AICA-UK Executive Committee in 2016, the document sets out points to be discussed and recommended rates of remuneration.

Commissioning and deadline

Notification and commissioning should take place at least one month in advance of when a text is due; for texts longer than 1,500 words, at least two months.

All necessary research material should be provided within a week of commission. This should include contact information for artist(s), any relevant images, videos, and relevant publications that are within the commissioner’s possession.

Research costs

Travel, accommodation and agreed rates of subsistence should be covered by commissioner for any necessary research trips (studio, gallery and site visits outside of the author’s city of work). The costs of any necessary purchases (e.g. exhibition catalogues) should also be agreed and covered, if necessary.

Editorial principles

The editor should show respect for author and the text’s integrity. 

The author will decide on what artworks and (where appropriate) what contextualising artworks are to be cited. 

The author will also decide on the nature and level of contextualising references and points of discussion to include. 

All statements in the text purporting to be factual are true to the best of knowledge of the author who will have undertaken proper and diligent research.

The author agrees to work with any copy-editor employed by the commissioner regarding house style, grammar, spelling and narrative trajectory. Arbitrary re-wording or modifying content is not within the copyeditor’s remit; any suggested changes to content should be raised with the author and approved.

The author may propose images to be included within the text but the commissioner is responsible for the final selection. 

The maximum number of comparative images that the author may wish to include should be agreed beforehand. Acquiring these images and permissions to use them is typically the responsibility of the commissioner. Where selected comparative images prove too costly or unobtainable, a possible replacement should be discussed with the author.

All changes made to the text must be agreed to by the author before publication. 

Payment

The minimum rate per word approved by AICA-UK is 35 pence GBP for any text over 1,000 words, and a minimum rate of 45 pence GBP per word for any text up to 1,000 words. The fee for well-established art critics, however, typically ranges between 50 pence to £1 per word.

The fee should be agreed and confirmed before the text is written. 

If there are specific taxes in the commissioner’s country, the full amount will be disclosed and calculated when the fee is being negotiated, prior to its finalisation. 

Payment should be made within one month of the submission of the invoice, whether or not text has been or will be published.

If the commissioner is based outside the writer’s country of residence, he/she will pay any transfer fees associated with the payment. They will not be deducted from the fee which will have been agreed in advance.

Publication

The author should be credited appropriately within the publication.

The author would expect to retain copyright unless this has been explicitly given to the commissioning organisation.

At least two copies of any paper-based publication should to be sent to the author.

The author reserves the right to publish the text on his/her own website. The author may include the text within a published collection of their own writings, crediting the original publication.

Consent for republishing the text should be obtained from the author, and where appropriate, a new fee paid.

Last updated 2016