Seven in 10 regard unpaid internships as exploitative
Patrick Steel, Issue 111/05, p4, 03.05.2011
MA poll reveals culture of unpaid internships at many of the nationals
A poll on the Museums Association (MA) website has found that 71% of the sector believe that unpaid internships in museums are exploitative.
Are unpaid museum internships exploitative?
Research by Labour MP Luciana Berger has revealed a culture of unpaid internships at government-sponsored museums, from a handful of days to nine months’ full-time.
In the 12-month period to 8 September 2010, Tate had 126 unpaid internships over its four sites; the Horniman Museum had 29; the British Museum had 24; National Museums Liverpool had 22; the National Portrait Gallery had 21; and the Natural History Museum had 20.
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport also had one unpaid internship during this period. "The figures for internships I have unearthed are merely the tip of the iceberg,” said Berger. “Interning for long periods for free is a hidden scandal. No one should have to work for free.”
Maurice Davies, the MA’s head of policy and communications, said: “Internships that are paid and openly recruited are obviously a good thing, but unpaid internships place restrictions on which people can take them.”