Staff cuts: are museums protecting their workers?

Plus, curator Emily Butler on Rhea Storr's video art. Produced in association with Christie's

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The view from one of the cafes at Tate Modern Photo: PxHere

The view from one of the cafes at Tate Modern Photo: PxHere

The Week in Art

From breaking news and insider insights to exhibitions and events around the world, the team at The Art Newspaper picks apart the art world’s big stories with the help of special guests. An award-winning podcast hosted by Ben Luke, The Week in Art is sponsored by Christie’s.

This week, as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown hit museums, we’re seeing unprecedented layoffs on both sides of the Atlantic. We ask: are museums doing all they can to save their staff? We look at the latest developments in the UK and US, where hundreds of museum workers are losing their jobs.

Our museums editor, Hannah McGivern sets the scene in the US and Europe, our senior editor Margaret Carrigan speaks to Dana Kopel, the New Museum Union’s unit chair, and Frankie Altamura, one of the union’s stewards, both of whom lost their jobs at the museum this week, about the growing movement for museum workers’ rights across the US and whether institutions can care for their workers. And we speak to Steven Warwick of the Public and Commercial Services union about the effect of the job cuts in UK museums on his members.

You can read about specific cases of redundancies at Tate, the Southbank Centre, and the Art Institute of Chicago on our website.

This week’s Work of the Week is chosen by Emily Butler, a curator at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, about Rhea Storr’s film Junkanoo Talk (2017). You can see the full film here.

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