A Contract Manifesto

ARTISTS: Contrast Arts Assembly

How can artist contracts be a tool for shaping the worlds we want to inhabit?

two dark brown hands cupped with palms facing upwardsOur different approach to contracts stems from our desire for artists to claim their positioning, live in equitable practice, and be empowered in their pursuit of fair pay, healthy work relations, and their rights. In our intervention, we envision the contract, which has a history of acting as an instrument of dispossession and exclusion, to be a tool for shaping the worlds we want to inhabit. We present A Contract Manifesto: a document in which we share highlights from our research and conversations with musicians, artists, arts workers, and legal experts. Formulated as a contract in itself, we invite readers into a relationship with us. Contrast Arts Assembly is Avia Allen and michelle corinne liu.

We are working to create a contract builder based on our research. It’s a tool for artists to draft their own contract agreements, in their own language, using clauses that communicate their needs and rights. We aim for the contract builder to be similar to a WordPress block-builder editor, for artists to come and use it to draft their own agreements in language that is accessible, empowering and fair.

Cover image of Contrast Arts Assembly’s contract block builder. Background colours chartreuse yellow, blue, orange and purple. Three blocks outlined in black with the word ‘block’ written in the middle. Text reads “create customized agreements to fit your artist needs” and, “safe, smart, and ready-to-use.”
Image is a replication of the interface of the WordPress Gutenberg Block editor used to build websites. On the left are icons used to depict different blocks that can be used to build the contract, with a section next to it titled ‘Patterns.’ The middle section has the words “Artwork Commission Agreement” and with an introduction paragraph that outlines who each party in the agreement are, and what the scope of work is. Top right of the image has the words ‘save draft,’ ‘preview,’ and ‘publish’ to mimic the builder settings for creating the agreement document.